It’s late, and it’s been a long day, and I’m a little irritated about the run-in with the obnoxious doofus from North Carolina who appointed himself Raconteur-In-Chief upon our group’s descent on Kelly’s Irish Pub on F Street for a last beer of the evening, so I’m not gonna make a big deal out of this.
We’ll start at the end. This goofball said his name was George Howard, but all I heard was George Nelson. Because he looked exactly like the Baby Face Nelson guy from O Brother, Where Art Thou…
He was REALLY interested in our group’s discussion. The participatory type. Who was so sozzled he didn’t make sense. And took offense at the fact nobody could understand him. But seemed very sure that whatever nonsense he was warbling was God’s Honest Truth.
I just checked, and he’s not a Congressman. Had to check twice.
Despite Baby Face’s interposition, so far it’s a good trip.
We’re up here to get in some faces. We’re here thanks to the good folks at the American Energy Alliance, which is a non-partisan group dedicated to energy policy. And by energy policy I mean policy that actually produces energy, not this unicorn-fart goofery people who come from states they don’t make energy in try to style as energy. These guys are throwbacks to the old days when oil was considered an honest-to-God strategic resource instead of icky-goo-it’s-better-to-buy-from-Iran-or-Hugo, and they’ve put together a group of 50 or so folks to come up here to Washington to pigeonhole bigwigs about (1) getting rid of the Obamoratorium and (2) not taxing the oil & gas industry into the poorhouse in the middle of a recession.
But the pigeonholing starts tomorrow; we’re doing a big press conference on Capitol Hill and then they’re letting us loose on Congressmen and Senators. It’s a bunch of business people with oil industry ties from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.
Tonight, after we all finally made it up here, we had a dinner and a get-together so everybody could pass out business cards, brag on the Saints and drain a few glasses courtesy of the gracious hosts. We got a state of the situation from the AEA’s president, Tom Pyle, who mentioned that today Harry Reid decided discretion was the better part of valor and since five Democrat Senators came out opposed to the Senate version of that putrid CLEAR Act which passed the House on Friday, there won’t be a vote on it before the Senate goes on hiatus Thursday.
That’s a win. It also makes Charlie Melancon look like the biggest goof this side of Eminem.
What’s also a win is that Michael Bromwich, the lawyer who runs what used to be the MMS (it’s now the BM, or BOM, or BOEM, or BOMB, or somesuch), is now running around saying that yeah, maybe we’re gonna look at this moratorium and see if maybe it’s not such a great idea after all. Which could be plenty of nothing. In fact, that’s probably what it is; a bunch of politibabble. But politibabble along the lines of maybe-we-oughta-dump-the-moratorium-before-some-guy-named-Boudreaux-comes-up-here-and-plugs-Bo-The-Water-Dog-with-a-burp-gun is better than politibabble along the lines of we’re-saving-the-Louisiana-walruses-and-the-polar-bears-of-Terrebonne-Parish-from-ecological-destruction-and-that’s-more-important-than-50,000-guys-named-Boudreaux-being-out-of-a-job.
Even so, the word is that something wicked this way comes. Just because Reid punted on trying to pass his Senate gallstone on energy policy this week doesn’t mean he won’t come back in September with an even more sucktastic piece of flair. And since that CLEAR Act sluice made it through the House on Friday, the way this works is the Senate can pass almost anything that calls itself the Senate version and we could be looking at a reconciliation hash in the lame-duck session. This trash has to be taken out in September when the Senate comes back; thankfully, with five Democrats opposed Reid can’t get cloture.
But our group did some strategizing, and we might be going to bug the Florida delegation tomorrow. The House is out for recess, but their staffers are still sitting ducks. And on Friday the CLEAR Act vote was enough to really piss off folks from Louisiana, particularly Louisiana people who make a habit of going to the beach in Florida every summer. It might be worthwhile to discontinue that practice for a while; when on Friday Rep. Bill Cassidy made a Motion To Recommit which would have unconditionally done away with the moratorium, 11 Republicans voted “no.”
You’ll notice where a good many of them come from:
Gus Bilirakis, Florida – Bilirakis’ district includes all the beaches in Pinellas Country, so he’s probably wetting his pants at what his constituents are telling him about the oil spill. It’s that area of the state where Gov. Oompah-Loompah is particularly strong, and Crist has demogogued the oil spill to great effect. And of course it’s difficult for Louisiana folks to retaliate against the beaches in Pinellas – nobody from Louisiana goes to Clearwater Beach, for example. It’s full of beached whales from Ontario and Michigan.
Vern Buchanan, Florida – Buchanan’s district is the Sarasota/Bradenton/Longboat Key area, which means he’s another one of these Florida Congressmen wetting his pants about oil which never hit any of the beaches in his district. He’s also a RINO of the first magnitude who voted for SCHIP and the 2008 farm bill. And Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (which is admittedly a lefty outfit) named him one of the 15 Most Corrupt Members of Congress for 2009. That put him in the same category with Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, John Murtha, Jesse Jackson, Jr, Alan Mollohan and John Ensign. Maybe somebody from BP should have bought a few jalopies off his used-car lot to buy him off.
Mike Castle, Delaware – There’s a lady named Christine O’Donnell who’s running in the GOP primary for the Delaware Senate seat Castle is running for (Sergeant Smartass’ seat), and she’s worth support from you if you’re a Louisianian interested in getting revenge. Castle, who is billed as the best the GOP will get out of Delaware, blows by any standard. He voted for Cap and Trade last year. Nuff said.
Ander Crenshaw, Florida – Crenshaw, who is 66 years old and represents the part of Jacksonville that didn’t inflict Corinne Brown on the rest of us, is a deputy Republican whip. You figure out how a member of the Republican leadership whose district is not on the Gulf Coast would act the ass and vote to screw Louisiana’s economy to the wall when the GOP was working to get Cassidy’s amendment passed. Maybe they need to check this geezer and see if his deck isn’t short a seven or a jack. Of course, Crenshaw was already pretty suspect; a millionaire investment banker, he voted for the TARP bailouts.
Charles Djou, Hawaii – he just got there, and already Djou sucks. Most people think the Democrats who dominate that state will get him in November, and frankly, since he voted to kill Louisiana’s economy he can go get a job serving Mai-Tais to fat tourists from Idaho on Waikiki Beach as far as we care.
Tim Johnson, Illinois – Johnson is supposedly a safe-seat Republican, though his district is Champaign-Urbana where the University of Illinois is. Maybe he had a lousy time when LSU clobbered the Tinky-Winkies in the 2001 Sugar Bowl and this is his revenge; either way, it’s a testament to the crappy nature of Illinois Republicans that they would elect some pinhead to Congress that would vote to put his fellow Americans out of work. After all, another Illinois Republican, Denny Hastert, took out that state’s penis envy about football in 2005 when he suggested that following the failure of the federal government’s levees in New Orleans the city shouldn’t be rebuilt. It’s worth asking if there has been an Illinois Republican not deserving of an asswhipping since Abe Lincoln.
Mark Kirk, Illinois – This goat is running against original gangsta Alexi Giannoulias for Barack Obama’s old Senate seat, and he’s losing. Friday’s vote shows why; he’s useless. Kirk is a RINO who voted for Cap And Trade last year. He sucks. Maybe it would be better for Kirk to get his walking papers in November; Giannoulias is liable to end up in the federal funhouse, and the odds are that the Republican is going to get elected governor this fall. Surely a better Republican than Kirk could be appointed after Giannoulias goes Blago.
Connie Mack, Florida – Another beachfront Florida Republican, Mack’s district is Fort Myers. Fort Myers’ unemployment rate in June was 13.0 percent. Maybe he won’t be satisfied until Louisiana’s unemployment rate catches up with the craptastic numbers in his district. Either way, you get the picture.
Jeff Miller, Florida – Miller is the Congressman from the Panhandle, which actually did take a little oil from the BP spill. It also takes a huge amount of tourism from Louisiana every summer, which makes his vote a pretty tough pill to swallow. Hey Congressman, how much cash d’you think those hotels in Perdido and Destin will take in when nobody from Louisiana has any money to go to Florida with, huh? Not a flippin’ lot. Maybe you ought to think about that next time. Thanks for the support, slappy.
Adam Putnam, Florida – Putnam’s district has part of Tampa and some of the rednecky areas north and east of it. There isn’t any reason why he should have voted against ending the moratorium, but he did. We don’t know anything about this guy other than that he’s like 36 and he’s got hair like Carrot Top.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida – Ros-Lehtinen is out of Miami, and she’s got a big Cuban population she represents. Of course, Cuba is farming out drilling to the Chinese and Spanish and God-knows-who-else to drill in deep water off Key West, which means if South Beach ends up with oil that doesn’t come from the sunbathers it won’t be from people in Louisiana. And since she isn’t in any position to stop the Cubans from leasing offshore prospects, and since she isn’t in any position to dictate what safety and environmental standards the Castros are going to use, this vote was entirely pointless if it was about protecting the coastline. She’s supposedly an educator; doesn’t sound like she’s very educated herself.
So these are the people we’re going to work on, among others, in an attempt to keep them from doing anything to make things worse. Meanwhile, we asked for an audience with Salazar and got laughed at. We asked for an audience with Bromwich but he’s in New Orleans for a hearing he’s putting on Thursday. And nobody else from the Obama administration will meet with us. The AEA folks don’t think the moratorium is going away within six months; they think the administration is trying to kill the oil industry, period.
And with that, we went to Kelly’s and ran up against Baby Face Nelson.
Hope springs eternal. Wish us luck tomorrow; maybe we’ll nail a few skins to the wall.