The first bit of ridiculousness came in response to President Obama's first budget. The budget includes money from his plans to make polluters pay for the global warming pollution they emit for the first time ever, using a cap-and-auction system that will make polluters buy 100 percent of the pollution permits they need. The money from the pollution auction is used to invest in the clean energy technologies that will create millions of new jobs, revitalize the economy, and end our dependence on oil. A huge tax cut and other elements of the program will protect consumers from any increase in energy prices. The president's plan also funds critical international climate programs, wildlife and habitat adaptation efforts, and will protect workers and vulnerable communities during the transition away from dirty energy.
Senator Judd "thanks, but no thanks" Gregg (R-NH), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, immediately joined other conservatives in denouncing the president's plan as a "national sales tax on energy" (that apparently being the scariest distortion they could come up with). No matter that, as mentioned above, the president's plan ensures that its polluters who pay -- not consumers.
I wonder what these same folks think of our current energy policy, which amounts to a tax that sucks money from our wallets in order to pad the pockets of Big Oil, Big Coal, and various hostile regimes around the world?
Later in the week, Representative John Shadegg (R-AZ) and Senator David "air rage" Vitter took to the ever-friendly airwaves at Fox News to announce their latest attempt to repackage conservatives' old, tired dirty energy plans. The two announced their so-called "No Cost Stimulus" plan. The key elements of the plan are some oldies but baddies: more offshore drilling (a small portion of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico remains protected), drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the streamlining of the permitting process for nuclear power plants (which was already streamlined so much in the monstrosity that was the 2005 energy bill that it is already essentially impossible for groups like the Sierra Club to challenge the permits). The two claim this business as usual dirty energy approach will miraculously create 2 million jobs -- all for free!
Apparently, yesterday's Bush-Cheney energy policy is today's economic stimulus plan! Since, you know, that worked out really well for everyone the first time.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, 58 percent said they support President Obama's plans -- including 96 percent of liberals, 73 percent of moderates, and 55 percent of self-described independents.
In other news, John McCain got really mad during the confirmation hearing for the number two at the Department of Interior because the nominee once had the temerity to compare George W. Bush to America's patron saint, Ronald Reagan. The horror!
No, I don't know what these people are smoking either. But it must be pretty good seeing as how they haven't noticed their crushing defeats over the past two elections.