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Mother Knows Best August 7, 2008

Posted by Jamie Friedland in Congress, Offshore Drilling.
Tags: , , , , , ,

As you may be aware, while most of Congress is away on its August recess, a few Republicans have remained in DC.  They are currently engaged in what they have dubbed the “Shadow Session,” lending some credence to the evil-Republican connotation that has been developing of late.  Yet these shadows, unlike the election woes their party currently faces, are not of their own creation.  Instead, this “session” is actually being held the dark. 

Let’s go back to the last Friday to set the scene.  The House of Representatives faced a routine vote to adjourn for their recess, but the measure squeaked by on a slim 213-197 margin.  Those voting against the congressional summer break wanted to capitalize on the increasing support for offshore drilling, and thought that the House should not take its vacation until they voted on drilling.  While saving the merits of offshore drilling for a later post (preview: there aren’t any for you or me), what happened next was somewhat comical.  After the vote passed, the vast majority of the members left the building, threw the papers from their briefcases into the air as they ran out onto the Capitol steps, and went back home to their respective districts.  However, a few members remained on the floor.  These selfless public servants decided to do what they do best – talk.

There was only one small problem with their plan: school was out for summer.  I don’t know how many of you have a mother, but if you do you may remember that they like to constantly remind (nag) you about the things you’ve forgotten to do, those little bad habits they are trying to correct.  You know, make your bed.  Eat your vegetables.  Turn out the light when you leave the room.  Well House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) not only is a mother, but she clearly had a mother as well, because she did what any good girl does when she leaves her Capitol building for the summer – she turned out the lights.  And the C-SPAN cameras.

So now the GOP is all up in arms because Pelosi left them in the dark.  In the meantime, they have turned this into an historic PR stunt, and what started as a handful of congressmen and has swelled to a whopping 18 members, all of whom are essentially filibustering their own vacation.  It’s a free for all for Republicans trying to get out a message.  John McCain (R-AZ) is calling for an emergency session and scolding his colleagues for their inaction (despite being the least active Senator in Congress and the tiny detail that he hasn’t cast a vote in 4 months.  House Minority Leader John Boehner (R–OH) is pressuring his fellow R’s to head back to DC – from the golf courses of his native Ohio.  Even Newt Gingrich has crawled back onto scene to threaten to shut down the government again if we don’t give our country’s ailing oil companies another hand out.  And believe it or not, none of these men have anything nice to say about Ms. Pelosi.

But if the Republicans can twist oversimplified economic principles to support their positions (look for my upcoming post on Offshore Drilling), so can I, and if a shortage of supply is causing high energy prices right now, you could get the same relief of an increased supply by decreasing demand.  And what easier way to reduce demand than to turn off unneeded lights as you leave?  So what our Shadow Congressmen see as a partisan move to silence their protest, I see as an energy solution that mom would be proud of. 

The Capitol is a big building.  Nancy is just saving a little energy to reward hard-working Americans with a little relief in their energy bills.  Perhaps she should turn off the A/C too.


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