Saturday, December 21, 2013

138.2 - Clown Award: Paul Rantin'

Clown Award: Paul Rantin'

Now it's time for the Clown Award, given as always for meritorious stupidity.

This time the stupid is wrapped up in a nice package of "Say what?" Our winner of the big red nose this week is that dashing darling of fiscal foolishness, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Rantin'.

Speaking on the right-wing Hugh Hewitt radio program on Tuesday, Rantin' raised the possibility of demanding that the White House approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline as a condition for raising or suspending the debt ceiling. First, let's just take a moment to remember what the Keystone XL pipeline is. This is a proposed pipeline to carry tar sands from Canada to refineries in Texas, tar sands being about the dirtiest, most polluting way of getting oil that there is.

Now let's take another moment to remember what's involved with the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is the limit placed on how much money the government can borrow through the sale of Treasury bonds and so on. Raising the ceiling does not create more debt; rather, it enables the government to have the means to pay the bills for the things Congress has already approved. Not raising the debt ceiling means the government being unable to pay its bills meaning potentially defaulting on its debts, meaning the cost of future borrowing is much higher assuming you can get buyers for your bonds.

Okay, with that in mind, back for more Rantin'. This is what he told Hewitt:
We’ve never just done nothing. We want to make sure that we’re taking steps in the direction of fiscal conservatism, of fiscal responsibility. I, for one, think we need to do more in the energy sector. I believe we need to approve Keystone pipeline. We need to produce regulatory certainties to all this private capital that develops this energy boon. We could be an energy independent continent within a decade if we stop the government from stopping it from happening. If we just get the government out of the way, it could be a real renaissance of oil and gas exploration in America, lower our gas prices, stop sending this money to foreign countries.
This is actually a big comedown from the right wing's glory days: They would really prefer to force cuts and changes in Medicare or Social Security or preferably both as a price for raising the debt ceiling, but they've figured out that just ain't gonna fly. So they're setting their sights a good deal lower, at a target the White House has already been suspected by environmentalists of favoring.

Okay, but where's the stupid? It's right there in the middle of the blather: "We could be an energy independent continent within a decade if we stop the government from stopping it from happening."

Yep, just "get the government out of the way!" It'll be "a renaissance of oil and gas exploration." And pudding for everyone!

First, the Keystone XL pipeline doesn't have a single thing to do with energy independence: The oil that would be refined in Texas would be shipped out to be sold overseas. There's the reason the proposed pipeline goes to a port, people!

Second, "get the government out of the way?" What, government like in the EPA? Have you looked at China recently?

But here's the real thing: Really? You want us to drill even more, become even more dependent on fossil fuels? Really?

Even in the face of all the scientific evidence of global warming, including more bizarre weather like snow in Cairo for the first time in over 100 years?

Even in the face of, coupled with that, the news that last month was, worldwide, the hottest November in at least 133 years?

That doesn't mean anything to you, Paulie? That doesn't give you pause in your desire to see more drilling, more oil, more gas, more pollution, more waste, more profits for Exxon and the rest, more more more?

I thought not. You really, really are a clown.


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