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For Clinton, a Misfire on Gas Tax?

Hillary Rodham Clinton closed her campaign in Indiana with ads that highlighted her support for a suspension of the federal gas tax -- a seemingly smart move given the current prices at the pump and, perhaps more importantly, the lessons learned from the Hoosier State's 2000 gubernatorial race.

And yet, by some measures, her advocacy for a gas tax holiday did little to move the needle among Hoosier voters and may have actually hurt her chances at a meaningful win in the state, as Barack Obama effectively attacked her proposal as political pandering.

While the exit polling didn't directly touch on the gas tax issue, several loosely related questions seemed to indicate that Clinton did herself little good with her position. Among the two-thirds of Indiana voters who said that the economy was the top issue facing the country, Clinton won 52 percent to 48 percent. Compare that to her far wider margins among this bloc in Ohio (Clinton 55 percent, Obama 43 percent) and Pennsylvania (Clinton 59, Obama 41).

Among those Indiana voters whose family income is $50,000 or less (presumably the target audience for a temporary suspension of the gas tax), Clinton and Obama each took 50 percent, according to exit polling. Again, that is a weaker performance than Clinton posted in Ohio (Clinton 56 percent, Obama 42 percent) or Pennsylvania (Clinton 54, Obama 46) with that group.

On another pocketbook question, voters who said they had been affected "a great deal" by the deteriorating economy went with the winner in each state. Obama won that bloc by more than 20 points in North Carolina; Clinton narrowly edged Obama in Indiana. (Thanks to Post polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta for crunching the numbers.)

For his part, Clinton campaign strategist Geoff Garin defended his candidate's decision to focus so heavily on the gas tax in the final days of the race. Garin said the campaign closed an 8-point Indiana deficit "really from the point at which she started raising this issue of the need to do something now about high gas prices and have the oil companies pay for it." Garin also noted that in North Carolina the focus on the gas tax had taken the New York senator from even with Obama among white voters to the broader margin seen in Tuesday night's returns.

Even so, it seems clear from exit polling that the issue wasn't the silver bullet the Clinton campaign believed it might be -- specifically in Indiana. Why not? A look back to recent history provides some clues.

Back in 2000, Gov. Frank O'Bannon (D) found himself in a serious reelection fight against then-Rep. David McIntosh (R). Gas prices were soaring in mid 2000 (in comparison to prices prevalent in the 1990s). In June, O'Bannon announced he would suspend the state's gas tax, declaring that the conditions amounted to an "energy emergency." State law allowed the five percent gas tax to be suspended for up to 120 days, and O'Bannon did just that; the ban expired on Oct. 25, less than two weeks before Election Day.

Although Republicans cried foul and denounced the move as a political ploy (sound familiar?), they could do little to blunt the boost O'Bannon enjoyed. He went on to crush McIntosh 57 percent to 42 percent to claim a second term.

The comparison between O'Bannon-McIntosh and Obama-Clinton is inexact, surely, but it's easy to see why the Clinton camp believed that cutting the gas tax would payoff for them in Indiana.

Brian Howey, the publisher of the Howey Political Report, a Hoosier State tip sheet, suggested several key differences between the two races that can explain the drastically different outcomes.

The first, said Howey, is that the local Indiana media "relentlessly hammered" Clinton's gas tax proposal -- using local economists to dismiss the merits of the plan. O'Bannon faced nowhere near the level of scrutiny and negative coverage back in 2000.

"It had been 21 years (1979) since the last fuel shock," explained Howey of the O'Bannon race. "This time, it's been coming at us in increments over the last eight years, and I believe most Hoosiers realize there's a bigger problem."

The second major reason that Howey believes Clinton didn't gain the upper hand on the issue in Indiana that she had expected is Sen. Dick Lugar's (R-Ind.) activism on energy issues over the last few years. "While this probably wouldn't poll substantially, there is a growing awareness [of the depth and nuance of energy issues]," said Howey. "So Hoosiers were a bit wiser when this issue came up this time."

Ed Feigenbaum, the publisher of Indiana Legislative Insight, said that the timing and personalities involved were fundamentally different in 2000 and accounted for the difference in outcome.

O'Bannon was widely regarded as a cautious and uninspiring politician -- overshadowed for his eight years as lieutenant governor by Evan Bayh. Given that background, O'Bannon's suspension of the gas tax "caught everyone off-guard because it was so novel and uncharacteristically bold," said Feigenbaum.

One other explanation is possible. Rather than debate the specifics of Clinton's proposal or come out with a counter-plan of his own, Obama instead used the moment to return to his core message: Clinton was a great game player, but the time for playing games has past.

VIDEO | Indiana voters discuss gas prices ahead of the May 6 primary. Watch (Francine Uenuma / washingtonpost.com)

Obama put considerable faith in the idea that voters would see Clinton's plan as a campaign gimmick rather than a solution to their economic woes. It was a strategy rooted in more than guesswork, as polling leading up to the primary suggested that many Democrats no longer trusted Clinton. Exit polling in Indiana on Tuesday affirmed that sentiment, with just 53 percent of voters calling Clinton "honest and trustworthy".

Divining the specific reason that Clinton didn't get the bump she had expected in Indiana from the gas tax issue is an impossible endeavor. But it seems clear that, in Indiana at least, the issue's potency changed between 2000 and 2008 -- to Clinton's detriment.

It will be interesting to see whether her campaign continues to push a contrast with Obama on the same issue in the states to come. During a conference call Tuesday morning, Howard Wolfson, Clinton's communications director, indicated that the gas tax had not seen its last moment in the sun in the campaign.

"I think Senator Clinton is going to continue to talk about it," Wolfson said. "It's something that she believes in. We do believe that the difference of opinion on this issue speaks to a larger set of differences about the two candidates."

Time will tell.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 8, 2008; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Posted by: Bar Ark O'Bama | May 11, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

McCain-Martinez v
Obama and who cares.
Likely Rendell-Biden or Strickland or the ultimate insult Judas Richardson.
None of that matters as none them will help save Obama in Ohio or Fla or with Hispanics in Fla or Colorado who
can't stand him. So the D party will be faced with another Michael Dukakas result and deservedly so.Likely Claire McCaskil to mask all the mysoginist statements.

Posted by: Lrichtman | May 11, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Well said, kreuz_missle. If only more voters and journalists would achieve your insights, our country'd be so much better for it.

Posted by: jhbyer | May 11, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

An imbecile could see that the "gas holiday" was a cheap trick. Mrs. Pelosi had already announced that it would never pass, and yet Hillary pretended it could.
Before her "victory" in Indiana, Obama had a lead of 131 delegates. Today he is 164 votes ahead of her. So who is "catching up"? Hillary's campaign is nothing but pretense, lies, mudslinging, cheap tricks and smoke-and-mirrors.

Posted by: bodo | May 9, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

If the news stations love Obama so much and see him as the weaker candidate, why did they all turn their backs on him during the Wright situation? They dogg him daily, 24/7 for weeks in an attempt to break him down.

However, American are seeking more that "guilt by association," it will not work this time. That is why we have lost good candidates and ended with the worst President in history.

There are a few great presidents that had no executive experience but were great, so I do not particularly buy that story line.

My feeling is that if you and I agree to play nine ball, do not get in the middle of the game and attempt to play by the eight ball rule, it will not work. If I win playing by the rules, then I should get the prized, regardless of what might happen in the next game. As far as I know, we really don't know what will happen, I may win, and surprise you like I did already, or I may lose, but whatever I do, I have earned the right to play the next phase of the game.

If Hillary and Bill are the ones that are ready on day one, in this era, and they are the best to beat McCain, why are they losing to the young senator? They have such strong ties that the media has not hammered them on many of the things that could damage them even further (recent issues), yet they have shown such elitism with their "it's mine turn," strategy, lack of executive leadership, and lack of financial responsibilty.

I tell you think and I mean it from my heart, I feel sorry to see my former First Lady and President begging for more money every month, not to build on what they have, but to actually acquire the money to run this unorganized campaign. It is a sad day in America.

I love both Hillary and Bill and have voted twice for them in the 90's but their time has passed and it is time for real change, in these modern times.

With that said, I hope Hillary does not have a neverous break down over this presidential run, she seems to be losing something so important, like her mental stability.

I will no longer support a campaign that will use my funds to cover their loans and outstanding debt to the very people that she says she wants to help, the small business person. She has stuck many with outstanding bills and you honestly believe that they still have what it takes to run this country.

Posted by: Angelene | May 9, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: chelsea | May 9, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

this was for a school project and i havet found anything usefull

Posted by: chelsea | May 9, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Hillary's number one problem as to why she never found HER voice and could not get HER groove on is that she never answered the most important question of the twenty-first century in the world of politics, which IS; in the WORDS of Bill Clinton, "What does IS mean?

If she had just answered the question correctly, she would have known the difference between the word "about" and the word "IS".

Barack Obama is not about change; Barack Obama in reality IS change! So, when one Is change, one does not have to be ABOUT change. Now that's what all of us blue and black, young and old, male and female workers and retired people understood. We understood IS.

Posted by: Maia Ajanaku-Locke | May 9, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

"Raising CAFE means smaller cars, which are both more dangerous (more highway deaths) and less useful."
JD

I've seen this repeated several times - and I'd love to know where it comes from. It's nonsense.

Big cars are less agile, and more likely to encounter problems. Small cars have to pass the same collision standards as the big ones.

Big cars are only 'more useful' when they're full of people (or cargo) - which is hardly ever the case. The rest of the time, you're paying to move a couple of tons of metal around - just to transport one guy.

Sooner or later, people will have to accept that things cannot continue as before. No-one has a 'right' to waste.

Posted by: strum | May 9, 2008 5:36 AM | Report abuse

Whether we like it or not, we are all tithing a tenth of our income to OPEC and to U. S. petroleum execs. Any oil exec that makes less than a million dollars a year is shunned as though he had just dropped out of a religious cult. Being totally ignored at the club hurts.

Posted by: JerryH | May 8, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama seems to be a new breed of Christian; a new breed of American; a new racial hybrid and a smooth talker who says little. Why women faint over this new breed is hilarious and sad. It reflects the new breed of American voter who doesn't have a clue about basic values, personal judgment or American History. Obama's first change will be for toilets to face Mecca. He's really looking for substance and change like that.

Posted by: Bob Austin | May 8, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

MarkinAustin,

Interesting point. I guess I could have mentioned Chester Arthur though there was a reason why I mentioned Bush 43. :-) The new McCain, not the maverick of 2000, is starting to look like Bush 43 in some critical policies, like stay in Iraq until "victory" and some permanent tax cuts, which McCain once had properly decried as "irresponsible".

Something like 10% of the federal budget is already allocated just to the interest payments for the federal debt. Tax cuts will only increase this debt. There is not that much so-called waste in government spending when one compares that amount with the spending in the Iraq war. The debt will rise even further when we take into account the needed health care for our troops and to replace all the damaged equipment. McCain has not shown that he can grasp the simple economics of this!

Posted by: hektor | May 8, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

MarkinAustin,

Interesting point. I guess I could have mentioned Chester Arthur though there was a reason why I mentioned Bush 43. :-) The new McCain, not the maverick of 2000, is starting to look like Bush 43 in some critical policies, like stay in Iraq until "victory" and some permanent tax cuts, which McCain once had properly decried as "irresponsible".

Something like 10% of the federal budget is already allocated just to the interest payments for the federal debt. Tax cuts will only increase this debt. There is not that much so-called waste in government spending when one compares that amount with the spending in the Iraq war. The debt will rise even further when we take into account the needed health care for our troops and to replace all the damaged equipment. McCain has not shown that he can grasp the simple economics of this!

Posted by: hektor | May 8, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

"Just by invoking the name, you think you can smear McCain. Well, guess what? Voters are too smart for your old tricks...that's what you argued when you said Obama had the high ground on the gas tax."

And Repubs have something better than Wright or Ayres? C'mon... They're not going to fight on the issues because THEY HAVE NONE. THey have systematically destroyed this country over the last eight years on every measure, foreign policy, economics, governing philosophy, management, you name it. They can't run on the issues, so they'll attack, and not even Obama because there's nothing there. The whole antiObama strategy is about guilt by association and noting more, not even actual allegations of impropriety on his part as exists in spades with McCain (Cindy, we're waiting on your tax returns...).

"The next president apparently has been selected by our impressionable young people, who have little life experience or knowledge of the past history, activities and associates of the candidates and a U.S. news media that many years ago promoted Fidel Castro."

I'm a 28 year old veteran of two wars, gimme a break about the 'no life experience' garbage.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Clinton and her advisors are probably wishing now they had left McCain's Gas Tax Holiday to McCain rather than try convincing people it was her idea and it would save them all from economic ruin. How could she think that what she was suggesting anyone with even basic economics knowledge would consider? Her logic would lead me to think her targeted audience must have been the grade school kids I see in her town-hall meetings from time-to-time! Hopefully, if she wants to continue making a fool out of herself, McCain will come up with another hum-dinger like the last one for her to charge forward with; it is time for all us too have a good laugh! If she is so concerned about the financial welfare of the lower and middle class why did she support NAFTA and the bankruptcy bill?

Posted by: DAlnB | May 8, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Hektor, It would be a misreading of American history to credit GWB with "experience." TX is a "weak executive" state - each executive office except SOS is separately elected.

I voted for GWB as Gov in '98. I had no reason to believe he was capable of being Prez in 2k and I voted against him.

Being governor of TX is so simple that Rick Perry has done it for eight years.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 8, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

History is repeating itself: the news media forgot the ladies just as the writers of the Constitution did, despite the admonition of Abigail Adams to her husband not to forget the ladies.

Not only have the ladies been forgotten but one in particular has been vilified for daring to run for president just because she's imminently qualified for that office.

Throughout this primary, contrary to past practices in which the TV stations provided equal time to each candidate, entire speeches of Sen. Obama have been televised and re-televised of his responses in the Rev. Wright controversy. Equal half-hour segments weren't allocated to Hillary to respond to all the misinformation about her and only parts of her speeches have been televised, if at all.

The next president apparently has been selected by our impressionable young people, who have little life experience or knowledge of the past history, activities and associates of the candidates and a U.S. news media that many years ago promoted Fidel Castro.

It's sad our country is still so male-dominated in all walks of life that the ladies have, once again, been pushed aside and are expected to accept their role as second-rate citizens as one of their own is bullied into dropping out of a race that isn't really over. As the spunky Abigail Adams also said, "Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."

Posted by: Betty W. | May 8, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

This whole thing with Wright is a political sound-bite. You should see the absurd ideas spouted by Hagee, whom McCain has totally embraced when Hagee endorsed McCain. There is not a single proof that either Obama or McCain believes any of the absurd ideas spouted by Wright/Hagee. So, get over the idea that Obama is a racist or that McCain is a religious fascist.

Ayers was a radical in the old days. He has not been convicted of any crime? The most important ideal of the Founding Fathers was freedom of speech. Ayers is not advocating any bombings now, so it would be quite un-American to censor him now.

There is no health redeeming value in drinking alcohol. So, is McCain advocating the destruction of Americans by alcohol-related diabetes and "dumbing down of Americans" by killing brain cells through his acceptance of donations from beer producers? Of course not, silly persons!

Freedom of association? I thought only repressive countries like China is there guilt by association.

There were some cheap shots on elitism and fascism, I agree. Let's focus on real patriotism and not inane sound-bites. The faltering economy is real. The war in Iraq is real.

Posted by: hektor | May 8, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

kreuz, That's all you've got...Keating 5? McCain was exonerated as was Senator Glenn (D) of any wrongdoing in that matter.

Just by invoking the name, you think you can smear McCain. Well, guess what? Voters are too smart for your old tricks...that's what you argued when you said Obama had the high ground on the gas tax.

And, yes, I expect more character from a would-be President than a tv talkshow host or a comedian. If Obama wants to be a permanent member of The View, then ok. He's qualified.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 8, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"Trying to make sense of this entire campaign has left me with little understanding of how or why folks support a candidate that overall is not in their own personal best interest"

Lylepink: A year or two ago when you began to support Sen. Clinton here a number of us posted that people do not vote for President based on logic. That they vote emotionally, for the person they feel most comfortable with, or the one they trust the most.

You took issue with that and argued that peole had to vote logically.

Are you finally coming around to accept that logic is well down the list of reasons Americans have for voting for President?

It goes a long way in explaining our Presidential elections over the last half-century.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | May 8, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

"Oprah Winfrey has shown better judgement about that church."

She left in part because of Wright, but largely because she "outgrew" Christianity, and now believes in a bunch of new-age mumbo jumbo. Why do people keep leaving that part out?

"And yet, a man who sees himself as the President of the United States of America can sit there and listen to anti-American anti-semitic screeds for 20 years without calling for it to stop?"

Again, please show one case oa single sermon over 20 years where he said that when Obama was sitting in the audience. Surely, if he's been doing it nonstop for 20 years, someone must have at least one actual piece of evidence...

"Bill Cosby has been a far more outspoken advocate for sanity and truth in the black community than has Barack Obama in the past 20 years."

Ok, but Obama's not running to be the self hep guru of the Black Community...

"Rezko, Wright, Ayers...his buddy list is not attractive. You are known by the company you keep."

Do we really need to go down the list of Clinton and McCain associates who are actually more than just individuals who live in the same vicinity? Keating 5? Whitewater? Folks on both sides still sitting in prison right now?

"They have had the dirty goods on him from the Rezko mess for more than 3 years"

The Rezko trial is over, nothing about Obama there, it's another red herring.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

"I see you have resorted to Obama Campaign Strategy #1: Come up with new and creative ways to call your opponent a racist."

Can you find any specific examples of where Obama or his campaign has done this?

I'm going to assume that you can't, but let me know, could ya?

Posted by: DDAWD | May 8, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

hektor writes: "Though honestly, I too would have initially given Wright the benefit of the doubt. However, after Wright's most recent rants and his comments about politicians..."


Oprah Winfrey has shown better judgement about that church. And yet, a man who sees himself as the President of the United States of America can sit there and listen to anti-American anti-semitic screeds for 20 years without calling for it to stop? Bill Cosby has been a far more outspoken advocate for sanity and truth in the black community than has Barack Obama in the past 20 years. Rev Wright has been talking about politics for a loooong time. "Hillary ain't never been called an n-word"? ring a bell?

Obama's an opportunist; he has poor judgement and uses politically expedient connections and speeches whenever necessary. Rezko, Wright, Ayers...his buddy list is not attractive.

You are known by the company you keep.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Sherri,

imho, you must be a McCain plant or you didn't really understand the books that you read. The fact that Obama did not pander with the gas tax holiday indicates Obama will work across the party lines for real solutions.

And if you think that continuing the war in Iraq until "victory" is a good idea, all I can say is that I hope other Americans have better ideals.

Posted by: hektor | May 8, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line is after learning all that I have about BO ,I don't want him or his black theology mindset, anti-american friends, lack of experience (a 20 minute senate record does not make a president!)2004 I was excited about him but after reading his books (they both show issues he has not dealt with concerning race or he wouldn't have sat under a pastor who taught and preached racism towards white america)and the FACT he is nothing he promised he was! Transparent (as he hides his pastor in a basement) Uniter (as he splits the party right down racial lines with using the race card any time someone disagrees with him)He has proven to be a talker not a doer when it comes to crossing party lines! Nothing he has promised has been shown by him that he can deliver! I will vote McCain without a doubt if he wins.

Posted by: Sherri | May 8, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

proudtobe GOP,

Understood your point. Though honestly, I too would have initially given Wright the benefit of the doubt. However, after Wright's most recent rants and his comments about politicians, I also would have "denounced" the messenger and not just the message.

History has shown that experience is not a predicate for good presidents. Both Lincoln and Roosevelt are considered two of the best presidents; both with little experience. Both Buchanan and Bush 43 are considered two of the worst presidents; both with lots of experience. McCain, despite his efforts to be different, has already been campaigning to continue a Bush 43 policy. That's the scary part.

Posted by: hektor | May 8, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

So let's see what Clinton is claiming again -- that "Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

Obama's support among whites is actually increasing compared to Ohio, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. She lied about that.


Obama's support among "hard working Americans", which is code for poorer Americans, has also increased over those in previous contests, save for Mississippi, where the under-$50K vote was overwhelmingly black.


Obama's numbers among college grads is static to increasing. We don't have exit poll breakdowns for education by race, and we can assume North Carolina's huge numbers with "no college" are due to the large African American percentages in the state. But what about Indiana, a state that is whiter (83.9%) than Pennsylvania (82.1%), Ohio (82.9%) and Texas (48.3%)? Despite the demographic disadvantage, Obama actually increased his support among voters with no college degrees.
So how can Clinton be so wrong? Because she's citing an AP-Yahoo News poll from back on May 3rd. Rather than cite actual voter data, she is basing her claims on an old poll taken before the Indiana and North Carolina primaries.

Yup. That's what Hillary Clinton has been reduced to. Ignoring actual votes and cherry picking polls.

Which really, shouldn't surprise anyone. She's already ignored and belittled every state and voter demographic that doesn't support her. So it only follows that since in her world, the only things that are important are things that support her, she'd ignore election results in favor of the one (outdated) poll that confirms her manufactured reality.

Posted by: SMS | May 8, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Nobody's going to TAKE the nomination AWAY from Obama. You can't TAKE AWAY something he doesn't HAVE.

He doesn't HAVE the nomination. Nor, should he, even with "The Math" - since a CLOSE LOOK at the REAL Math shows Clinton to be BR FAR the stronger candidate.

This election is NOT about race, gender, liberal/conservative. ITS about MONEY and the continuation of the SAME CORPORATE CONTROL over the MEDIA and our Govt. that we have NOW.

Clues: When both FOX and MSNBC were putting out Pro-Obama/Slam Hillary PROPAGANDA since last NOVEMBER....What does that Tell you? Tells you FOX wants Obama to be the nominee and MSNBC wants Obama to be the nominee::: he's the weakest candidate & the Repub nominee will beat him.

Rove comes in much later to make moe trouble & urges RIOTS at the convention ... RIOTS ... IF Obama doesn't get the nomination. WHAT does THAT tell you? SAme thing. Repubs want Obama to be the nominee AND are willing to INCITE Violence To GET WHAT THEY WANT.

WHY DO THEY SO BADLY ...WANT... OBAMA TO BE THE NOMINEE? Because he's dirty. They have had the dirty goods on him from the Rezko mess for more than 3 years ... from the FBI investigation. They want Obama nominated to run against McCain so they can then come out slinging all that REAL Dirt ... from which he will be so thoroughly DISCREDITED ... next to nobody will vote for him.

HOW does a Small REPUB MINORITY (less than 10%) .... keep right on CONTROLLING a Much Larger MAJORITY (90%)?

SAME Way they Always Do, Pinky,
DIVIDE & CONQUER.

Posted by: elme | May 8, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

elme,

The "speculators" driving up the prices is not as simple as you make it to be. If it were, you too can "profit" from rising prices by buying options, etc. There are real risks if it were just speculation. The reality is that there is demand which supports the current prices. OK, there is inelastic demand... though I would advise you to first take Econ 101.

The gas tax holiday is a sham.

Posted by: hektor | May 8, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

lylepink writes: "Trying to make sense of this entire campaign has left me with little understanding of how or why folks support a candidate that overall is not in their own personal best interest or the interest of our country. I am referring to the Dems mostly but it has been among Repubs as well."

lylepink, I fully agree with you. Really! I too have not understood since the beginning of this endless [Bataan death march] campaign why anyone could support the Clintons--or Giuliani before he was thrown in the trashcan of history where he belongs--or believe anything that comes out of their lying, prevaricating, deceitful, nasty selves.

I am not part of the hype of either party's candidates, as indeed I am totally Independent. Given what is available, I have long said: let it be an election between McCain and Obama, and let the American people then make the decision.

Let's consider what the Founders considered to be THE essential qualification to be president, or to hold any public office. They were quite unanimous on this point. The qualification was that the candidate have the quality of what they called "virtue"--what today we might call [after MLK] the "content of their character."

All the candidates are flawed--gee, duh, they might just all be human. But ask yourself honestly, which one has the best quality "content of their character?"

I assert that President Bush-Cheney has the worst virtue/character of any president to have held office, and I have studied them all. Hillary and her husband have a personal and political character that is frighteningly like that of Bush-Cheney. I don't care what's best for the Democratic Party [which also is certainly NOT Hillary]. I want what's best for America!

Posted by: RadicalPatriot | May 8, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"You somehow believed that Obama was racist because he did not "disown' Wright for making "controversial" statements."


Where did you get that, hektor? I believe Senator Obama is an inexperienced rookie and has shown himself to be an utter fraud in the manner in which he dealt with the Rev Wright affair.

I know, he's already answered, like, 8 questions. I shouldn't be so tough on him.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 8, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

proudtobe GOP,

You misunderstood. I did not say that you were racist. You somehow believed that Obama was racist because he did not "disown' Wright for making "controversial" statements. For you to come with that kind of conclusion, it is clear that reasoned logic would not modify your perception.

Posted by: hektor | May 8, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

REMEMBER the Dubai Ports DEAL?

IF MOST Americans started jumping up & down & shouting, calling & emailing their Congresspeople ... we WOULD have a gas tas Holiday... WITH Legislation that FORBID the Oil industry to Raise Prices to make up the fact THEY had to pay the gas tax into the Highway Infrastructure Funds.

...WITH the proviso that their EXCESS PROFITS TAXES ould go UP with EVERY rise in the PRICE OF GAS. Those "speculators" driving up the price of OIL would get STOPPED in their tracks real fast.

MSNBC ... CUT Clinon OFF when she said:
I don't believe the high oil prices are the result of just supply and demand. There's market manipulation going on. I am going to CLOSE the ENRON Loophole that ALLOWS that manipulation to take place.

I am also going to CLOSE the Cheney Energy Bill LOOPHOLES. to Andrea Mitchell, who immediately cut to a commercial.

THAT censorship is the RESULT of the FACT that GE owns MSNBC, and GE is the $$$$$$$PRIME Beneficiary of the CHENEY ENERGY BILL, Passed in 2005. Obama Voted YES. McCain Voted YES. Clinton Voted NO.

THAT is WHY you do not see any MENTION, let alone COVERAGE of one of the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES in this election.

ARE WE the People going to GURARANTEE PAYBACK of All the LOANS it takes to build 29 New nuclear power plants, or not?

Do we WANT to build 29 new nukes?

GOOGLE: Rocky Flats Denver Plutonium, and Hanford WA nuclear waste dump & You will know the answer.

Unfortunately, that ISSUE is NOT going to be aired or covered DURING this electon. It will be a fait accompli ... IF ... Obama or McCain is elected. (licensing hearings for the first few nukes have already been scheduled.)

Posted by: elme | May 8, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Obama Campaign Strategy #1: Come up with new and creative ways to call your opponent a racist."

Yeah, but the Republicans are going to walk into it time and time again this year and won't know what to do with themselves. Not our #1 strategy by any means, but it will certainly make for some amusing times (the "first Black President" made himself look like a racist for saying dumb things without thinking really hard first, I can just imagine when a few Republicans from the Deep South end up on Youtube).

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

hektor falls back on this tired line "To deny that there is still racism means that you already made up your minds"

I see you have resorted to Obama Campaign Strategy #1: Come up with new and creative ways to call your opponent a racist.

What is there that is racist in any way about questioning his judgement, his truthfulness, or his claim to be bringing a new kind of politics to Washington?

Answer, there is nothing racist about it at all. If all you can do is resort back to that every time your candidate is questioned, then you, sir, have a serious problem and are in denial.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 8, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

elme, that was a quite entertaining rant, bearling so little resemblance to actual reality I'm not even sure where to begin, but I'll try...

"African American precincts are REWARDED with Xtra DELEGATES for: voting history in their precinct ... with ... a long record of African American votes for the Democratic party ... resulting in MORE Pledged Delegates ... than the VOTE TOTAL provides."

And Blue States and Blue districts are disproportionately rewarded more delegates as well. Clinton likes to point out that she's winning the big blue states, so that negates this argument completely.

"Now called "blue Dogs" because they can be from anywhere in the country ... places where Repubs are the majority. aRE THE dEMOCRAT pARTY lEADERS GOING TO JUST SIT IDLY BY ... WHILE THE REPUBLICANS ...SELECT ... OUR NOMINEE FOR US? Just going to "throw" this election by giving Obama the nomination?"

Well, we are the DEMOCRATIC party, so I am beginning to question you and your true position here. Blue Dogs are democrats just like everyone else, and the two SDs that came out for Clinton yesterday (Schuler, etc), are Blue Dogs, so again that hurts yuor argument too.


"OF COURSE NOT. The Pledged Delegate TOTALS, and the Popular Vote TOTALS of Clinton vs. Obama ARE NOT AT ALL Readily Comparable --- because Clinton had to WIN a LOT MORE VOTES than Obama to get HER pledged Delegates."

Popular Votes:
Obama: 16,050,924 - 51.1%
Clinton: 15,336,896 - 48.9%

Pledged Delegates:
Obama: 1590 - 53%
Clinton: 1426 - 47%

The delegate spread gives him a little bit more, but not nearly as much as you make it out to be (and this doesn't count votes in the caucuses that Obama won big, which would make the percentages closer anyways).

Face the facts, if Hillary were the better candidate, she would have beaten the unknown upstart junior senator from Illinois. She had a cash advantage, an organizational advantage, and name recognition at the beginnning of the year, she couldn't have asked for more than that and she blew it. Sorry, she's not a strong candidate.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

oops kreuze,

I had included you with the ilk of proudtobe GOP. I apologize for the faux pas!

Posted by: hektor | May 8, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

oops kreuze,

I had included you with the ilk of proudtobe GOP. I apologize for the faux pas!

Posted by: hektor | May 8, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

proudtobe GOP, kreuze,

You both selectively choose one one line about "Granny". It is intuitively obviously clear to the most casual observer that you are caught up in sound-bites. To deny that there is still racism means that you already made up your minds. Obama honestly discusses this reality.

The absurd ideas are Wright's claim about the government "inventing AIDS"...

And if you really believe that the gas tax holiday offers even temporary relief, I will gladly give you $3 for that tankful of gas so that you can take a course in Econ 101! Or better yet, read the letter that over 200 world-class economists, including four Nobel economists, wrote regarding the NON-effectiveness of the gas tax holiday. QED

Posted by: hektor | May 8, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"Look, Obama himself said it was a legitimate issue. Obama has shown himself to be an utter fraud."

Actually, Obama has proved himself to be utterly honest. Just because he doesn't dumb things down for the "spiteful women," "poor white trash democrat,"and "mentally retarded Republican" key demographics, doesn't mean he's a fraud.

Posted by: elitist | May 8, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"Look, Obama himself said it was a legitimate issue. Obama has shown himself to be an utter fraud."

Actually, Obama has proved himself to be utterly honest. Just because he doesn't dumb things down for the "spiteful women," "poor white trash democrat,"and "mentally retarded Republican" key demographics, doesn't mean he's a fraud.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The most glaring difference between the 2000 tax suspension implemented by O'Bannon and Hillary's current proposal is that O'Bannon could immediately and unilaterally drop the tax. Hillary would have had to initiate and pass legislation that would never make it out of committee, much less off of Bush's desk. The electorate knew it and they knew that Hillary knew it. Voters may be gullible, but no so much so that they could not see this as pure unadulterated pander.

Posted by: Obama Buddy | May 8, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Mike in Sac writes "Wright betrayed Obama, pure and simple."

Ha! That's a good one. Obama the victim. Riiiight. or make that Wriiiight.


In a particularly egregious play on white guilt in his Pennsylvania speech, Obama had the audacity to suggest that whites should be ashamed that they were ever surprised by Wright's remarks: "The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour of American life occurs on Sunday morning."

That was then. One week later, Obama declared that he himself was surprised at Wright's outrages!!! Well, whaddya know!


The inconvenient fact is that the 20-year association with Wright calls into question everything about Obama: his truthfulness in his serially adjusted stories of what he knew and when he knew it; his judgment in choosing as his mentor, pastor and great friend a man he just now realizes is a purveyor of racial hatred; and the central premise of his campaign, that he is the bringer of a "new politics," rising above the old Washington ways of expediency.

It's hard to think of an act more blatantly expedient than renouncing Wright when his show, once done from the Press Club instead of the pulpit, could no longer be "contextualized".


You haven't heard the last from this man, or this issue.


Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 8, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Just saw Obama on TV. Shown coming out of a meeting with the "Blue Dog" Democrats where he's seeking their superdelegate votes.

For those who don't know: Blue Dog Democrats are the SeLL-out Democrats ... Republcians in Democrat's clothing. They generally vote in LOCKSTEP with the Republicans. Used to be called "boll weevil" Democrats ... when ... they were primarily racists from the Southern states.

Now called "blue Dogs" because they can be from anywhere in the country ... places where Repubs are the majority.

aRE THE dEMOCRAT pARTY lEADERS GOING TO JUST SIT IDLY BY ... WHILE THE REPUBLICANS ...SELECT ... OUR NOMINEE FOR US? Just going to "throw" this election by giving Obama the nomination?

The "Math", nor ANY Other Abstaction is NOT what MATTERS. What Matters is WHICH ONE will beat JOHN MCCain.

Anybody who LOOKS at "the Rules" will RECOGNIZE that the "pledged delegate selection process" and the "popular vote totals" bear NO RELATIONSHIP to ONE Person ONE Vote.

For example, the African American Vote ... in the Democratic Primary does not SIMPLY give Obama the benefit of a HIGHER Vote Total from INDIVIDUALS ... it gives him MORE DELEGATES than EARNED ..just.. by the Votes.

African American precincts are REWARDED with Xtra DELEGATES for: voting history in their precinct ... with ... a long record of African American votes for the Democratic party ... resulting in MORE Pledged Delegates ... than the VOTE TOTAL provides.

QUESTION: In a General Election against McCain, is Obama going to be AWARDED XTRA Votes... like he has been awarded EXTRA Delegates in the Democratic Primaries?

OF COURSE NOT. The Pledged Delegate TOTALS, and the Popular Vote TOTALS of Clinton vs. Obama ARE NOT AT ALL Readily Comparable --- because Clinton had to WIN a LOT MORE VOTES than Obama to get HER pledged Delegates.

CLinton is BY FAR the Strongest candidate. GIVEN Obama's ADVANATAGE with the EXTRA Delegates AWARDED in black precincts; several times more money than Clinton, AND the Pro-Obama / Anti-Clinton PROPAGANDA put out by nearly ALL the Mainstream MEDIA ... The MATH puts Obama "ahead" by only 1 quarter of 1 percent. ..... DESPITE all that Money, MEDIA, and FREE delegates he had to help him. (Just take away the ...free... pledged delegate he had "awarded" to him and Hillary beats him.

Now, IMAGINE WHERE ---HE--- would be
IF he did not have the TV MEDIA pumping for him and slamming Clinton all day everyday? IMAGINE WHERE ----HE--- would be IF Clinton had 3X and 5X the money he had. NOT EVEN CLOSE.

PROOF: that Hillary is BY FAR the strongest candidate.

Posted by: elme | May 8, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Of course "O" took NC and 95% of the black vote. Now that's not racist is it? 95% of Black people vote only for a black nominee. Reverse discrimination is alive an well. I would vote for "O" if he was green - wouldn't make a difference, but where is the substance. Change what and promise what? Hillary is our only chance to beat McCain. Wake up white and black America.

Posted by: Joy Potter | May 8, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

You don't hear her talking about the gas tax holiday today do you? I wonder how the people in Indiana feel today. She's moved on after they fell for it and voted for her. To all you HRC supporters have you opened your eyes yet!! The woman will lie straight to your face without blinking. She is the most unethical person out there.

Posted by: fmlndn71 | May 8, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I would add that actually cutting the gas tax for 120 days is very different from proposing to cut the gas tax! Clinton was promising something she could not do. All she could do is introduce a bill in the Senate for the gas tax holiday. That bill would need to be taken up by both houses, against opposition, and signed by President Bush. It would take months at best to get legislation like this passed, but there was significant opposition from other members of Congress so it really looked like a non-starter.

Clinton's problem wasn't that the gas tax holiday was a terrible idea. Even a terrible idea which puts money in your pocketbook might be popular among voters. But, that it was beyond her ability to promise. She was promoting something she could not deliver. It's the worst kind of political pandering, making promises you can't keep. A Presidential election is rife with these sorts of promises, but they are usually promises for after the election rather than for this Summer.

Posted by: fletc3her | May 8, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"Guess it's time to disown Granny, after last weeks' sudden revelation that Wright actually meant what he said for the last 20 years while Obama sat and gave and brought his children to hear."

Of course you have proof he's been saying this in the pews for the last 20 years...

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"It was a temporary fix, but the point is that she showed she cared about finding relief for the working class while Obama and his 200 egghead elite economists were busy attacking her for it."

Egghead elitist economists like Paul Krugman, there isn't a bigger Clintonista out there than him, and even he recognized it was a dumb idea that would be counterproductive. It wasn't even a temporary fix, it would have made the problems worse.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Dear ProudtobeGOP:

Wright attacked Barack and his candidacy. I like Barack am a nice guy that gives people the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes people don't live up to their best.

But when a Clinton supporter sets up the Press Club event and Wright gets up there and acts like that, then he is clearly doing a number on Barack.

Wright betrayed Obama, pure and simple. He attacked the very fabric of his candidacy. When somebody attacks you then that person must be disavowed.

Besides this is old news, go watch FOX if you want more of this dirt.

Posted by: Mike in Sac | May 8, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Sen Obama has endorsed the idea of a windfall tax.
Posted by: bsimon | May 8, 2008 11:08 AM

Actually, Obama does support the Windfall Tax on oil companies. He has proposed to use the money to assist poor families in paying their energy bills.
I wish he would forget the idea of taxing oil companies, but here is an article that discusses each candidates position:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aawQyV4.JhNY&refer=us

Posted by: JNoel002 | May 8, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Trying to make sense of this entire campaign has left me with little understanding of how or why folks support a candidate that overall is not in their own personal best interest or the interest of our country. I am referring to the Dems mostly but it has been among Repubs as well.

Posted by: lylepink | May 8, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse


Her tax holiday gambit only reminded people she is a liar, cannot be trusted.
The most damaging thing for her.

It is surprising, thought, that the opinion of economists that it was a ruse made it into the popular psyche so quickly and thoroughly thought.

Must have been good, particuarly well placed Obama ads.

Posted by: cheryl | May 8, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Hillary = politics as usual = lies for votes

People are figuring out that they are being manipulated to get their votes. People want honesty.

Barack Obama took a chance on the American people and was honest. Against the conventional lies for votes mentality of our currently reigning politics.

He took on the Queen of Lies, exposed her for what she is, and come away the winner.

I guess that makes Bill the Jester.

Posted by: Mike in Sac | May 8, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"There is not a single proof that either Obama ... believes any of the absurd ideas spouted by Wright."

Look, Obama himself said it was a legitimate issue. Obama has shown himself to be an utter fraud.

He said "I can no more disown him than I can disown my own white grandmother."

Guess it's time to disown Granny, after last weeks' sudden revelation that Wright actually meant what he said for the last 20 years while Obama sat and gave and brought his children to hear.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 8, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse


The tax free gambit only reminded people

that she is a liar, and cannot be trusted.Her most damaging thing.

It is surprising, though, that the fact it was a scam than no econom ist backed got into the public domain so thoroughly.

Must have been really well placed and good Obama ads to accomplish that so quickly.

Posted by: gambit | May 8, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse


DO you think there was anything as funny

as HIllary, with her pudgy little legs, standing on a red pickup truck? Her big mouth screeching? Savior of the little people?

Compared to her imperious "I am an experienced WORLD LEADER who has talked with leaders of the world, and, just about run the whole world, etc.

Such a fraud. And now plans to bring down not only the whole democratic party, but perhaps any claim to American decency as well. Starting a race near war is not a great thing. She's an outrage. Wife of Bill, the lowest thug.

Posted by: reason | May 8, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse


DO you think there was anything as funny

as HIllary, with her pudgy little legs, standing on a red pickup truck? Her big mouth screeching? Savior of the little people?

Compared to her imperious "I am an experienced WORLD LEADER who has talked with leaders of the world, and, just about run the whole world, etc.

Such a fraud. And now plans to bring down not only the whole democratic party, but perhaps any claim to American decency as well. Starting a race near war is not a great thing. She's an outrage. Wife of Bill, the lowest thug.

Posted by: reason | May 8, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Good insightful analysis. Time.com also noted that Mark Penn, the strategist, didn't even understand the rules for delegates. He had thought "taking CA" would be sufficient, incorrectly thinking that the rules were a "winner takes all" for the delegates. As a result, there was no strategy for campaigning after the first super Tuesday.

imho, the potential number of Clinton defectors to McCain is over-rated. There is no support for the Iraq War and McCain has already clearly shown he has no understanding of economics by being first in proposing the gas tax holiday.

The working class will realize that McCain's support for tax cuts helps primarily the rich and in fact will hurt the middle class. For example, the rising Federal debt will force mortgage interest rates up. McCain, with his very, very rich wife, will benefit more from the tax cuts than the average middle class household. The McCain household is smart enough to file separate tax returns, so one doesn't really know how "elitist" McCain is compared to Obama. Obama still has to make house mortgage payments, though I don't know if McCain has any of those kind of everyday concerns. He can campaign across the country on the "cheap" because his wife has her own "personal jet"!

And how can one honestly accuse Democrats of spend, spend, when McCain wants to continue the Iraq war until "victory" at a real cost of already $3 trillion dollar? And recall that General Patraeus sees "no light at the end of the tunnel". How much more are we willing to spend in Iraq, when America is spending to bankruptcy? China already "owns us" with their holding all those government bonds.

This whole thing with Wright is a political sound-bite. You should see the absurd ideas spouted by Hagee, whom McCain has totally embraced when Hagee endorsed McCain. There is not a single proof that either Obama or McCain believes any of the absurd ideas spouted by Wright/Hagee. So, get over the idea that Obama is a racist or that McCain is a religious fascist.

There were some cheap shots on elitism and fascism, I agree. Obama won't bring them up because Obama is running on a campaign of unity. Let's focus on real patriotism and not inane sound-bites. The faltering economy is real. The war in Iraq is real.

Posted by: hektor | May 8, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"I went there. the same pap as he is known on the snake-oil circuit:

'Senator Obama has been able to develop innovative approaches to challenge the status quo and get results. Americans are tired of divisive ideological politics, which is why Senator Obama has reached out to Republicans to find areas of common ground. He has tried to break partisan logjams and take on seemingly intractable problems. During his tenure in Washington and in the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama has accumulated a record of bipartisan success.'"

Really? The page I went to had a lot more stuff on it. Links and the like. Maybe you need a new computer. See if you can get some cool games

Posted by: DDAWD | May 8, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The reality is that Senator Clinton's modified adoption of Senator McCain's initial "Gas Tax Holiday" proposal was a totally unnecessary and unexpected double blessing bestowed on Senator Obama at perhaps the truly critical point of the entire campaign:

First, the Gas Tax Holiday replaced the Reverend Wright Controversy as the hot topic of discussion on the print/broadcast local/national media and around the dinner table; and more importantly,

Second, the Gas Tax Holiday allowed Senator Obama to successfully pivot from the Reverend Wright Controversy to a policy discussion that underscored the basis premise of his entire campaign: The old way of politics is to tell voters what they want to hear hoping voters do not think while the new way of politics will be to tell voters what they need to hear and challenging voters to think.

And that is exactly what the voters in Indiana and North Carolina did. They rose to the challenge by recognising the Gas Tax Holiday as political pandering and appreciated that Senator Obama was confident enough to trust them to do so and that he had stood by his stated principles for a new way of politics.

Posted by: Caryl S. Foster | May 8, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"The working class relates to Hillary Clinton"

Are they ever going to vote for her or anything?

Posted by: DDAWD | May 8, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Go here to find a bunch:

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

I went there. the same pap as he is known on the snake-oil circuit:

Senator Obama has been able to develop innovative approaches to challenge the status quo and get results. Americans are tired of divisive ideological politics, which is why Senator Obama has reached out to Republicans to find areas of common ground. He has tried to break partisan logjams and take on seemingly intractable problems. During his tenure in Washington and in the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama has accumulated a record of bipartisan success.

end of empty promises// begin facts//

He has taken on no problems, he doesn't even run his committee. He has no bipartisan success. He has not developed innovative approaches, unless tired and failed 60s hippy talk is innovative.

what results????

Still waiting????

Posted by: kingofzouk | May 8, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Why is it HRC had to loan her own campaign $$$---why didn't her supporters donate as much as they have voiced their support. Since February her family has "loaned" their personal money.

Just seems to me her family should not have had to pay for this amount of money.

BO supporters on the other hand has backed their support with $$$ along with voicing their support. For this the names "elitist" "Obamanites" "Obama-fanatics" and etc has been issued.

Again, just to seems to me, HRC supporters have let her down, without the proper funding many tactical workstations did not exist. Instead of facing the realization they failed her themselves, they blame everyone else, and curse the floor BO walks on.

Again without her supporters financial support her family carried what they could. Right now they have over $11(M) of their personal money invested. HRC supporters, are you going to donate to at least give them a chance to recoup their money? You believe in her right? So surely this will be an easy task.

This is not about who's better,

Posted by: Mas | May 8, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

There was a gas tax holiday in Indiana that worked some years ago, and Clinton, unlike McCain, had a way of replacing the lost revenue. It was a temporary fix, but the point is that she showed she cared about finding relief for the working class while Obama and his 200 egghead elite economists were busy attacking her for it. How ludicrous to think that a temporary gas tax holiday was going to increase our dependence on foreign oil. You will soon see Obama copying Clinton if he wins the nomination. The working class relates to Hillary Clinton, not the elitist attitude of Barack Obama.

Posted by: IAFemDem | May 8, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Obama is even more of an embarrassement than Terayza Kerry. but still better than bill.

Posted by: kingofzouk | May 8, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Bud Curtis, I appreciate your viewpoint. Save a seat for me. I am a lifelong Democrat who voted in every primary,every election, did work at the polls, telephoning, and I donated money. I'll be voting Republican in November. Those pretend Democrats like Obama won't change anything. Michelle as First-Lady would be an embarassment with her Ann Coulter-like comments. As to the gas tax decrease goes, its history. Move on.

Posted by: Zaney8 | May 8, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Let's see...McCain is already losing in polling trends to both Dems, even as the Dem party is in a state of disarray. McCain lacks the ability to invigorate the Republican Party (or what's left of it) to anything that closely resembles the party in '00 and '04. So, what happens when the Dems finally reassemble as a unified party this Summer? I guess I can understand all the frustration from the Republicans on this board.

Posted by: Republicans should be very affraid | May 8, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"My husband has experimented with making his own methane at home, but so far has been unsuccessful."


Mine, too. He "experiments" every night with methane, but our energy bill has yet to decrease.

Luckily, I heard about some NASA technology being used nearby to generate the stuff from sugar beet peelings in a Biodigester. Maybe our husbands can hook up one of those in the living room. ;-)

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 8, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The biggest part of this misfire may well have been the credibility, even trustworthiness, sacrificed by Hillary Clinton Once voters recognize that a politician is consciously trying to put one over on them, one that would hit their pocketbooks, they will take steps to get even, not simply sit on their hands. And the next wave of the public--West Virginia and Kentucky blue collar workers--probably won't be as gullible as the last wave of folks that was scammed by the McCain-Clinton gas tax holiday hoax.

Posted by: Jobless old white guy | May 8, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Bud Curtis, I appreciate your viewpoint. Save a seat for me. I am a lifelong Democrat who voted in every primary,every election, did work at the polls, telephoning, and I donated money. I'll be voting Republican in November. Those pretend Democrats like Obama won't change anything. Michelle as First-Lady would be an embarassment with her Ann Coulter-
like comments. As to the gas tax decrease
debate goes, its history. Move on.

Posted by: Zaney8 | May 8, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Congressman Ron Paul ruled out the possibility of running as a third party candidate in the 2008 election and said he expected support for his candidacy at the Republican National Convention at a private event to discuss his new book Wednesday afternoon.

"Theoretically, I could run as an Independent or third party, but realistically I have no plans to do that," Paul told a small audience of conservatives in Washington.


Last March Paul released a web video to say his campaign was "winding down," but Paul has never officially dropped out of the race.

Paul acknowledged his presidential prospects were grim. After the convention, Paul said he will have to have "a precise program that we will come up with later."

Paul noted he has had an educational foundation, The Foundation for Rational Economics and Freedom (FREE), since 1976 and said "long-term education is more important than policy."

(It is also more important than spelling, apparently. Not to quibble, but shouldn't that acronym be "FREF"?)

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 8, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

My husband has experimented with making his own methane at home, but so far has been unsuccessful.

But maybe if more resourceful people like my husband (a PhD, if that interests you) tried doing things like this (THINKING OUT OF THE BOX, AS THEY SAY), our national energy outlook would not be so dire.

Posted by: MrsDocChuck | May 8, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"raise taxes
grow government
lose the war
increase regulation
kill korporations
spend, spend, spend
promise and lie"

What? No reparations? I told you, November 5th, I'm coming after you.

As I said the other day, you did not denounce me. You didn't distance yourself, Barack. You had to what you had to do, because your'e a politician. We both know that, son.

Posted by: Jeremiah | May 8, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"Kerry came within a hair of winning."

Most people do forget to this day that even after the polls closed that day that even Republican strategists were just debating at what time the race would be called for Kerry (Rove was the only one who seemed to know that Bush would pull it out)... hindsight is an interesting thing

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

"kruez - Obama is set to lose FL and OH and not get any other "red" states in the bargain. He will end up worse than Kerry and gore. What did you expect when you pick out the most liberal senator you could find?"

As I stated pretty clearly, he is up in Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, they are tied in Ohio (both about 44%) and Florida (Quinnipiac has it McCain 44-43 last week, again at Obama's low point), and he outperforms Clinton in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and numerous other blue states we need to hold (in many of those states she trails McCain). Sorry, your argument just doesn't hold water, maybe some actual facts would help.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Kerry came within a hair of winning.

**********
kruez - Obama is set to lose FL and OH and not get any other "red" states in the bargain. He will end up worse than Kerry and gore. What did you expect when you pick out the most liberal senator you could find?

getting a bigger margin in NY and Mass doesn't count for much.

Posted by: kingofzouk | May 8, 2008 1:54 PM

Posted by: Florida voter | May 8, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Name one."

Go here to find a bunch:

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

kruez - Obama is set to lose FL and OH and not get any other "red" states in the bargain. He will end up worse than Kerry and gore. What did you expect when you pick out the most liberal senator you could find?

getting a bigger margin in NY and Mass doesn't count for much.

Posted by: kingofzouk | May 8, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"Mr. Obama runs behind Mrs. Clinton's numbers when matched against Mr. McCain in key industrial battleground states."

But still ahead of McCain, and he runs better than Clinton in other key battlegrounds, where he also beats McCain (Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, etc).

"In the most recent Fox News poll, two-and-a-half times as many Democrats break for Mr. McCain (15%) as Republicans defect to Mrs. Clinton (6%) and nearly twice as many Democrats support Mr. McCain (22%) as Republicans back Mr. Obama (13%)."

A nine point gap in each- so they're evenly matched. The difference- once the Dems are united, more Dems will stay in the fold, the Republican crossovers won't change as much.

"The Louisiana Democrat won his race on Saturday and said he "has not endorsed any national politician." The Mississippi Democrat is facing a runoff on May 13 and specifically denied that Mr. Obama had endorsed his campaign. Not exactly profiles in unity."
But they won in Louisiana despite trying to tie him to Obama in an ad hominem attack, and would have lost without the high black turnout that was a backlash to the campaign. Furthermore, they didn't tie themselves to Hillary, who shares the same values on each of those issues. Again, what the heck is your point?

"Obama's campaign really does not have any fresh new economic ideas - it is basically a repeat of the stale old liberal talking points which have been proven to be a weight on the economy."

Yes, because it has been Democratic policies that have brought down the US economy, weakened the dollar, exploded the federal deficit, led to the housing crisis....

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

My solutions:

raise taxes
grow government
lose the war
increase regulation
kill korporations
spend, spend, spend
promise and lie

Posted by: snObama | May 8, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Just how does Hillary think she's going to get a gas tax holiday THIS summer? Even if elected, she won't take office until JANUARY. I mean, sure, she could introduce it in the Senate, but how is that relevant to her presidential campaign.

Posted by: Texan | May 8, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"Obama offeres REAL solutions, not pandering."

Name one.

Posted by: still living in the fog eh? | May 8, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't the gas tax, per se, it was the DISGUSTINGLY TYPICAL ELECTION YEAR PANDERING BY A WASHINGTON DC DINASAUR POLITICIAN!

We aren't stupid enough to fall for such a rediculous plan that would wind up COSTING us money.

Obama offeres REAL solutions, not pandering.

Now that we have a nominee its time to voice those real solutions in the general election!

Vote Obama for President!

Posted by: JBE | May 8, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama is increasingly seen not as the Second Coming, but as a typical liberal Chicago pol with a thin record, little experience, an array of troubling relationships and, to top it off, elitist sensibilities. Nominating him will now test the thesis that only a Democrat running as a moderate can win the White House.

The primary has created a deep fissure in Democratic ranks: blue collar, less affluent, less educated voters versus the white wine crowd of academics and upscale professionals (along with blacks and young people). Mr. Obama runs behind Mrs. Clinton's numbers when matched against Mr. McCain in key industrial battleground states. Less than half of Mrs. Clinton's backers in Indiana and North Carolina say they would support Mr. Obama if he were the nominee. In the most recent Fox News poll, two-and-a-half times as many Democrats break for Mr. McCain (15%) as Republicans defect to Mrs. Clinton (6%) and nearly twice as many Democrats support Mr. McCain (22%) as Republicans back Mr. Obama (13%). These "McCainocrat" defections could hurt badly.

State and local Democrats are realizing the toxicity of their probable national ticket. Democrats running in special congressional races recently in Louisiana and Mississippi positioned themselves as pro-life, pro-gun social conservatives and disavowed Mr. Obama. The Louisiana Democrat won his race on Saturday and said he "has not endorsed any national politician." The Mississippi Democrat is facing a runoff on May 13 and specifically denied that Mr. Obama had endorsed his campaign. Not exactly profiles in unity.

Posted by: doomed dems | May 8, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Good blog, but it misses the most critical point of the entire surreal scenario - i.e. that it was one of the top ten biggest political blunders the Clinton campaign made during this primary season. Basically, what they did is to change the narrative of the campaign when all of the media coverage for Obama was negative (Wright). Take a look at this interesting analysis - Wright coverage drops at the same time that gas-tax coverage increases (~4/30). Not only did it change the narrative, it allowed Obama to reinforce his campaign (new politics) while also hitting a perceived negative of hers (pandering, saying anything to get elected, being part of the Washington old-style politics).
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_e_nelson_080507_has_the_reverend_wri.htm

Posted by: vshawnt | May 8, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Buckybacker97 is 100% correct. There is no way we are going to tax our way out of the gasoline mess right now.


The Democrats are engaging in hopeless pandering.


Additional taxes are going to hurt our economy even more - they will act to spur additional inflation which is what we do not want.


Obama does little more than repeat the standard liberal lines on taxes and the economy.


Obama's campaign really does not have any fresh new economic ideas - it is basically a repeat of the stale old liberal talking points which have been proven to be a weight on the economy.

Posted by: Sheffield&Waveland | May 8, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The American people are more interested in exactly how they are going to improve things, rather than hearing each hour how our collective problems are simply the fault of one man. Searing "Bush did it" into the public conscious won't resolve our energy, economic or foreign policy challenges.

The truth is that America is providing unprecedented amounts of money to address the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Tax cuts brought in greater, not less total revenue. International trade agreements created more, not fewer, jobs. Security measures at home, and losses suffered by terrorists abroad, in part explain the absence of a second 9/11.

And drilling in ANWR and off the coasts and building more nuclear power plants, refineries, and clean coal plants -- if the Congress would only approve -- could provide a short-term mitigation of energy prices until we reach a new generation of clean-burning and renewable fuels.

George Bush could learn from "Give 'em Hell, Harry." A disliked Truman never went silent into the night, but defended his record until the very end -- and was ultimately rewarded for it.

Posted by: VDH | May 8, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

O.K. Hillary you can stop those steroids injections and the Iranians/Americans may be able to sleep better as well.

The U.S. and world have had a gut full of cowboy diplomacy under Bush and the last thing they want now is change that will bring them cowgirl diplomacy.

Obliterate Iran she says!! Terminate OPEC she says!! End the federal excise tax she says!!

Tax "Big Oil" she says!!

End America's "addiction for crude" she says!!

No more drilling in the U.S. she says!!

Free health care for everyone she says!!!

We will disclose the names of Bill's Foundation/Library contributors after the election she says!!

And I am certain I will be the nominee and then the money we loaned for my campaign will be repaid with interest she says!!

Hillary face facts: The Best Man Won!!! Give it up and try to do something graceful and not totally self-serving for once, just face facts and at last level with the American people who have ample reason to judge you "dishonest" just like ole hound dog Slick Willie!!!

Posted by: william | May 8, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"I keep on getting the impression the Obama campaign has not thought moves ahead."

Actually, that's exactly why he's won:

"5. She never counted on a long haul
Clinton's strategy had been premised on delivering a knockout blow early. If she could win Iowa, she believed, the race would be over. Clinton spent lavishly there yet finished a disappointing third. What surprised the Obama forces was how long it took her campaign to retool. She fought him to a tie in the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests but didn't have any troops in place for the states that followed. Obama, on the other hand, was a train running hard on two or three tracks. Whatever the Chicago headquarters was unveiling to win immediate contests, it always had a separate operation setting up organizations in the states that were next. As far back as Feb. 21, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was spotted in Raleigh, N.C. He told the News & Observer that the state's primary, then more than 10 weeks away, "could end up being very important in the nomination fight." At the time, the idea seemed laughable.

-Time Magazine, The Five Mistakes Clinton Made"

http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1738331,00.html?xid=site-cnn-partner

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"I keep on getting the impression the Obama campaign has not thought moves ahead."

Compared to whom? His opponent who presumed coronation following the Feb 5 events?

Sen Clinton's campaign strategy looks like George Bush's Iraq strategy.

Sen Obama's campaign strategy looks like George HW Bush's Iraq strategy.

Posted by: bsimon | May 8, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"Making a proposal is not so evil.
At least it starts the debate.
Debate about gas pricing and related issues is healthy.
The final solution will not be a simplistic tax equation and it wont come soley from a bunch of talking heads."

The problem is, Clinton wasn't DEBATING anything. All she was doing was label anyone who disagreed with her as an elitist.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 8, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"I think you and I will have to agree to disagree. When you say individual choices ignore the 'needs of groups' - I say, um, hogwash. Every decision ('economic man') is an individual one, at the end of the day."

Agree, we're gonna have to agree to disagree. At some levels, it is all about individual choice, but the problem with individual choice and economic markets is for those on the low end of the econmic spectrum, free will can be an illusion as people are often forced to make poor long term economic choices because they are forced to respond to more pressing short term economic choices. Putting food on the table now and balancing that against paying the rent and current healthcare costs trumps eating better which will lead to a healthier life and lower costs in the long run. Without us looking at the problem as abroader community and deciding baseline standards that work in the best interests of all, people as individuals and collectively will end up worse in the long run by just trying to keep their heads above water in the short run. With less regulation, things may end up better in the long run, but in the long run we're all dead, and what other sacrifices may we need to make along the way? What about when economic freedom comes at the expense of political freedom? Too much regulation is a road to serfdom at the hands of the regulator, but too little is also a road to serfdom at the hands of the new economic powerbrokers.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"This discussion comes down to: what did you realistically expect Hillary to do in these two states?"

Look, its waaaay to late to be playing the expectations game. She needs delegates and needs them badly. Momentum does nothing for a football team losing by three touchdowns with 3 minutes to play. She needs to complete three hail marys as well as get the onside kicks. Can anyone be "expected" to do that? of course not, but its what she needs.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 8, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Before voting for McCain because of Rezko, David in California should review St. John's role in the Keating Five scandal.

Posted by: theRealCalGal | May 8, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey CC - your columnn is upside down. If you are going to do that, why not move the input box to the top also?

Posted by: peanut gallery | May 8, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"I keep on getting the impression the Obama campaign has not thought moves ahead."

Yeah, but chess is a really easy game when your opponent seems to be unaware of the rules.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 8, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Obama is too far left for my way of thinking."

This is still the biggest bit of nonsense propogates since the campaign began- that Obama is more liberal than Clinton. Forget the NJ survey (which I still contend measures loyalty to party, not ideology as most of the votes counter were on issues wholly unrelated to philosophy such as ethcis bills), Clinton and Obama had 1 major policy dispute- mandating national healthcare. Hillary supported it, Obama wanted the leave the decision to individuals. Which is the more leftist position?

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey JD: I was just going for the most laughable NPP winner who showed up in the list. If you prefer, we can go with the United Nations, 2001.

Posted by: Spectator2 | May 8, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I want some of what Planet0 is drinking/smoking!

Posted by: theRealCalGal | May 8, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Lower Manhattan -- The Reverend Al Sharpton crept in and out of the designated protest area at One Police Plaza like the blob in a lava lamp.

Arriving in a huge scrum of reporters and hangers-on that dwarfed the crowd of protesters who had spent two hours waiting for him to finally turn up, Sharpton's roiling entourage struggled to pass through the bottleneck police had created with two long lines of converging metal barriers, only to reconstitute itself once past it, amorphous and unwieldy, percolating for a bit around its well-coiffed, media-savvy queen bee before floating back upward toward the street (and rush-hour traffic) again, where the boys in blue would eventually load vans and busses destined for the pokey.


While inside this miniature Panopticon, Sharpton did not preach. He mostly milled around with a stern look -- the same face he would don when being queried about Tawana Brawley during his 2004 presidential run -- quietly registering his solemn approval as protesters raging against the acquittal of three officers in the 2006 shooting death of Sean Bell chanted We remember Sean Bell/NYPD go to Hell and No justice/No peace/No murdering-ass police, while carrying ubiquitous signs declaring We Are All Sean Bell. The Whole Damn System is Guilty.

"If you want to be arrested follow Reverend Sharpton," an organizer, his profile framed against the Welcome to Police Headquarters sign, barked into a bullhorn. "If you don't want to be arrested, don't follow Reverend Sharpton."

Fairly simple instructions. Having been arrested a stone's throw from the site while covering a protest during the 2004 Republican National Convention I personally planned to err on the side of distance, especially once I saw the rolls of orange netting and ungainly clumps of white plastic handcuffs protruding off police officers' belts.

I tried to warn a couple of curious guidebook-toting, broken-English speaking, German tourists away from the upcoming melee, to no avail. I presume they figured it out for themselves; if not, incarceration with Al Sharpton makes an inimitable vacation story.


Last weekend I snickered at reports of Sharpton telling a congregation, "God used David to challenge Goliath. So what makes you think God can't use Al Sharpton to challenge George Bush?"


God did not prevail upon the good Reverend to seriously challenge Dick Gephardt or Dennis Kucinich in 2004, never mind an actual sitting president. If that does not sufficiently convey a failure to bestow heavenly favor, surely Sharpton's unholy love of tracksuits does.

Posted by: Shawn Macomber | May 8, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

By contrast, in addition to not being able to get half the country to vote for him in two tries, Clinton's connection to any other presidential candidate spells utter doom. Both his vice president and his wife have been defeated in elections they should have won, but lost because of their unfortunate association with him. The country has spoken. It wants to be rid of the Clintons. .......

So we have documented proof: Americans rank Bill Clinton with national misfortunes on the order of the Great Depression and the Vietnam War. (This, of course, is an overreaction: The Great Depression wasn't that bad.)

And now Bill Clinton has wrecked Hillary's campaign, too. He's like the creepy guy who graduated last year but still hangs around the high school cafeteria chatting up sophomores.


Another liberal myth dispelled - the most popular politician in the world. hardy har har.

Posted by: anne C. | May 8, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey Spec, you forgot Al Gore too.

You know, the guy who blamed the Cyclone on Global Warming yesterday.

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Clinton has completely lost her mind. Over on CNN they are quoting her as saying that non-college eduated white support her that she is the only hope for white's! This depicable gasbag ha finally gone over the top. First it was Geraldine, then Hillary's mob of bloggers, now the queen bee. I guess ALL feminists are racist scumbags and self serving hags.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | May 8, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

To those Obama supporters who contend that anyone who does not support Obama does not belong in the Democrat party, and those who say we are "stupid", and those that believe there is something wrong with being more "moderate" in our beliefs than you, I have this to say:

I am 53 years old, have voted in every election since I was 18, have always considered myself a solid Democrat, have held publicly elected office, have been active in the Democrat party(currently the Democrat Precinct Chairman in my area), and have always considered the Democrat party as the "party with the big tent".

That said, I am very disappointed in your narrow views and the divisive comments you make. I will be voting for McCain this fall because he is more moderate (for a Republican), and Obama is too far left for my way of thinking. I am sorry you have a problem with that. Maybe you can create a more exclusive party that only represents your views, but that party will not include me.

Bud Curtis
Miami, OK

Posted by: Bud Curtis, Miami, OK | May 8, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"PS Silly me for invoking Uncle Milt. You know, the Nobel Laureate in Econ."

We'll remember that the next time you make fun of Jimmy Carter. You know, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, 2002.

Posted by: Spectator2 | May 8, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, it looks like it's the end of the road for Hillary. Time for her to pack up her pantsuits and go back to ... wherever it is she's pretending to be living these days. Now we just have to get rid of the other two. Perhaps if I endorse Obama ...

This week, Bill Clinton lost his second presidential election for a protege.


In addition to not being able to get half the country to vote for him in two tries, Clinton's connection to any other presidential candidate spells utter doom.

Both his vice president and his wife have been defeated in elections they should have won, but lost because of their unfortunate association with him. The country has spoken. It wants to be rid of the Clintons.

Posted by: Anne C | May 8, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The limitations in the media are hard to believe. The media seems to be fixated on Hillary Clinton and, as always, obsessed with dramatic changes. The reality is that little changed with last Tuesday's elections. The themes of the Democratic Primary both for good and bad have come from Barack Obama. North Carolina was just the latest of a number of Repubilcan leaning states where Obama has succeeded by a combination of appeal to African American voters, appeal to younger up scale White voters, expanding the number of participants, and tapping into intense negative feeling of some voters towards Hillary Clinton. Indiana was just another case that showed that there is a large part of the traditional Democratic electorate that Obama has not reached. All that happened on Tuesday is that we moved closer in time towards the end of a process that has continually confirmed the results established by Super Tuesday. Obama has established enough of a lead that he is likely to eventually win the nomination. But he has continued to lose in many states that practically every other Democratic nominee has won because a major part of the Democratic Party has not accepted him. If he is satified with this situation, he probably just has to wait until the delegates are counted. But, if he wants something different, he has to find a way to change it. There is nothing that Hillary Clinton is going to do that will change it for him.

Posted by: dnjake | May 8, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

kreuz, I respect that you're actually using logic and not emotional arguments, and I appreciate it.

I think you and I will have to agree to disagree. When you say individual choices ignore the 'needs of groups' - I say, um, hogwash. Every decision ('economic man') is an individual one, at the end of the day.

Gov imposition of CAFE distorts the market, limits individual choice, and imposes costs on car manufacturers, which either increases car cost or causes companies to shed jobs as they lose sales/profit.

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Clinton just gaffed it with a toxic, racially divisive comment in USAToday this morning. If the MSM picks up on it, the next 2 days will be bad for her.

Posted by: Asja | May 8, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"Who will be the political beneficiary of $5 gas in November?"


Well, maybe the folks up here in ND, for one. Oil companies, saying that they located what may prove to be one of the largest recent oil finds in the United States, have begun drilling all through the western part of the state.


"It seems like God flew over this country, and a dart landed on Granddad's homestead," said John Warberg, who is being paid royalties for the new oil well on the land where his grandfather's crumbling, nearly century-old homestead shack stands.


I'm serious about this ND thing...
My suggestion is to take all of the tax from the ND oil and put it toward building the ...(drum-roll, please...)
Gulag of the North Wind/Solar/Switchgrass Farm along the northern border, using the relocated Gitmo detainees for labor and manitenance.

(In the winter you won't even need to lock the gate. If anyone wanders off, they'll freeze to death in a matter of minutes. It happened to one of my patients a couple months ago.)

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 8, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Mark, I admit that driving habits are by far the largest determinant of safety; those are affected by if it's a teen, if someone had one too many when leaving the bar, degree of recklessness, etc.

Still, I'd rather that people make their own call on this stuff. It's easy to check the Insurance figures on deaths per 1000 miles in a Yugo vs in a Hummer. I say, give people the info, let them make the call! Government needs to butt out of running our lives.

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

McCain vs William Ayers

WHEELCHAIR WWWIII EVENT

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Well Pigs do FLY

at least PINK FLOYDS

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

That's the problem with invoking experts- you invke Friedman, I invoke Keynes, or Nash and game theory, we can play this game all day.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

YOU HAVE HEARD IT HERE FIRST


Obama is planning on arriving at the Democratic Convention in Denver with his own militia - a terrorist group headed by William Ayers.

If the democratic insiders attempt to steal the nomination away from Obama, they are planning to act.

This is their reasoning - if Obama shows up with the most pledged delegates, and it appears that that the party insiders are going to act to block Obama, the Convention will be disrupted so that a vote will not take place.

Obama will proclaim himself the winner based on his pledged delegates and attempt to move on from there.

The people from the Weather Underground have been planning and thinking for decades about this - they want a revolution - they want things to be dramatic - lends brand new meaning to the phrase "this is the moment they have been waiting for."


Posted by: Planet O | May 8, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

kreuz_missle writes
"he'll be giving his acceptance speech within sight of that bridge, and many reporters covering the event will have to detour around it..."

Well... Sortof, if not literally. I imagine the media will be unable to resist telling the story & trying to fabricate some kind of metaphor, but here's the thing: the reconstruction is ahead of schedule. They're talking about reopening the bridge in September. By the time the GOP convention arrives, the span will likely be complete, which means it'll look like a fully rebuilt bridge, with minor details like surfacing remaining.

Posted by: bsimon | May 8, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton campaign's claim that the ploy worked shows where we are in this campaign.
If she finished better than she would have otherwise, Obama is clearly the nominee.
Before Tuesday I wrote that she needed a 25 vote net gain that day to have credibility in her claim to still have a chance.
Instead, she suffered a net loss.
Her chances are over.
If the ploy saved her from a worse loss, then her chances are more over.

Posted by: Frank Palmer | May 8, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I dont trust the Washington democratic insiders - there is some endgame at play here and one has to wonder what is up their sleeves.


This Florida and Michigan situation became their trump card - they control the middle votes.


Not the voters - but Washington insiders control the inside here.

Posted by: Well | May 8, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all your refinements to my $6 [or $5.72] gasoline post.

As I write this, indie oilmen are drilling deeper in TX than ever before. I think after oil goes through the roof it will come down to this $100 / bbl level for awhile, during the next Administration.

Who will be the political beneficiary of $5 gas in November? Maybe no one will be able to afford to drive to the polls.
------------------------
JD, the safety issue reminds me of a Csabe article in R&T many years ago. He "proved" that the Corvette was far safer than any other American car [road hugging, braking, maneuverability, acceleration - all the stuff that makes a sports or a race car capable of being driven 140+mph in a field of other similar cars].

Corvettes were involved in more deadly accidents because of the drivers, not the cars. :-)

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 8, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"But I completely disagree that, because we cannot know the *exact* price of the externalities, then the entire concept of market-based decisionmaking must be thrown out."

I specifically said they shouldn't be thrown out. They have a role to play, but they're not the silver bullet that neoliberals think they are. The problem I have with neoliberal economics (besides just looking at the consumer as an individual and rejecting the needs of groups) is that they simplify economic models and downplay the role of market failures and externalities as something that can be mitigated with the right system. They're not, theyre a constant in all transactions and play a much greater role than those guys would have us believe, and even their proposed solutions through implementation throw in a number of unntendended consequences which leads to more market failures and externalities.

And we're not talking about setting the price of gas, or even raising gas taxes at this point. We're talking about baseline standards for the fleets produced by companies when talking about the MPG standard, and other similar metrics. Do you really believe we can accurately account for the effects of greenhouse gases on the environment and factor that in as a tax? A good chunk of the population still doesn't accept that global warming is a man-made problem, what makes you think they'd agree to put a price tag on it? What about it's effect on healthcare? What about the national security costs of keeping the LOCs for the flow of oil open? What about the human toll? And if you put a price tag on it for automobiles, you do it for all polluting sources, overnight radically reshaping the whole economic model for the country and wreaking havoc on the entire economy (all production costs shoot up, wages remain stagnant or even decline to cover the new costs of paying for these externalities, inflation through the roof, price of food up even more, etc). Incremental change on what is known is the best solution, and in the meantime using the tools of regulation to fill the gaps is the best solution. Individual choices lead to collective externalities, the society as a whole is justified in taxing appropriately where able, and regulating to limit the effects where taxation won't work.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Many people who like Billary like them because the economy was so good in the 1990's. Bill gets the economy.

I think what everybody is missing is that Hillary attacked her own strength, while BO looked smart on economics. The Rove playbook is to attack your oponent's strengths (Swift Boat), and Hillary did it to herself while ALSO knocking the Rev Right story out of the media.

It's the economy stupid! Irony rules!!!

Posted by: Jimibristol | May 8, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

PS Silly me for invoking Uncle Milt. You know, the Nobel Laureate in Econ.

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Ok kreuz, you're getting closer. But I completely disagree that, because we cannot know the *exact* price of the externalities, then the entire concept of market-based decisionmaking must be thrown out. Talk about baby/bathwater issues.

Surely we can get pretty close estimates on the costs for road maintenance, pollution/greenhouse damage to environment, and costs for ensuring safe maritime transport from the Gulf, Nigeria, etc. So you roll those up and make that the tax.

The other externalities (R&D, declining supply, risk) will be captured in the base price of the gas.

It's most definitely NOT the government's job to set the price of gas (or of anything). Of course you'd be doing that with the CAFE standards (actually the 'price' would be in the form of increased highway deaths, reduced choice for the consumer, etc).

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"That's the ONLY way the market would effectively work; the invisible hand guiding the choices of many, which ends up favoring some solutions (smaller cars w/higher MPG? maybe...) over others. The point is, if the tax effectively captured the true cost of gas production and delivery, then people can decide for themselves whether they still want to buy the Escalade, etc., or the Ford Focus, weighing all the factors (safety, individual lifestyle, need for hauling cargo/kids, sticker price, desire for being green, and of course MPG)."

And you're throwing in the "invisible hand" invoking the church of Milton Friedman loses me as well. Neoliberal economics is transactional economics, trying to model the macroeconomy as only a sum of individual decisions where collective decisionmaking is blocked at all costs. The point is, you cannot put a price on all the externalities, because we cannot even accurately determine what they are, much less put an accurate price on them. If we could, then maybe this argument would have merit, besides that, it would still be a collective decision to determine the rate of taxation leading to an unnatural imposition on the free markets. With the true externalities unknowable in specific terms, it is perfectly appropriate to push change through regulation rather than taxation. As the costs of externalities are calculated, then go ahead and implement a mechanism to factor that into the market system and reduce its consideration for reducing regulation. But it's not an argument for removing the regulatory arm of the process. Both systems must work hand-in-hand for the best outcome, both for individual choice and for the national interests.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

The DNC, etc. wish to end the primaries is crazy.

The Dem primaries and nomination process monopolizes the news, leaving no air time for Republicans or McCain. The only way McCain can get on TV today is if he gets on the Daily Show.

The day the Dems ends the process, McCain and the Republicans get at least 50% of the TV air time.

So, why do the Dems want to share the airways with the Republicans? Why are the Dems so anxious to see the Republicans begin their anti-Dem candidate campaign? Why do the Dems want their primary race to end?

While in total control of the airwaves, the DNC should be spending all this time fundraising - but they aren't. They are sitting back complaining about the amount of air-time one of their own is on tv, in the papers, etc.

The Dem convention isn't any where near being paid for yet. The RNC's convention is paid in full and they have 5 months till their convention begins.

Does anyone in the DNC understand the value / cost of a minute of national TV time? Or the value / cost of keeping the Republicans off the air?

Leave it to the Dems to figure out the easiest, cheapest and fastest ways to lose.

Posted by: numbers | May 8, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Gas TAX HOLIDAY INCREASE CONSUMPTION OF GAS

GAS WENT up 15 cents yesterday thanks to huge CHINA demand of CHEAP subsidized OIL

USA subsidises CHINA OIL we all know thats why its only $2 a gallon there

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Hillary thought she was participating in her coronation, a coronation that would allow her to dispense her queenly largress to the little people.

That's why it took some time to dawn on her that her divine right was being challenged.

So... it was with increasing desperation that she resorted to tricks of "experience," of sniper "combat,", of a gimmicky "tax holiday," Annie-get-your-gun whiskey shots, pick-up trucks, and a macho stance of obliteration against anything that moves in the Middle East.

All the while she kept asking her flat-footed staff if the White House was in sight.... "are we there yet?"

No, she's not there, and now she won't be there. The process worked....

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | May 8, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Hillary thought she was participating in her coronation, a coronation that would allow her to dispense her queenly largress to the little people.

That's why it took some time to dawn on her that her divine right was being challenged.

So... it was with increasing desperation that she resorted to tricks of "experience," of sniper "combat,", of a gimmicky "tax holiday," Annie-get-your-gun whiskey shots, pick-up trucks, and a macho stance of obliteration against anything that moves in the Middle East.

All the while she kept asking her flat-footed staff if the White House was in sight.... "are we there yet?"

No, she's not there, and now she won't be there. The process worked....

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | May 8, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

On Sunday, I was still giving Sen. Clinton the benefit of the doubt that there might be something of merit in her gas tax holiday proposal, because until then, all I had heard were the sound bites.

Then on the national news I saw her addressing a rally in Indiana, justifying her proposal with the 'applause' line "It's your money!"

I couldn't believe it, because that's a line straight out of President Bush's 2000 campaign and it's a rationale for doing away with taxes, not for a tax holiday.

That told me that it was a gimmick without any further research being necessary.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | May 8, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The problem with letting the market decide MPGs is it looks only at the needs of consumers as individuals, and those consumers aside from looking just at individual concerns also tend to look at more short term economic realities rather than long term ones (my neo-Keynsian side comes out here once more- in the long run we're all dead). With the average MPG standard raised, there is still room for consumer choice with a lower MPG vehicle, but mroe incentive for companies to push more fuel efficiencies, develop better technologies to make cars operate more efficiently, etc.

Posted by: | May 8, 2008 11:21 AM


Anon poster, you started out talking a good econ game, but you lost me. Of course consumers are individuals. That's the ONLY way the market would effectively work; the invisible hand guiding the choices of many, which ends up favoring some solutions (smaller cars w/higher MPG? maybe...) over others.

The point is, if the tax effectively captured the true cost of gas production and delivery, then people can decide for themselves whether they still want to buy the Escalade, etc., or the Ford Focus, weighing all the factors (safety, individual lifestyle, need for hauling cargo/kids, sticker price, desire for being green, and of course MPG).

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Congress Rejected GOP GAS TAX proposal and Will poke needles in eye prior to going along with McCain right beflre election

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I hope you all don't fall fro that same con. I hope she stays on that issue because it is such a loser for her.


============
Out here in Oregon we are seeing the gas tax debate fire up already. Gas tax holiday from Memorial Day to Labor Day....

Has anyone noticed that Memorial Day is only 2-1/2 weeks away? She's going to draft the legislation, get it through both houses of Congress, have the President sign it, and get it implemented in 2-1/2 weeks?

Posted by: Roberto in Oregon | May 8, 2008 11:33 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"The Minnesota bridge collapse last year was a wake-up call."

And this is another reason I think McCain needs to make this issue go away ASAP- he'll be giving his acceptance speech within sight of that bridge, and many reporters covering the event will have to detour around it...

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Boutan:

Thanks for providing the link; that fellow's blog posting is pretty perceptive. (In case you don't want to read it, the main point is that this protacted campaign is developing Dem voter registration, and in November -- when the Clinton/Obama tensions have cooled and Wright is old news -- these people aren't going to vote for McCain, they're going to vote for the Dem -- Obama. But just like the press made you think the Clinton-Obama race reained in question even after Obama's 11 wins in a row after Super Tuesday, they'll make you think McCain has a shot --when he really doesn't.)

The intro to the piece involves the writer's $200 bet on Obama to win the IN primary at 10-1 odds. Obama was a 135 favorite to win in Nov before last Tuesday (meaning he was the favorite; you had to put up $135 to win $100); those odds have to have gotten shorter after Tuesday's results.

As for me, I've already won: Hilary Clinton won't be President, and that's all I ever really cared about. I prefer Obama, but McCain is a great American, decent to the core, and if he ends up President, I won't be put out. The best Presidents are always decent personally (Reagan, JFK, Gerald Ford, all good guys personally), and the worst are always bitter and venal (Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon).

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 8, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Out here in Oregon we are seeing the gas tax debate fire up already. Gas tax holiday from Memorial Day to Labor Day....

Has anyone noticed that Memorial Day is only 2-1/2 weeks away? She's going to draft the legislation, get it through both houses of Congress, have the President sign it, and get it implemented in 2-1/2 weeks?

Posted by: Roberto in Oregon | May 8, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

why do mrs. clinton and her campaign employees keep referring to "white people" in the voting analyses? is this some sort of code that if we whites don't vote for her we'll end up in some sort of trouble with the negro dude? i cannot help but sense in her comments and of those around her that they cannot believe this neophyte half african american beat her. and fair and square. and in a decent way. their comments and behavior have the rank smell that they feel sen. obama is the "uppity" you know what. it's all over but the shouting. what is wrong w/her that she cannot see that and gracefully withdraw and work to help party win in the Fall?

Posted by: frieda406 | May 8, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

News report

Hillary will net 10 Michigan Delegates
if deal accepted

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I think one additional factor figures in to the gas tax suspoension issue - people understand that we have a lot of infrastructure problems in the U.S. and that taking away dollars that support highways is not a sensible idea. The Minnesota bridge collapse last year was a wake-up call.

The American public may not be ready to see this idea in the broad light of day, but there's a growing awareness that our lifestyles are going to change and there will be costs to us on several levels. Like oil, our consumer society has peaked.

Also, I believe that a large segment of the public doesn't buy the idea that the burden would be shifted to the oil companies if the gas tax were to be suspended - their obscene profits are repeatedly emblazoned in the news.

Posted by: Sandy Harbanuk | May 8, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I think one additional factor figures in to the gas tax suspoension issue - people understand that we have a lot of infrastructure problems in the U.S. and that taking away dollars that support highways is not a sensible idea. The Minnesota bridge collapse last year was a wake-up call.

The American public may not be ready to see this idea in the broad light of day, but there's a growing awareness that our lifestyles are going to change and there will be costs to us on several levels. Like oil, our consumer society has peaked.

Also, I believe that a large segment of the public doesn't buy the idea that the burden would be shifted to the oil companies if the gas tax were to be suspended - their obscene profits are repeatedly emblazoned in the news.

Posted by: Sandy Harbanuk | May 8, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Save the Priviledged

Drop gax taxes on PREIMUM UNLEADED

and MORE CONSERVATIVE JUDGES
needed to
OVERTURN ROE vs WADE

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, her gas tax rebate idea was another blunder. She has based her whole campaign on sensationalistic attacks and inane emotionally geared ideas designed to placate the unsophisticated voter. Please, this was a slap in the face to everyone who is looking for real change. If she had avoided the strident muckracking and silly numbers manipulations and stuck to honest and sound policy concepts I think she would have walked away with the nomination!

Posted by: Chris | May 8, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

That was my post at 11:21, btw, the name didn't appear for some reason (CC, the new format is nice, but when is registration coming back??)

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Nice post, but I think it misses the central role the gas tax played in the final days of the campaign. As of Friday Obama was getting buried by the aftermath of Rev. Wright's narcissistic attack on Monday and unable to change the subject. He had been effectively re-branded as an elitist. As a result, he was tanking in both national and state polling. His lead in NC was down to single digits, and the democrat recriminations parade was beginning to march down Clinton street.

So what happened?

Hillary violated one of the cardinal rules of politics. "When your opponent is destroying himself, get out of the way" If you're the Clinton camp, you go positive on your own message, steer clear of ANY controversy, and reap the rewards on May 6. What does SHE do? She brings in a new, and controversial topic. Maybe she was hoping to capitalize and go in for the kill, I don't know. However, there's no other way to put it, it was stupid, with a capital 'S'.

By Monday all anyone was asking either candidate was whether they supported the gas tax holiday. There was the spectacle of a woman at a Clinton rally accusing her of pandering. And then there was Obama, who was ALL smiles now, getting to answer questions about policy-not Rev. Wright, not William Ayers, not his lapel pin, and not his 'bitter' comment. And worse still for her, he was able to take a principled stand against it that turned the whole narrative back to his core campaign theme. He was able to go back to reminding people how he would NOT do things in the old Washington way.

Breathtaking.

Say what you want about Obama's weaknesses as a candidate, his inexperience in government, and his lack of appeal in Appalachia. However, the mistake Clinton made last weekend was beyond a rookie candidate's screw-up. It was representative of the flawed campaign she has run from the beginning, and really undercut her core argument for being the nominee-namely that SHE'S the adult in the room. She should've been smarter than this, and it's going to cost her a shot at the White House.

Posted by: WMH | May 8, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Is there some legal reason that prevents exit pollsters from asking about specific issues like whether the gas tax affected a voter's vote and which way? Otherwise, its hard for me to understand the incompetence of pollsters for not asking about it and forcing us to infer from vaguely related questions that were asked.

Posted by: No gas tax exit polling? | May 8, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Go Thank you fighting Irish

and go O'bama

Posted by: fighting Irish | May 8, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"As for increasing mandatory MPG standards, I'm not a huge fan of that, actually. I much prefer to let the market decide what MPG should be. Raising CAFE means smaller cars, which are both more dangerous (more highway deaths) and less useful."

I'm not sure the size of cars is inherently the critical factor there, a lot of small fuel efficient cars do better on safety reports than larger cars- I think the overall economics, that economy cars are all small cars, is the critical factor, as car companies sacrifice both size and safety in the name of competing in the sub-$10,000 market. The problem with letting the market decide MPGs is it looks only at the needs of consumers as individuals, and those consumers aside from looking just at individual concerns also tend to look at more short term economic realities rather than long term ones (my neo-Keynsian side comes out here once more- in the long run we're all dead). With the average MPG standard raised, there is still room for consumer choice with a lower MPG vehicle, but mroe incentive for companies to push more fuel efficiencies, develop better technologies to make cars operate more efficiently, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Hillary, please go home. The laundry is piling up, there are dirty dishes in the sink, Bill's shirts need ironed, and you're almost out of TV dinners.

Posted by: Ben Richards | May 8, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Dear Los Angeles and David

Fine, I will work for the person who strives for increased health care, limiting the Iraq war, and reversing tax cuts for the wealthy (which I fall into) as our infastructure crumbles -- whether it is Clinton or Obama.

You can support the candidate with "experience" taking the country in the other direction (although you both initially supported someone with different ideas). Does not make sense to me, but that is the beautiful part of America...

Posted by: dood | May 8, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The pundits view of IN was not on target.

IN is not a rust belt state like PA and OH. It's a farm state like IA and most industries there are ag related. It's NOT economically depressed, no "bitter" voters, etc.

The only thing IN has that most farm states don't have - black voters.

If you removed the black votes from IN, you'd get an idea what a primary in Iowa, etc. would be like instead of a cacuas.

Posted by: numbers | May 8, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"Yes, sound bites do matter, because Obama's campaign is base on nothing else. His record is that he has NO record.

"We should appoint Justices who stick to the Constitution, not try to change it--that is why it is so hard to make changes."

True, now give me some examples of judges who are trying to change it, and cases where they have...

"No I do not like the war, but Obama is NOT going to end it, he can't even "find the bathroom in Washington (NYTIMES)" how will he end a war?"

There's a non sequiter and an ad hominem combined, interesting. As he should, he will call in the commanders, set a general framework for withdrawal, and instruct them to put together a plan to implement it, put forth their concerns and limitations, and drive towards that ultimate goal.

"Economy, he couldn't even manage to pay off his student debt until "a few years ago" so how will he pay off ours? He had no budgeting skills. He only paid off his debt because he went on the national scene."

Seriously, what does his ability to pay off his student debt have to do with this at all? Was he in danger of defaulting on loans? Were things not being paid off in time? Seriously, what the heck is your point here? Lots of folks take out student loans, and most are structured to be paid off over decades. It's not bad financial management, it's actually hiighly advisable because of the low rate of interest on student loans.

"Our country is in trouble and that is EXACTLY why we can NOT afford to experiment with a guy who wants an INTERNSHIP."

In 1856 we elected a president with the greatest resume and experiences ever. State representative, Congressman, Senator, Ambassador to Russia, nominated to Supreme Court (declined nomination to be SoS instead), Secretary of State, University President, and Minister to the Court of St James in Britain. James Buchanon is widely regarded as our worst president. He was replaced by a man whose political career included 4 terms in the Illinois state house and one term as a Congressman. Abraham Lincoln is widely regarded as one of our best presidents.

Am I saying Obama is the second coming of Lincoln? Absolutely not. My point is that no amount of experience can prepare you for the job of being President. Even if Bill Clinton could serve another term today, the office and the world is radically different from when he left it and his self-confidence from having done the job before might actually hinder him in many ways. Basic experience is important, but judgment, ability to adapt to averse circumstances, and the ability to unite the American people towards a common purpose are far more important. Obama has those qualities in my eyes, and neither McCain nor Clinton do.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Sorry kreuz, thought I saw the 'windfall tax' somewhere in there. Must be a Hillary plan then.

As for increasing mandatory MPG standards, I'm not a huge fan of that, actually. I much prefer to let the market decide what MPG should be. Raising CAFE means smaller cars, which are both more dangerous (more highway deaths) and less useful.

If gas prices reflect the complete costs of all externalities (captured through the gas tax), then the market is providing perfect information, give people credit for making their own choices.

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

My take: 42 gallons of petroleum products in a bbl, no waste. The raw cost of the product coming out of the ground will be
200/42 = $4.86. $4.86 + shipping to the refinery + profit, refining + profit, shipping to the retailer + profit, retailing + tax + profit = @$6.00/gal at the pump. GOT IT?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 8, 2008 9:50 AM


Hi Mark, a thought about your calculations - (and you didn't say whether it's 42 us gallons or imperial gallons :-)

Don't assume that each gallon of oil makes a gallon of gas. In fact, from one 42 gallon barrel of oil, you get:

- 19.6 gallons of gasoline
- 10 gallons of diesel fuel and heating oil
- 4 gallons of jet fuel
- 1.7 gallons of heavy fuel oil
- 1.7 gallons of LPG
- 7.6 gallons of other stuff

That's actualy 44 gallons of product, as oil 'gets bigger' after it's refined, much like popcorn does when it's cooked.

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 10:43 AM
OK, $5.72 a gallon

Posted by: Scottilla | May 8, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

JD writes
"I really hope that the American public see the oil-company bashing for what it is - class warfare politics. I thought Obama stood for ending those kind of tactics."

Uh, the windfall tax proposal on oil company profits came from Sen Clinton - to offset the so-called 'gas tax holiday'. I don't think Sen Obama has endorsed the idea of a windfall tax.

Posted by: bsimon | May 8, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

It was not the gas tax: it was the media that misfired.

From the rampant sexism ("Hillary is a b...h", "she's like Lorena Bobbit", "she's a monster", and other beauties said by the pundits on tv)to the flagrant tv pundits support for Obama, they refused to provide scrutiny to Obama's lack of substance to his attack to the gas tax proposal or any other of his "proposals".

I'm not an economist but this much i can say about a politician that claims to bring change (Obama):

if he tried, as he claims he did as a senator, to do exactly what Hillary proposed about gas tax...
if the oil companies responded by increasing the gas price...

if he could do nothing against the oil companies tactics but accept that they are untouchable...
then where is his ability to produce change? If he's going to fold when the billionaires tell him not to go there, how tough is Obama?

If politicians want to prevent the oil company from increasing the price as a response to the tax elimination for a few months, they can do it. THE HAVE THE POWER IN THEIR HANDS. They can even release some of the oil stashed away for a limited time.

Otherwise, you are saying that the oil companies rule this country, which they do: Not because they have the laws, but because the politicians are bought by them.


Hillary failed to bring the universal health coverage. But she learned the lesson and was willing to try again, she's willing to face the insurance company again.

Obama can't change anything. He can't and won't face the billionaires of this country. His economical plans are uncreative: just cut from services to the working class, tax the working class, etc. He can play with the working class but not with the billionaires.

He was defeated once by the oil company and he won't face them again. How much money he's receiving from them? DO YOU THINK THOSE MILLIONS HE HAS FOR CAMPAIGNING COMES FROM THE MIDDLE CLASS? Think again.

This country spends billions on war, Obama voted for that. But he can't vote for relief for the working class. We can afford the price. I don't buy the stuff about increasing consumption. We increase consumption on everything every day: that's the american way. The relief would have being felt by the truck drivers and taxi drivers, among others.

The attack on her proposal was a farse.

The media killed every plan Hillary had. Obama didn't bring anything new to the table except oration. He's a sophist.

Posted by: thetruth | May 8, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

It was not the gas tax: it was the media that misfired.

From the rampant sexism ("Hillary is a b...h", "she's like Lorena Bobbit", "she's a monster", and other beauties said by the pundits on tv)to the flagrant tv pundits support for Obama, they refused to provide scrutiny to Obama's lack of substance to his attack to the gas tax proposal or any other of his "proposals".

I'm not an economist but this much i can say about a politician that claims to bring change (Obama):

if he tried, as he claims he did as a senator, to do exactly what Hillary proposed about gas tax...
if the oil companies responded by increasing the gas price...

if he could do nothing against the oil companies tactics but accept that they are untouchable...
then where is his ability to produce change? If he's going to fold when the billionaires tell him not to go there, how tough is Obama?

If politicians want to prevent the oil company from increasing the price as a response to the tax elimination for a few months, they can do it. THE HAVE THE POWER IN THEIR HANDS. They can even release some of the oil stashed away for a limited time.

Otherwise, you are saying that the oil companies rule this country, which they do: Not because they have the laws, but because the politicians are bought by them.


Hillary failed to bring the universal health coverage. But she learned the lesson and was willing to try again, she's willing to face the insurance company again.

Obama can't change anything. He can't and won't face the billionaires of this country. His economical plans are uncreative: just cut from services to the working class, tax the working class, etc. He can play with the working class but not with the billionaires.

He was defeated once by the oil company and he won't face them again. How much money he's receiving from them? DO YOU THINK THOSE MILLIONS HE HAS FOR CAMPAIGNING COMES FROM THE MIDDLE CLASS? Think again.

This country spends billions on war, Obama voted for that. But he can't vote for relief for the working class. We can afford the price. I don't buy the stuff about increasing consumption. We increase consumption on everything every day: that's the american way. The relief would have being felt by the truck drivers and taxi drivers, among others.

The attack on her proposal was a farse.

The media killed every plan Hillary had. Obama didn't bring anything new to the table except oration. He's a sophist.

Posted by: thetruth | May 8, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Response to DOOD,
Maybe I don't belong to the Democratic Party if it is so stupid as to nominate a candidate with zero experience. Should I belong to a Party that votes solely on skin color as the Republicans have for so long? Remember, that Johnson's proposals of Affirmative action for blacks is what drove the Solid South's Democrats into the hands of the Republicans and changed the face of both Parties since. We Democrats are supposed to be COLOR BLIND and elect the best and most qualified to lead us. Take off your rose colored glasses, DOOD.

Posted by: Los Angeles | May 8, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Why won't the punditry accept that HRC's win in Indiana, whatever the margin, was significant. She campaigned in a state adjacent to Obama's home with many parts sharing the Chicago media market. Clinton closed the gap on his home turf. Lost in this discussion is Obama's call for a windfall profits tax. Little does Barack know that the tax would be passed on to consumers, raising prices even more. This guy is without a record and is an empty vessel who speaks before large crowds and refuses to take questions from the media or audience members. Hard to base our presidential vote on hope alone.

Posted by: buckybacker97 | May 8, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"The oil companies pay more than their 'fair share' (to use a liberal phrase) of taxes already. You want to drive businesses out of this country? Keep raising their taxes."

And to my knowledge he hasn't proposed raising their taxes. He instead plans to offer incentives for the development of alternative fuels and renewable energy, raising the MPG standard for vehicles, etc., as a means to reduce reliance on oil without resulting to gimmicks that might make some people feel good in the short term but will do nothing to really solve either the short term economic problem or the long term oil, economic, and environmental problems.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

kreuz, I really hope that the American public see the oil-company bashing for what it is - class warfare politics. I thought Obama stood for ending those kind of tactics.

The oil companies pay more than their 'fair share' (to use a liberal phrase) of taxes already. You want to drive businesses out of this country? Keep raising their taxes.

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Response to Dood.
Yes, sound bites do matter, because Obama's campaign is base on nothing else. His record is that he has NO record. We should appoint Justices who stick to the Constitution, not try to change it--that is why it is so hard to make changes. That is what a people decide when they adopt a Constitution in the first place. No I do not like the war, but Obama is NOT going to end it, he can't even "find the bathroom in Washington (NYTIMES)" how will he end a war? Economy, he couldn't even manage to pay off his student debt until "a few years ago" so how will he pay off ours? He had no budgeting skills. He only paid off his debt because he went on the national scene. Our country is in trouble and that is EXACTLY why we can NOT afford to experiment with a guy who wants an INTERNSHIP.

Posted by: David in California | May 8, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

"However if he is the nominee, he does not match-up well against McCain."

300 EVs by current projections and an national lead on the polling averages even before the Democratic party rallies together behind a single nominee (and following two weeks of nothing but negative Obama press while McCain has had a free ride) constitutes not matching up well? Ok...

http://www.pollster.com/08-US-Pres-GE-MvO.php

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Both McCain and Clinton are members of the United States Congress, the only body which is empowered to alter the federal gasoline tax, which must be done through legislation. Have either of them introduced legislation to suspend the tax and sought to have it declared emergency legislation in order to expedite its passage? No? Hmmmmm. . .

Posted by: Stonecreek | May 8, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I think there were five factors that led to the gas tax plan failing to earn Clinton votes:

1) McCain also proposed it. Democrats generally do not like to see their own allied with a Republican.

2) Clinton has problems with honesty. People don't see her as honest, and so this gas tax was immediately viewed with suspicion. Clinton was presumed to be merely pandering to voters rather than taking a genuine stand.

3) Virtually every economist in the country seemed to come out strongly against the plan. People aren't stupid, and yet Clinton tried to play to the "idiot vote" by dismissing basic economic principles an the meaningful opinions of a lot of studied people.

4) Obama took the opposite view. For the first time in the campaign, the two candidates took sharply contrasting policy positions, and Obama's stand looked more courageous and ultimately more reasonable.

5) Clinton hasn't actually proposed anything, and her proposal would already be irrelevant by the time she would be elected president. To be meaningful this summer, the plan would need to be passed within two weeks. Clinton is a senator; if she believed strongly in this proposal, she would have introduced the bill already.

In the end, this was just a bad plan poorly packaged by the campaign. Clinton is much better when she plays the policy wonk, and yet she rejected that role as "elite" in this case and instead sounded like she was pandering a whole lot of nothing.

Posted by: blert | May 8, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Way to go Los Angeles! You get a gold star for further proving my point on large blocs of voters who align themselves with HRC or McCain. News flash -- you don't belong in the Democratic party if you are for useless war, socialized risk for Wall Street, and keeping health care from millions...

Posted by: dood | May 8, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"The problem would be getting the oil companies to actually reduce the price at the pump instead of just pocketing the extra change."

This is the bigger problem with Hillary's plan, though. The MCP for gas has been set, and reducing the tax won't lower it. Her answer to cover the cost is to make the Oil companies pay a windfall tax, which just means instead of pocketing the difference, it is picked up in that tax instead. The net effect for consumers is zero- the name of the tax and where it is charged just changes.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

The Repubs need to be paying attention: this year voters are engaged, informed, and expect to be addressed as adults about serious issues that worry them. Barack Obama treats voters with a candor, maturity, and intelligence that is exciting and inspiring.

If the GOP tries to divert attention from these issues by slinging mud about the stupid Rev. Wright or something silly that Michelle Obama might say, then McCain deserves a devastating loss in November.

Posted by: dee | May 8, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Living in a very liberal part of a very liberal state does not mean that I can not think for myself as the NY Times, CNN, MSNBC would have us believe. All of my family, friends, gym acquaintances, and my self are Democrats. Only my black friends will vote for Obama in the Fall. The rest of us are voting for experience. Obama may have one the Nomination, but he will loose the Election. Obama = Defeat We Can Be Sure Of.

Posted by: Los Angeles | May 8, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

It is possible that the other night was Obama's last big electorial night -


He is going to lose in West Virginia and Kentucky - Oregon OK

However if he is the nominee, he does not match-up well against McCain.

Obama has reached the end of the road.

Obamaniacs should take note - this combination of latte liberals and the black community can go only so far.


ahh


The tactics that Obama employed after South Carolina, which it may have looked good, actually hurt Obama in the long run - it focused everyone on the demographics which exposed Obama's weaknesses.

My guess is that Obama's advisors do not play chess - in chess one has to think one two three moves ahead - I keep on getting the impression the Obama campaign has not thought moves ahead.


First it was the focus on popular vote, then under analysis, that argument was actually in Hillary's favor.

Then it was the focus on winning the white vote in Wisconsin, then we discover that Wisconsin's progressive nature was different from other states, and Obama was not performing around the country like he did in Wisconsin.

The arguments advanced to the Superdelegates have a similar ring - they simply are not thought out too well.


Telling a superdelegate they should follow the pledged delegates - that is almost like telling the superdelegate they should not vote at all.

It is not helpful.

These people should not be running the country.


That is clear.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 8, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

My take: 42 gallons of petroleum products in a bbl, no waste. The raw cost of the product coming out of the ground will be
200/42 = $4.86. $4.86 + shipping to the refinery + profit, refining + profit, shipping to the retailer + profit, retailing + tax + profit = @$6.00/gal at the pump. GOT IT?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 8, 2008 9:50 AM


Hi Mark, a thought about your calculations - (and you didn't say whether it's 42 us gallons or imperial gallons :-)

Don't assume that each gallon of oil makes a gallon of gas. In fact, from one 42 gallon barrel of oil, you get:

- 19.6 gallons of gasoline
- 10 gallons of diesel fuel and heating oil
- 4 gallons of jet fuel
- 1.7 gallons of heavy fuel oil
- 1.7 gallons of LPG
- 7.6 gallons of other stuff

That's actualy 44 gallons of product, as oil 'gets bigger' after it's refined, much like popcorn does when it's cooked.

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

David in CA proves my point. Sound bites matter more than substance (supreme court nominees, increasing health care access, propagating a useless and costly war). Way to go David!

Posted by: dood | May 8, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

interesting. but i think yo missed the biggest difference between o'bannon's move and sen clinton's move. he had the power to enact it and she doesn't. she didn't even suggest that she's going to push it in the senate or that there would be votes for it.

it accented o'bannon's power while in a sense accenting sen clinton's weakness.

Posted by: st paul sage | May 8, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

As a Democrat I will be crossing the line for the first time this Fall and vote Republican for McCain. Experience does count and Obama has only one year. Billy Ayers does count. Rev. Wright counts. Michelle Obama's comments, "America is a mean country," does matter. "Tony" Rezko sleeze and Iraq connections do influence my vote.

Posted by: David in California | May 8, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I know Hillary gets slammed for this, but the idea is not a bad one. The gas tax is a percenatge of the total sale and with the price of gas way up, you should be able to suspend the gas tax and still pull in the same tax revenue. The problem would be getting the oil companies to actually reduce the price at the pump instead of just pocketing the extra change. You know they would find some way to do that. I am still not sold on Obama. He should name Hillary VP but does not have the cajones. He reminds me of Carter which screams "Beware: terrible dissapointment and frustration lies ahead".

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

there is news now that there is an impending agreement to seat Michigan and one on the horizon to seat Florida at the Democratic Convention in Denver. People ar starting to come together in the Democratic Party and realize that they have more in common with the views of Clinton and Obama than with the Republican Party. It is time to come together and stop a war that is costing us $5000 a second,$300,000 a minute, $18million and hour. This is insane to be dropping that kind of money and killing our troops for What?It's not going to solve anything , but it could break this country if we don't come together for the Democratic nominee.

Posted by: majorteddy | May 8, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Considering the "wrong choices" Hillary Clinton has made during her campaign, it makes me convinced that she would continue to make the "wrong choices" for America as president.

Posted by: Ed30041 - Cumming, GA | May 8, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

The concept of HRC supporters supporting McCain is absolutely stupid. If it occurs then it proves large blocks of voters are indeed stupid, and these "moderate" democrats (who were supporting the more economically liberal candidate -- HRC), deserve what they get. More cushioning for Wall Street and less security for them. I, as a white educated person (who supports the Obama-man 100% despite his reluctance to wear a flag pin (gasp!)), and my family will be just fine economically if McCain wins.

Posted by: dood | May 8, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"Hillary has a good month ahead of her - the superdelegates know this - why if they plan on going with Obama in June - why do they want to wait the month?"

They don't want to boot her out of the race, they want a soft letdown, and they don't want to make it look like the Supers are deciding it- they want to make it abundantly clear that they are just confirming the vote of the people. One Clinton SD switched yesterday, many others are openly waivering, including Sens Feinstein, Schumer, and Mikulski in preparation for her to bow out after the primaries are over. In the meantime, expect Obama to continue to roll out 2-4 SDs a day to continue to expand his lead without trying to elbow Clinton out of the race. It's about unifying the party and transitioning from a bloody, hard fought campaing to a tone of reconciliation. If Clinton decides to fight harder and continue to bash Obama openly, then expect a SD tsunami, but not before then.

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/05/08/994659.aspx

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/05/08/obama_camp_plays_it_close_to_vest_on_tactics/

Posted by: kreuz_missile | May 8, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing some are so excited about NC primary.

What do you expect when Uncle Wright claims
"You are attacking black chuch"
This is BARELY public call on purpose
"You are not black enough"
For that, Uncle Wright deserves VP spot.

The primary SO FAR LEFT is
"The Emperor''s New Clothes"

Let us wait and laugh at end.

Posted by: jy2008 | May 8, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The Demise of Hillary Clinton

Who do you blame for the demise of Hillary Clinton's Democratic Nomination?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=2363


.

Posted by: Frank, Austin TX | May 8, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

whether voters saw through her proposal is not the issue. What her pushing the gas tax idea did was to allow Obama to change the message from Wright to another subject. Coincidentally it changed the subject back to something that was Clinton's weak spot her honesty. She should instead have just kept her mouth shut and the MSM would have continued to wallow in Wright mud up through election day.

Posted by: crazyv | May 8, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

It's clear that Obama has failed to gain a confirmation from the superdelegates during the months that the democratic party expected to have a nominee.


That is clear.


Obama has failed to broaden and widen his base - it looks much worse now.

Obama has failed in important demographics.

Obama's campaign has stalled about a mile from the finish line.


Obama's campaign has come up with its own math - Hillary can not get a majority without the superdelegates - the entire focus has been designed to mask that Obama does not have a majority.

The whole ides of stating that the superdelegates should follow the pledged delegates - that basically states there should not be any superdelegates, that they are not independent.


That is wrong - and again after consideration it leads one to the thought that Obama is in trouble with the superdelegates.

Hillary has a good month ahead of her - the superdelegates know this - why if they plan on going with Obama in June - why do they want to wait the month?

The whole Obama strategy of saying that the

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 8, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

It's clear that Obama has failed to gain a confirmation from the superdelegates during the months that the democratic party expected to have a nominee.


That is clear.


Obama has failed to broaden and widen his base - it looks much worse now.

Obama has failed in important demographics.

Obama's campaign has stalled about a mile from the finish line.


Obama's campaign has come up with its own math - Hillary can not get a majority without the superdelegates - the entire focus has been designed to mask that Obama does not have a majority.

The whole ides of stating that the superdelegates should follow the pledged delegates - that basically states there should not be any superdelegates, that they are not independent.


That is wrong - and again after consideration it leads one to the thought that Obama is in trouble with the superdelegates.

Hillary has a good month ahead of her - the superdelegates know this - why if they plan on going with Obama in June - why do they want to wait the month?

The whole Obama strategy of saying that the

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 8, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Her misfire was thinking she could win by just showing up. She ran one of the worst run campaigns in recent history and is now paying the price. There are no do overs. While we are on the subject.
Some may know this but the argument Clinton wants to spin about Florida votes counting because both were on the ballot doesn't hold water. What the fact is is, the ballot had a property tax initiative to change the state constitution one of the most important votes in years. With the hurricanes driving the insurance rates sky high and taxes tripling in just four years people turned out in force to vote. The problem is, they were older people and property owners and they made a primary vote even though it didn't count just because they were already there. In other words, Hillary got votes just by default. Young people who don't own homes or property, didn't bother to even go to the polls. They are a big part of what would have been Obamas voting base. He might as well not even have been on the ballot. The result is a falsehood and an illusion if you know the facts. Of course, Hillary never let a small thing like facts stand in the way. A revote would have been fair though and let the chips fall where they will, but that is no longer a possibility so we are just stuck with thing like they are.

Posted by: Florida voter | May 8, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

This discussion comes down to: what did you realistically expect Hillary to do in these two states?

I find the discussion a bit disconnected from reality actually.

North Carolina has a massive black population in the democratic primary electorate - with that one item, what did you expect Hillary to do ? Add in the college towns of the research triangle and again what did you expect Hillary to do ???

Indiana is similar - the northwest corner is in Obama's media market - there are many colleges all over the state - Many people have Chicago ties - whether by business or the families used to actually live in Chicago and have moved out to the suburbs or beyond.

Under these circumstances what did any realistic person expect from Hillary ??


I seriously do not believe that expecting her to get 55% in Indiana was realistic.


I believe she did much better than expected in North Carolina.


Obama is down to 37% of the white vote in North Carolina - that is not what David Axelrod promised.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | May 8, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Her misfire was thinking she could win by just showing up.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

My last post for the morning is a reference to "The Economist".

http://www.economist.com/daily/chartgallery/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11325132

If it does not open for you, the gist is that oil will cost $200/bbl by the end of 2008, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.

My take: 42 gallons of petroleum products in a bbl, no waste. The raw cost of the product coming out of the ground will be
200/42 = $4.86. $4.86 + shipping to the refinery + profit, refining + profit, shipping to the retailer + profit, retailing + tax + profit = @$6.00/gal at the pump. GOT IT?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 8, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I see Rex beat me to the point, early this AM. To call the gas tax proposal a misfire is to ignore all her prior misfires in this campaign.

Posted by: bsimon | May 8, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, JD.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 8, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

One more thing Mark - much of the state differences in gas price are not due to the tax, but due to the concept of 'zone pricing' that larger gas station chains follow. It's actually very pure pricing theory: charge more $ in areas where people can (and are willing to) pay it.

You see that a ton in border areas, ie lots of Calif plates lined up at Yuma gas stations, etc.

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Mark, you're right, the fed tax is something like 18.4 cents, not enough to make much of a difference. States vary a lot, I forget the actual numbers, something like 5 cents up to 55 cents/gal.

Again, I'm not sure what Hillary's (and McCain's) message is here: is she saying that Global Warming isn't an issue now, so we can increase incentives to drive more? If she wants to lower the price, the best thing she can do is allow drilling off shore and in Alaska.

(Or nuke India and China, to slake their thirst for the stuff)

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

The best thing about all of this is that most of the voters apparently saw through it. That's very encouraging.

Posted by: jac13 | May 8, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

JD, I had a question for you at 8:54A.

Could you take a look, pls?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 8, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, those evil oil companies. We need to put them all out of business.

Talk about pandering, Clinton...

Posted by: JD | May 8, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"Indiana media 'relentlessly hammered' Clinton's gas tax proposal -- using local economists to dismiss the merits of the plan. O'Bannon faced nowhere near the level of scrutiny and negative coverage back in 2000."- So, when a Democrat used the ploy against a Republican, the media accepted it unquestioningly, helping the Democrat's chances. Nice to know bias isn't limited to the national media.
-Wm Tate,
http://www.atimelikethis.us/

Posted by: Wm Tate | May 8, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Now that she doesn't need the talking point you won't hear he mention the gas tax again. Anyone who gave her their vote based on that I hope now know they got suckered.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I would like to think the voters weren't fooled by the gas tax issue, but the evidence Chris offers isn't convincing to me. Jerome Armstrong at MyDD (http://www.mydd.com/) posts some interesting data on how late-deciding voters chose candidates. Almost 20% say they made up their minds in the last three days, when the gas tax issue was particularly hot, and 58% of those went for Clinton. That's not decisive, as late-deciding voters have tended to go for Clinton throughout the primaries, but it certainly offers no evidence that the gas tax hurt her with voters making up their minds when it was most in the news.

Posted by: santamonicamr | May 8, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

It was a stupid and silly idea and no way to discuss serious poilcy ideas on energy planning. But don't forget, the 1st one with this asine idea was none other than Mr. Straight Talk, John McCain. I thougt his brand was suppose to tell the voters the hard truth and not to pander. We now know he is just another pandering politician who will do anything to win. What's next John, a new idea to get out of Iraq the first 30 days of your administration?

Posted by: bhoomes | May 8, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

A policy wonk indeed.

Seems that slagged lower income blue collar worker is not a monolithic group after all....just like that oft mentioned groups named "african american".

Wonder why I havent heard a dissection of this outrageous proposal (gas tax removal) and her equally outrageous suggestion that somehow she (she wouldnt have been in the WH this summer) was going to have the oil companies pay for it.

My confusion: How was she going to accomplish this? Through legislation presumably. Was she going to have the Republicans in both houses just sit idly by and allow that to happen? Might there have been a legal pushback by the oil companies? And in the meantime...have roads and infratructure suffer? Even as a liberal myself, I find the proposal not just pandering and economically unsound...but on a certain level decidedly unAmerican.

Posted by: Ohillary | May 8, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

It was a stupid and silly idea and no way to discuss serious poilcy ideas on energy planning. But don't forget, the 1st one with this asine idea was none other than Mr. Straight Talk, John McCain. I thougt his brand was suppose to tell the voters the hard truth and not to pander. We now know he is just another pandering politician who will do anything to win. What's next John, a new idea to get out of Iraq the first 30 days of your administration?

Posted by: bhoomes | May 8, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Folks in other countries aren't feeling our pain at the pump -- because their currencies are still worth something. The reason these prices are hitting us so hard is that the dollar is almost worthless against other currencies. And why is that?

"The Iraq war, says economist Joseph Stiglitz, is "the first U.S. war financed entirely on credit." When the war started, the Bush administration said it would cost no more than $60 billion. But the U.S. budget was already in deficit, so the administration had to borrow money to finance the invasion. About 40 percent of the money was borrowed from China and other international investors---the first time since the Revolutionary War that foreigners financed a U.S. war. At the same time, the administration and Congress lowered taxes instead of raising them, as is customary in wartime. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates low, which encouraged middle-class Americans to go on a consumption binge financed by credit cards and home-equity loans.

Today, say Stiglitz and other economists, the bills for the country's spending spree are starting to come due, in the form of higher prices, a weakened dollar, and lower living standards. "There's no such thing as a free war," Stiglitz said. "The U.S.---and the world---will be paying the price for decades to come."

Contractors hired to rebuild the country's infrastructure or provide security have overcharged the U.S. for everything from soft drinks---$45 a can---to gasoline. Millions of dollars in no-bid reconstruction contracts were diverted to things such as Super Bowl tickets, prostitutes, watches, and jewelry. And much of the reconstruction work has been substandard. ... "This became the lens through which Iraqis now see America---incompetence, profiteering, arrogance," said House Democrat Henry Waxman of California, a vocal critic of the war.'

$45 a can for soda -- man, the war profiteers are gouging us good. that is a symbol for everything this war REALLY stands for.

Posted by: drindl | May 8, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

There is no actual 'savings' -- that is the joke. It's just more borrowing, postponing critical infrastructure repairs. The money has to come from somewhere and sooner or later taxpayers will pay it, unless you just want to give up on the idea of having roads and bridges. Meanwhile, we have to borrow for things that can't wait, and that entails interest on the loan, doesn't it? So it all ends up costing us MORE.

It's all just so Bushian. The usual pandering and smoke and mirrors while doing nothing to address the underlying problem -- the price of a barrel of oil is going up every day and there is, my friends, no ceiling.

Posted by: drindl | May 8, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Howard, it speaks to the difference between honesty and pandering. Keep it up.

Posted by: FlownOver | May 8, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Making a proposal is not so evil.
At least it starts the debate.
Debate about gas pricing and related issues is healthy.
The final solution will not be a simplistic tax equation and it wont come soley from a bunch of talking heads.
Conservation.
Alternative energy.
Energy taxes or tax incentives.
etc etc.

Kudos to Clinton for at least acknowledging the pain at the pump.

Posted by: hhkeller | May 8, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

8:42 anonymous, you think that was a success? The tax went down by $.05, and prices went down by $.02. So 60% of the savings were passed on to the consumer, and 40% went to the oil companies.

This shows how terrible an idea the gas tax holiday is. Even if the full 18.4 cents were passed on to consumers, the actual amount saved would be minimal. But if only 60% is passed on, that's $.11 per gallon. And meanwhile, the oil companies would get even more money, as they raise prices by $.07.

As shown in Illinois, reducing the gas tax is a terrible way to save people money. The savings are minimal, and much of the price reduction disappears before it reaches the consumer. Your attempt to defend the Clinton/McCain tax plan shows just how bad an idea it is.

Posted by: Blarg | May 8, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

JD, judging by the fuel price differential in the states, which is largely attributable to varying state motor fuel taxes, I am guessing that a state tax "holiday" might be more effective in lowering pump prices than a federal one. Am I correct?

I am not addressing the silliness of selecting to suspend a truly earmarked tax, which you have spoken to here before.

I am just trying to get clear on the difference in probable effect of a state tax "holiday".

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 8, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

"The second major reason that Howey believes Clinton didn't gain the upper hand on the issue in Indiana that she had expected is Sen. Dick Lugar's (R-Ind.) activism on energy issues over the last few years."

My favorite Senator is now 75 and while he could be Senator for life in IN, he should be on BHO's short list for SecState. He has a PhD, as I recall, he really understands foreign policy, his personal relationship with BHO is good, and he opens a safe R Senate seat to D competition if he serves in BHO's Cabinet. My guess is the only reason he might not serve is if he would rather stay in the Senate, not some perceived disagreement on overall FP with BHO.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 8, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Chris -

What neither of you 'Hoosiers' pointed out is that O'Bannon almost bankrupted the state and the poor state of Indiana's coffers ended up killing the re-election campaign of Gov. K after O'Bannon. In fact My Man I wish I could Ditch Mitch sold half the state just to get Indiana in some type of fiscal balance.

Hoosiers know how much the gas tax holiday cost the state and Hoosier Democrats know how much it cost the party. They also noticed it didn't make a dent in the price of gas, when gas was reasonable, it no longer is.

I had been pointing out the O'Bannon tax plan all week on IndyStar, but they did not write one article. I guess the way Gov. O'Bannon left office makes him untouchable, even if he made a mistake before he passed.

Posted by: Trey | May 8, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"While an Illinois state senator, Obama supported a state tax holiday very much like Clinton's proposal, but without the saving mechanism of a windfall profits tax
CBS News says Obama voted for the temporary lifting of the tax three times in the state Senate. The tax holiday was finally approved during a special session in June of 2000, when Illinois motorists were furious that gas prices had just topped $2 a gallon in Chicago. The moratorium lifted the state's 5 percent sales tax on gasoline through the end of 2000."

"Obama told constituents that gasoline prices would drop: "Gas retailers must post on each pump a statement that indicates that the state tax has been suspended and that this temporary elimination of the tax should be reflected in the price per gallon of gas."
During one state Senate floor debate, Obama joked that he wanted signs on gas pumps in his district to say, "Senator Obama reduced your gasoline prices."
But Obama is wrong. He did not learn this lesson. In fact, the only scientific study done on the pass-through of the tax holiday savings to Illinois consumers (and those in Indiana, as well, whose citizens enjoyed a similar holiday) found that it actually worked to a large extent.
The study is titled "$2.00 Gas! Studying the Effects of a Gas Tax Moratorium," by Joseph J. Doyle Jr. and Krislert Samphantharak. Download the PDF here. The authors concluded that "the suspension of the 5% sales tax led to decreases in retail prices of 3% compared to neighboring states. And when the tax was reinstated, retail prices rose by roughly 4%."

"This suggests that the tax holiday delivered at least 60 percent of the tax savings to motorists."

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/05/06/gas_tax/index.html?source=newsletter

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse


To fellow Obama supporters...

PLEASE DON'T GLOAT

I know it's hard. And you know there are going to be very few crossovers from Hillary to McBush. But gloating, no matter how good it makes you feel after all the nepotism, lies, and pandering of the HillBilly coronation bid is not productive. Hillary has been getting the uneducated, chicken-in-every-pot vote. People who could go for Hillary are apparatchniks. Hang back, don't rile them up. Wait for their party bosses to tell them which way the wind blows.

OBAMA 08

Posted by: Mr judgment | May 8, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Countdown to Victory
It halftime at the SUPER BOWL
172 to Nomimation Obama
488 Delegates remain 264 Supers

Go Obama

Posted by: delgate math | May 8, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

The problem wasn't only that the gas tax holiday was a bad idea, but it reeked of desperation. Voters know pandering when they see it. Of course, some people like being pandered to!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

VAMMAP -

Obama told Russert on MTP last Sunday that he had, indeed, supported the gas-tax holiday in the IL legislature -- and that it turned out to be a mistake that he learned from and did not want to repeat. (That's one of the things I like about this guy; he has a very un-politician-like willingness to admit when he's been wrong.)

As for whither HRC's supporters, none of us really knows what they will do, but I don't think an exit poll in the heat of the primary campaign is all that great a predictor. When the general election battle is joined and, to cite one example, HRC's pro-choice women supporters are reminded of McCain's promise to put more Roberts/Alito, Roe-v-Wade reversing justices on the SCOTUS (Stevens will be 88 when the next president takes office), there's no way they'll either vote for him or stay home.

I suspect that, as with me if HRC were the nominee, they'll trudge to the polls, hold their noses, and vote Democratic.

(HRC could help, by the way, if she would end her campaign soon and really get behind Obama.)

Posted by: jac13 | May 8, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Look at Rasmussen's latest polling on the Gas Tax Holiday. Clinton's base supported it; Obama's higher income base didn't. Women supported it more than men. Senator Obama actually supported gas taxes before he opposed them in the IL legislature when gas was $2 gal. So, he was appealing to his base, and she was appealing to hers. The media made good use of this issue to change the tone and take the pressure off him. Republicans will dredge it all back up and more. It will be interesting to see if he can weather the partial loss of her base. Already read about a WAPO reporter doing an article on how many of her supporters will vote McCain in November. These are moderate Dems, Reagan Dems who won't vote for him.

Posted by: VAMMAP | May 8, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I haven't heard Hillary offering Obama the Vice Presidency lately......

Posted by: George | May 8, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Most people who did any research on it understood there was a very good chance that any savings would not be passed along to them. The refiners or retailers could very easily pocket the difference unless they were legally mandated not to. I don't beleive either Hillary or McCain made a move to do that, so the whole idea was a meaningless stunt.

Posted by: drindl | May 8, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I agree on both levels - most voters saw through the gimmick and BHO escaped Rev. Wright, as jac13 here, and, yesterday, Proud have noted.
---------------------------
KSVA - bsimon and I had chided McC and HRC to actually draft bills, but mnteng then researched the matter at "Thomas" and found they each HAD submitted bills.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | May 8, 2008 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

There were other effects of the gas-tax-holiday proposal, perhaps more subtle but no less important. First, Clinton unwittingly changed the subject from Jeremiah Wright and got the media -- and probably voters -- thinking and talking about something else. Second, she gave Obama a chance to draw one of the few material distinctions we've seen between these two during the whole campaign. Third, Obama used the issue to demonstrate that he meant what he said about telling the truth, even if it was unpopular.

Clinton underestimated voters' ability to see her proposal for the phony gimmick that it was, and worse, the polls showed that many voters knew they were being pandered to.

That's politics for ya -- you never know where a boost is going to come from, but often it's from your opponent! Thanks for the gift, Hil!

Posted by: jac13 | May 8, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

That's exactly who the Democrats should nominate, a candidate who panders both blatantly and ineffectually!

Posted by: aleks | May 8, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

The obvious difference is that O'Bannon actually gave a tax holiday. Clinton only talks about it. If she really thought it was a good idea, "something she would work hard to accomplish," she would have presented it in the Senate. Everyone can see it's only political pandering.

Posted by: Obvious | May 8, 2008 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm biased because I've spent my fair share of time in Australia... but this political blog is pretty on the money...

http://thepoliticalstory.com/

(thanks to the Fix poster who put the link up in a previous spot... his blog on Limbaugh owing him $200 and Obama owing Limbaugh the Presidency is both funny and makes a good point)


Posted by: Boutan | May 8, 2008 6:27 AM | Report abuse

It seems that her whole campaign was a misfire. She should now bow out as gracefully as is possible for a Clinton and get behind her party!

Posted by: Rex | May 8, 2008 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, it *IS* a gimmick. Clinton can't pass it on her own, by fiat, and even if she could it would take months to implement. Has she actually introduced a bill to that effect?

Posted by: KSVA | May 8, 2008 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Another reason may be that the previous "tax holiday" didn't lower gas prices significantly. It _was_ a political game. Senator Obama pointed this out, using his own experiences in Illinois at the same time as an example. Voters in Indiana knew this fact: the oil companies use "tax holidays" to increase their profit margins. Until there is federal legislative action to curb oil companies' windfall profits and lower the price at the tank in parallel with lowering excise taxes on gasoline, this "gas tax holiday" idea is a "smoke-and-mirrors" trick - one which the voters of Indiana and elsewhere will see through.

Posted by: Tom | May 8, 2008 5:56 AM | Report abuse

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