When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and knocked out approximately 30% of our oil refineries, the price of gasoline went up so high that consumers were outraged.
Who was the person that was vilified for this? George W. Bush of course. The reason given was usually some vague reference to his "cronies" and Haliburton. The common perception being that Bush and the Republicans control all aspects of the price and distribution of oil and its by-products.
After seeing this piece in the Wall Street Journal, the truth has more to do with partisan politics than that of established common perception. It is often very difficult to point to one specific cause for the price hikes. In this case its no long reach to deduce that a large part had to do with our refinery capacity (or lack thereof). After being blamed in large part for these price hikes, the administration has put forward a bill to speed up the process to approve and build more refineries at abandoned military bases. A logical move when one considers that hurricanes will more than likely strike again in the coming years, no new refineries since 1976 and the bases are just sitting there.
So you would think that it would sail right through, right?
NO WAY, it was blocked by the Senate Environment Committee; excerpt from the WSJ linked above;
"Noting that a House-passed bill to streamline refinery permitting also failed to get even one Democratic vote, Mr. Inhofe concludes the nation's refinery policy is now being held hostage to partisan politics. "In the next election, high gas prices will be one of the Democrats' big campaign issues."
This is classic Democratic partisan tomfoolery. The reason I focus on the Democrats is two-fold. One, the hypocrisy of blaming the other side and two, the lockstep nature of the unanimous votes. Next year when another hurricane hits the gulf, they will be the first to point the finger (and give it)to the Bush administration. In other words, block any proposal that is Republican conceived, no matter how critical, just to make sure that there is no chance of favorable press for the "opposition".
As usual, we, the average working stiffs are the pawns in this political game of one-upsmanship. We are going to have to budget another 30 to 50% more for gas money during the next hurricane season. Its amazing how the constituency's needs of these Democrats gets so little consideration and the depth of how low their regard is for the public which they swore to serve. Such arrogance should be remembered by every voter in the next election.