Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Billy Long and Republicans posture at the pump hoping you'll forget their vote to KILL MEDICARE

Two unknown republican representatives don't know how to react to constituent who is angry over their vote to kill medicare, continue big oil subisidies and their support of Wall Street speculators which is increasing the cost of gas at the pump.

Last April EVERY HOUSE REPUBLICAN (except four) voted for Paul Ryan's "Kill Medicare" bill. What a gross miscalculation. Now these republicans are scrambling to deflect attention from their vote by staging a rash of publicity stunts that are nothing but showboating and they are hoping like heck it works.

There is a rash of Republicans pumping gas this week.

Jeff Duncan of North Carolina is pumping gas.

Alan West of Florida is pumping gas.

Steve Stivers of Ohio is pumping gas.

Steve Womack of Arkansas is pumping gas.

Todd Young of Indiana is pumping gas.

Billy Long of Missouri is pumping gas.

When all these guys voted for Paul Ryan's "Kill Medicare" bill, they didn't realize what a colossal mis-calculation that was. Then, all of them voted to keep the big oil subsidies.

And they want you to forgit about those votes.

Roy Blunt and Dennis Haesart did the same thing five years ago: Posturing at the Pump

First, a little backstory: This morning, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank had a funny piece on the gas price rhetoric, and somewhat ironic driving habits, of some members of Congress. He led with a quick account of a Democratic press event yesterday that took place at an Exxon station on Capitol Hill, where regular unleaded is going for $3.10. "Since George Bush and Dick Cheney took over as president and vice president, gas prices have doubled!," Milbank quotes Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Boxer saying. "They are too cozy with the oil industry."

Milbank subsequently noted that Boxer "then hopped in a waiting Chrysler LHS (18 mpg) -- even though her Senate office was only a block away."

Today it was the Republicans' turn to use a gas station as a backdrop to score some political points. Representatives Dennis Hastert, Roy Blunt, Marsha Blackburn and Adam Putnam were scheduled to appear at a BP station about nine blocks from their home base on Pennsylvania Avenue around 1:30, but thanks to an emergency conference meeting concerning the lobbying bill, the event got pushed back until about 2:35.

That's when waiting reporters watched as Blunt, Blackburn and a few others pulled up to the pumps in two blue, General Motors fuel cell vehicles, complete with Shell logos. Hastert was nowhere to be seen, but he eventually emerged from a parking lot near the gas station. After speeches about the importance of better energy policy, the members went over to one of the cars. They then awkwardly looked under the hood, commenting on how interesting it all was, as photographers took pictures.

When that wrapped up, the members started to leave. (All but Putnam, who stuck around to talk to reporters.) Blunt and Blackburn got in one of the fuel cell vehicles, while Hastert started walking back in the direction he'd come from. His press guy then apparently told Hastert that he should get into one of the fuel cell vehicles. Hastert changed course and did so.

When the vehicles drove away, a few people noted they were going in an odd direction. Davis got in her car and started driving. She soon spotted the two fuel cell cars on 8th street, and immediately noticed that Hastert, along with his security detail, were no longer in one of them. One of the cameraman said he'd seen Hastert's standard Chevrolet Suburban parked a few blocks away from the gas station -- apparently he'd been dropped off there before the fuel cell cars went back to the Capitol building.
Meanwhile, Senator McCaskill is actually doing something about high gas prices instead of "showboating": Senate blocks McCaskill-led effort to end Big Oil tax breaks:
WASHINGTON -- A few hours after Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., called for a probe into possible price-fixing of gasoline, the U.S. Senate failed to advance a bill Tuesday that she and other Democrats advocated to end tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies.
(AP Photo)
The proposal got a majority of 52 votes, but the opposition of Senate Republicans -- including Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. -- and some oil-state Democrats assured that the measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to stop a threatened filibuster. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., joined McCaskill in voting for the legislation.

McCaskill argued that the $2 billion a year that would be saved by eliminating tax breaks for Big Oil could be used toward easing the budget deficit. "How are we going to tackle the bigger problems if Republicans couldn’t find the courage to cut handouts for the most profitable companies in the history of the world?" she said after the vote. "Oil companies aren’t struggling. Missouri families are."

But Blunt contended in a Senate speech that the McCaskill-backed bill "would make it even harder to create energy jobs," and "will almost certainly increase gasoline prices." He said the best way to lower gasoline prices, over the long run, is to make it easier for oil companies to explore and drill for oil in this country. As for deficit reduction, he argued that the amount saved per year was about what the U.S. pays per day in interest on its debt.

The lead sponsor of the Big Oil bill, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., labeled as "absurd" the assertion by opponents that oil companies
would respond to a tax hike by raising gasoline prices. While the legislation has been stopped for now, some supporters plan to push to add such a provision to a deficit-reduction agreement that is being negotiated behind the scenes.

Earlier on Tuesday, McCaskill and Senate Democratic leaders including Durbin had upped the ante by calling for a federal probe of possible price fixing of gasoline.
So all the republicans can come up with is a re-hashed publicity stunt-- posturing at the pumps- which seems more like a radio station promotion than a serious attempt to engage constituents in a serious discussion about higher gas prices.

I wonder how many of these reps pumping gas today hold regular, live townhall meetings? I know Billy Long doesn't.

Run away Billy, run away! But you'll never be able to run far enough away to make us forget you voted for the "KILL MEDICARE" bill!

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