Friday, April 28, 2006

Gas Hypocrisy

Our legislators yesterday put on a show of endorsing the conservation of fossil fuels at local Capitol Hill gas stations. Senate Democrats blamed Republicans for high gasoline prices, while House Republicans gathered around a hydrogen-powered van as a fossil fuel alternative. In both cases, once the event was over, the pontificating lawmakers drove back to their offices - only a few blocks away - in gas guzzling automobiles. House Speaker Dennis Hastert had the most embarrassing incident.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.), along with other top House Republicans, was photographed in and around the snappy blue General Motors HydroGen 3 van....

Hastert, who appeared to have walked to the station, left in the very fuel-efficient vehicle, apparently headed for his office. But he went only a block or so before he got out and stepped into his pre-positioned gas-guzzling armored SUV to take him back to his office. Alert photographers, suspecting a ploy, had followed the speaker and captured the bait-and-switch.

Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean , showing why he deserves a raise, explained that Hastert "wanted to ride the van" -- really he did -- "to show his commitment to new energy-efficient vehicles."

The problem, Bonjean said, was that Hastert's security detail wouldn't have it. Way too dangerous. Perhaps the security folks thought the vehicle was related to the ill-fated Hindenburg?

In any event, "the security officials demanded that he ride in the much more secure armored SUV," Bonjean said.

The truth is, lawmakers think nothing of wasting fuel because everything they do is paid, either by the government or by the lobbyists who entertain them and fly them around from one place to another on private jets. Perhaps stripping away this cocoon would lead to more responsible policies.

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