The Incoherence of Nancy Pelosi

The Democrats’ domestic policies are an incoherent jumble: they want lower gasoline and heating oil prices, but they block the very things, oil drilling and the construction of new refineries, that would actually reduce them. At the same time, for reasons of “climate change,” they want less consumption of oil and gas, which implies higher, not lower, prices.

None of this makes any sense; the Democrats are just hoping that no one notices between now and November. Today, Nancy Pelosi gave a press conference, and for once she was asked an incisive question. Her rambling answer, which included an embarrassing effort to hide behind the “evangelical community,” revealed the emptiness of the Democrats’ domestic agenda. I reproduce it here in excruciating completeness:

Given that high prices help to encourage the kind of behavior that you would want, energy efficiency, efficiency driving, bike or bus, etc., how can you be pushing climate change legislation which would also raise prices and whose primary purpose is to help to modify behavior?

PELOSI: Well, let’s hope that it doesn’t promote higher prices. In our climate change initiative we had a very important meeting last week on Earth Day with representatives, all aspects of the interfaith community who are supporting the climate change legislation. We don’t know what the particulars of it are, but we need to have climate change legislation. And that is from the evangelical community – kind of strong voices there from the evangelical community joining 27, I think it was, Protestant denominations and the Catholics, the Jewish, every faith. And part of it is to preserve the planet, God’s creation, and to do so in a way that does not hurt poor people, whether that is in the price of energy for mobility or for home heating or cooling or whatever it happens to be. And then the job creation, to have it be something that lifts people up into the middle class. So this is a value we have. And anytime…

Excuse me. I don’t know what is wrong. Let’s see if water works.

But on all of these issues relating to the price of oil, the equities that have to be weighed are: How do we grow our economy? How do we do it in the fairest possible way? How do we do it in a way that preserves the planet? How do we do it again with equity and all aspects of that?

And the deterrent that the higher price of gasoline might have on transportation cannot be so much of a deterrent that people cannot afford to go to work. When I travel throughout rural America , people will tell me, “I have to drive 100 miles each day for work because there are no jobs in my area, but the high cost of gasoline makes it unprofitable for me to travel to work.”

Last week, in Minneapolis – I think I mentioned this to some of you before – veterans were telling me that they have to drive long distances to get health care in Minnesota; and this is the case in many places as well, in Texas and other places. And they can barely afford to go get the health care that is their benefit.

So, again, it has to be calibrated in – it doesn’t mean that we are – that there should be an endless increase in the price of gasoline to change behavior so that we have fewer emissions. There are other ways to have fewer emissions than to price people out of the market of going to work or going to the hospital.

Absent rationing–do you think Pelosi is likely to mention the R-word between now and November?–lower prices mean more emissions. As usual, the Democrats are counting on ignorance.

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