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By Robert Rapier on May 2, 2008 with no responses

Befuddled by Our Oil Dependence

In a different context, this might be funny:

Lawmakers being forced to give up gas-guzzling cars

WASHINGTON — Rep. Elton Gallegly of Simi Valley likes his taxpayer-funded Ford Expedition. He isn’t worried that it’s not the most fuel-efficient car. It’s reliable, suits his mountainous district and is cheaper to lease than many other vehicles.

“It’s not a Cadillac. It’s not a Lincoln. It’s a Ford,” the Republican congressman said with exasperation.

But like it or not, Gallegly and other lawmakers will have to give up gas-hungry SUVs and luxury sedans for leased vehicles that are more eco-correct, such as Toyota’s Prius.

And some are in a high-octane fit about it.

That this is even a contentious issue is a sad commentary on our elected officials. Don’t these people work for us? Haven’t we heard endless speeches about the need to reduce our dependence on oil? Sure, that’s all fine and good until God forbid our politicians are asked to make “sacrifices” like this.

The requirement was sought by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), who figured that if his colleagues were serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and U.S. dependence on foreign oil, they ought to put their foot where their mouth is.

Cleaver does. His taxpayer-funded Ford Econoline, a recycled airport shuttle he uses as a mobile office, runs on cooking grease. But he’s heard grumbling from colleagues.

“They want their Lexuses and their Cadillacs,” he said. “I just think it’s a poor example for us to spend so much time talking about energy independence and global warming and presenting to the people an image of fat cats living the fat life.”

Hear, hear! But they still don’t get it:

A number of lawmakers scoffed at the requirement, saying that forcing them into less-polluting vehicles would do almost nothing to affect climate change, and suggested that Congress could take more significant action to reduce oil imports.

Poor things. Congress has been asked to make this little sacrifice (can you even call this a sacrifice?), but they don’t think it will have any impact. The thing is – THAT’S WHAT EVERYONE THINKS! That’s a big reason we have a problem. Nobody wants to sacrifice, nobody wants to accept responsibility, nobody is willing to lead. Far better to blame an enemy – oil companies, OPEC, environmentalists, illegal immigrants – anyone but the consumer for the present situation. That way, politicians don’t have to sacrifice (after all, one explained that she is 6 feet tall and thus needs her Lincoln Town Car), and can take “more significant action” like sueing OPEC, declaring a gas tax holiday, and slapping windfall profits on the oil companies.

They may scoff, but they are our political leaders. They need to set an example and stop acting like the rules don’t apply to them.