Monday, August 4, 2008

Udall's Day Off--The Feature



And that voice vote? Looks like Steny Hoyer did a little damage control favor for Rep. Udall.

Broken promises.

28 comments:

Curious Stranger said...

No supporting actor credit for Republican Whip Roy Blunt? Apparently this was a "very immediate crisis" and he didn't show for the vote. Isn't he in charge of keeping track of these sorts of things? And he did manage to show up 10 minutes later. "One Vote Counts" right? Or does that only apply to Udall?

It would appear this "outrage" is entirely manufactured by the Republican leadership to give Schaffer and his supporters something to punch at. Maybe Blunt should get a director credit?

el presidente said...

Once again, for the slow learners among us, who exactly made the campaign pledge to vote on the RESOLUTION?

Udall? Or Blunt?

Are you suggesting that the GOP leadership knew the outcome in advance (which would be difficult, since the Dems are in power)?

Udall made a pledge. He decided to attend fundraisers. He missed the vote on the resolution, which just happened to be 213-212.

Sucks to be Udall.

Curious Stranger said...

Roy Blunt, the House Republican Whip, the man in charge of making sure Republican members make it to the floor to vote, didn't make it to the floor to vote, but did 10 minutes later for the next vote. It is, in fact, the Whip's job to have a very good idea of the outcome in advance. So, he either missed it by accident, in which case he is *at least* as responsible as Udall for the passage of the resolution, or he planned it, to set up a strawman for you all.

And as far as I'm aware, Roy Blunt pledged to represent his constituents. This generally includes showing up for votes. You don't need to take a specific pledge to be expected to vote. Hate to be Blunt.

el presidente said...

There were 10 who missed the vote, 6 Dems including Udall, and 4 Republicans.

Udall made a pledge, and failed to vote, as did 5 other Dems. They all should be faulted, but that's not what were talking about, now, is it?

Blunt missed the vote so therefore Udall is off the hook.

Nice try.

Chaz said...

I for one agree with Curious Stranger and will not be voting for Udall or Blunt. I'll let the MO voters worry about Blunt.

I'm very concerned that someone who is trying to win my vote (in Colorado) can't make a simple vote during the campaign. Udall should stop talking about listening to the people and being their voice and actually speak up (by voting) in his current elected position.

Curious Stranger said...

So the fact that this whole controversy was manufactured by the House Republican leadership doesn't bother you? It doesn't undercut everything they're (and you're) saying about how important it was that Udall vote and that the House not adjourn? Or did you not get that context from my comments?

Ben DeGrow said...

Yes, even in the minority, the House Republicans are so powerful that they manufactured Mark Udall's fundraisers that kept him away from doing his job in D.C., and even manipulated Speaker Nancy Pelosi into avoiding debate on the energy bill and into scheduling the vote on the adjournment resolution. Wow!

Chaz said...

No, you are mis-understanding the context I think. Udall was adamant in the debate that he believed that energy is the most important topic to Coloradans, he then committed to a vote. His failure to vote (whether it was a critical vote or not) paints a picture of his priorities.

Usually politicians wait until after the election to ignore promises, Udall had a very easy opportunity to show that he is a man who will be the voice of Colorado, his failure to vote is more about his integrity than the vote.

The House Republicans didn't manufacture Udall's commitment, nor did they manufacture his absence from the floor when it came time to vote. (Though I bet they wish they could have!)

There may be some hype over the importance of the vote, but I'm not sure it is reasonable to blame them for pointing out that his actions differ from his words. A family emergency or a delayed flight might be a good excuse, but his best campaign move would have been to "vote as the voice of the people" not stay in Colorado to collect more money.

Udall has consistently tried to make a case that Schaffer's approach to energy is designed to make greedy oil men rich. His skipping a vote to attend a fund raiser doesn't help separate him from "the politics of money"

Curious Stranger said...

"Yes, even in the minority, the House Republicans are so powerful that they manufactured Mark Udall's fundraisers that kept him away from doing his job in D.C., and even manipulated Speaker Nancy Pelosi into avoiding debate on the energy bill and into scheduling the vote on the adjournment resolution. Wow!"

I know you're playing dumb here, but I'll oblige you and explain how they manufactured this controversy over the House adjourning rather than dealing with gas prices.

Roy Blunt waited to see if Mark Udall was going to make the vote. When he didn't, Blunt did the math and made his decision to not vote in order to make it appear as if Udall's not voting had made the difference. In fact, Blunt's conscious decision to not vote is what made the difference. Udall did not make a conscious decision not to vote, Blunt did. In making that decision, Blunt reveals that the House Republican leadership cares more about putting Udall in a political bind than it does about actually solving problems. This whole #dontgo nonsense is entirely the result of Blunt not voting. If the House Republican Leadership actually *wanted* the House to stay in session to solve the problem of gas prices, Blunt would have voted against adjournment. They don't want to solve problems, they want to put on a dog and pony show.

Ben seems to think that's ok and just the status quo. I agree that it's the status quo, but I don't agree that that is ok.

Ben DeGrow said...

I don't know if what you're writing about Blunt is true or not, but for the sake of argument let's say it is true. Is it any better or worse than Mark Udall's (or Nancy Pelosi et al's) ongoing rhetorical populist posturing about gas prices? Don't forget: the Dems are in charge. All they have done is rail against "Big Oil" companies to make themselves look like they care about average people, while obstructing policies that might help them.

At least the Republicans are proposing sound, workable solutions. You're really grasping at straws, CS.

Chaz said...

I don't like anyone playing politics with a vote... Republican or Democrat, but the facts still remain the same. Udall made a commitment and didn't follow through.

Let's just say that Blunt had voted and the adjournment was defeated. It still doesn't change the implications of Udall not showing up for the vote. Udall said again and again that the energy "crisis" is an important issue... his vote to stay in session and work through the issue would have shown that he really believes it.

He said that he listens to coloradans, well, Coloradans want Congress to work through the Energy issue. Udall was silent when he had a chance to speak for Colorado. The outcome of the vote is less important (during an election), than Udall showing that he will follow through with his commitments.

Curious Stranger said...

"Let's just say that Blunt had voted and the adjournment was defeated. It still doesn't change the implications of Udall not showing up for the vote. Udall said again and again that the energy "crisis" is an important issue... his vote to stay in session and work through the issue would have shown that he really believes it."

chaz, Udall did vote against adjournment, later in the week during the actual motion to adjourn the House. You don't have to believe me - go look for yourself. You, of course, don't hear about that on this site. Instead, you hear that that vote wasn't important - you hear that the important vote, the one purposefully sabotaged by House Republican Whip Roy Blunt, was earlier in the week, on the concurrent resolution with the Senate to adjourn. Nonesense! That concurrent resolution says:

"Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That when the House adjourns on the legislative day of Thursday, July 31, 2008, Friday, August 1, 2008, or Saturday, August 2, 2008, on a motion offered pursuant to this concurrent resolution by its Majority Leader or his designee, it stand adjourned [...]"

Emphasis added by me. The House was not adjourned until that motion was voted on. Udall voted no on that motion. 15 Republicans, including our own Tom Tancredo, didn't show up for that vote and 2 actually voted for it. Had these Republicans voted No, it would not have passed and the House would not have adjourned.

This is all a show. If the House Republican leadership didn't want to adjourn, they had two opportunities to stop it. They purposefully chose not to, so they could trot out the dog and pony show going on now.

And Ben, the post we're commenting on doesn't contain a movie about rhetorical populist posturing about gas pricing. It contains a movie, a work of fiction, about the importance of a missed vote on adjournment that, in fact, was not missed.

Ben DeGrow said...

Never mind that Steny Hoyer rigged the 2nd vote to be recorded - when it is almost exclusively done as a voice vote - to posture on behalf of Mark Udall. Maybe the Republicans who didn't show up knew that the 2nd vote was indeed meaningless since it's usually done as a voice vote, and the Democrat majority was going to push it through after the first vote Mark Udall missed.

Meanwhile, your self-righteous and willful blindness concerning your beloved Democratic Party borders on the ludicrous.

Re your last paragraph, should I ignore everything you write in a comment that isn't specifically addressed in the post above? What a transparent way to dodge the question and sacrifice your own credibility.

You must be feeling the pain of supporting a Party that happens to be wrong and out of touch on this particular issue, and the public is taking notice. I kind of feel sorry for you -- knowing that Republicans have justly taken their lumps in the past, too.

To paraphrase one of your favorite groups, it's time to move on.

Curious Stranger said...

Ben, clearly the flavor of the week here and everywhere Bob Schaffer roams is the ridiculous attempt to hold Udall accountable for doing exactly what he said he'd do. I understand you might get tired of peddling the same silliness over and over, but don't blame me. Blame your friends over at Shaffer HQ. Perhaps they're the ones that should move on. I'm not the one filling your blog's front page with this nonsense.

If you really want to debate energy policy, I'll be happy to do that, as soon as I see an actual post up here thoughtfully considering energy policy. The only thing I've seen on here about energy in the last month is this exact dog and pony show I'm calling out as a dog and pony show.

How about we start with the fact that gas prices are coming down because the high prices have caused folks to modify their behavior. As a free-market loving conservative, I'm sure you'll agree that the answer to a supply shortage with no near-term supply increases available is to reduce demand. Off-shore drilling is not a near-term supply increase. If it was, why haven't the oil companies taken advantage of all of their currently unused offshore leases to take advantage of the high prices? Similarly, oil shale is not a near-term supply increase. The techniques have not proven themselves. More extraction of currently untapped/unexplored non-renewable resources is not a short-term solution that will impact consumers at the pump anytime during the next President's administration. Even then, they are non-renewable, so the 10 years invested in developing good extraction techniques will be wasted when the resources run out - or are you one of those "God makes oil so it will never run out" guys? Those 10 years are better spent developing renewable resources which can sustain us indefinitely.

I'd love to see some substance here Ben, there's unfortunately little of it.

Curious Stranger said...

Incidentally, Steny Hoyer didn't *rig* anything. Any vote can be recorded. And if you go back and look *before* the 110th Congress (something your linkee didn't bother doing) you'll find that it's really not that unusual to call voice votes on adjournment, especially in the summers before elections when contentious issues get brought up for a dog and pony show.

Curious Stranger said...

"Maybe the Republicans who didn't show up knew that the 2nd vote was indeed meaningless since it's usually done as a voice vote"

Guess it pays to actually show up, as you seem keen to point out for Udall and excuse in Republicans.

Hey, maybe that's why Udall didn't show up on Wednesday. As your poorly-researched linkee pointed out, resolutions and motions to adjourn never are voice votes! Excuse the sarcasm, the inconsistencies are too delicious to eat just one.

Curious Stranger said...

Oops. By voice vote above I meant recorded vote.

Jim_C said...

CS,

Reduced demand is only one reason that prices have gone down. The main reason is that President Bush lifted the executive ban on offshore drilling signaling to other oil producing countries and speculators that we are willing to go after our own supplies... In other words raising supply rather than lowering demand.

Secondly, why should we be forced to lower our demand when we have access to further supply? All that does is hurt the US to the benefit of countries like China and India who will not lower their demand for oil.

Finally, the idea that we will not see any of the oil we drill for on the OCS or extract from oil shale is patently false. There are a number of experts who say that we can have oil out of the ground and in the market within 1 year if we pursue oil off the coast of California.

Jim C

Curious Stranger said...

"
Secondly, why should we be forced to lower our demand when we have access to further supply? All that does is hurt the US to the benefit of countries like China and India who will not lower their demand for oil.
"

Because its in our interest to be prepared in 10 years when those resources run out? If not, we're asking for conflict over the remaining resources.

"
Finally, the idea that we will not see any of the oil we drill for on the OCS or extract from oil shale is patently false
"

What do those same experts say about all the leases the oil companies currently have and aren't drilling on? What did they say before they got those leases that they aren't currently using? If they're not using the land we've already given them, why do we need to give them more?

Ben DeGrow said...

CS,

You're setting up a false dichotomy. Drilling to increase oil supply (10 years is the low-end estimate by the way of how long it will last) can be done in addition to other energy projects. You don't answer the objection.

Perhaps the experts might say the areas where they have leases aren't profitable for drilling or exploration, and the areas where it is profitable have been made off-limits.

Nice try with your sophistic arguments allegedly based on free market principles. There's nothing wrong with conservation, but it can't be the only solution. We need to reduce - if not eliminate - energy subsidies across the board and unleash entrepreneurship that will both discover the great, efficient renewable energy resource and also will tide us over on oil and natural gas in the meantime.

Supply and demand, my friend. Supply and demand.

Curious Stranger said...

"Perhaps the experts might say the areas where they have leases aren't profitable for drilling or exploration, and the areas where it is profitable have been made off-limits."

But we were sold the exact same bill of goods we're being sold now when they were given those leases. If they're not profitable for drilling or exploration with oil at record highs, give the land back, and then maybe they can have some new leases, provided a guarantee that they will produce energy from them within x number of years or return them.

And, like I said before, no new leases - offshore, oil shale, ANWR, wherever - will produce any significant amount of oil for years. Oil's not a short term solution, it's not a long term solution. Why should we continue giving away land to the oil companies?

Why don't we give those offshore leases to folks working on tidal power instead? It's a much better investment since it will be providing power until the moon goes away.

"There's nothing wrong with conservation, but it can't be the only solution"

Who said it's the only solution? Wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, nuclear (provided ways to handle waste) are all resources that should be further explored because they pretty much last forever. Most everyone agrees that oil won't. Why should we continue investing taxpayers money in it?

"We need to reduce - if not eliminate - energy subsidies across the board"

I assume by this you're referring to the ridiculously low prices oil companies pay for their leases? I agree 100%! If they had to pay "market" rates (whatever those might be) for their land they wouldn't be sitting on so much of it and the taxpayers wouldn't be putting so much money in the oil companies pockets.

Curious Stranger said...

Oh, and to follow up on House Republican Whip Roy Blunt - the man responsible for making sure Republicans make it to the floor to vote - his reasons for missing the vote are now known - he didn't know when the vote was going to be!

"{Updated: Both Jeff and myself (and I confirmed with a phone call) have been notified that Rep Blunt had been attending a lunch hosted by Paul Weyrich; that he had had no more than 15 or 30 minutes' notice; that this is not the first time that this sort of thing has happened; and that he would have voted against adjournment if he had been able to get there. I accept this explanation, and have removed him from the list. - Moe Lane}"

Interestingly, all those other House Republicans - who Blunt would have been responsible for notifying about the vote - made it to the floor. Call me a bit more skeptical about this explanation than the willfully naive crowd over at Red State.

Chaz said...

May be getting of track on the Senate race, but can anyone tell me if Udall supports Obamas energy plan?

Obamas plan seems to be based on federal funding (raising taxes?) for developing new technologies and putting more regulations on the energy producers (setting quotas on forms of energy).

Does he support lifting restrictions on energy producers to develop the most efficient methods available? (efficient defined by industry not politicians)

Curious Stranger said...

"Does he support lifting restrictions on energy producers to develop the most efficient methods available? (efficient defined by industry not politicians)"

If "he" means Obama, he clearly has a preference for renewable sources, for the reasons I've been laying out. That being said, it doesn't get much more efficient than solar and wind power. More investment in non-renewable resources is flushing money down the t-oil-et.

Read his plan here

Udall similarly wants to encourage renewable use, and sees a fantastic opportunity for Colorado to be a leader in an economy developed around them.

His plan is here.

Chaz said...

I think you missed my question. I re-read Udalls position to make sure I didn't miss anything and it still seems that Udall (and Obama) only supports two things when it comes to energy. 1) Regulating energy producers and mandating quotas be met, and 2) beefing up spending for gov research on renewable energy.

It appears that he doesn't support helping industry by opening up options or providing incentives for them to develop technologies. It seems like more regulations and bigger government to me.

Am I missing something?

Curious Stranger said...

The second point in Obama's plan:

"Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future."

Emphasis added by me. That's not bigger government.

I'm not sure where you're getting the "more regulation" from. If you're referring to the cap-and-trade system, that's a market solution, not "quotas". If you're referring to the goal of 10% renewable sources, I'd say that's a goal, not a quota, and an extremely low bar to set at that - we could, and should do much better if we want to break Venezuela and Company's hold on us.

As for Udall, he mentions on his energy page that he wants to better fund NREL, but that doesn't mean "bigger government", it means a hub for a renewable energy economy in Colorado that will (and already has) spawned private businesses. He was a supporter of Amendment 37 which set a 10% mandate for renewable source. In 2007 he sponsored an amendment to an energy bill that would have set a similar 15% renewable mandate (4% of which could come from efficiency improvements). The bill didn't make it past the Senate though. As I mentioned above though, this is a very low bar to set.

Chaz said...

Good information, thank you. I didn't catch the Obama statement about investing 150 billion. I'm interested in how he would distribute the money, but I like the idea.

As far as big government and regulations, how do you think we monitor these "mandates" (you don't like the word quotas for some reason). Government telling companies how to run their business is regulating and someone gets paid to monitor the mandates.

Call it what you want, mandates or quotas it puts the government in a position to dictate how a company conducts business.

I think it is a bit humorous that you think the bars are so low and then say "we could and should do much better" Are you in the energy production business? I believe in each individual doing their part to solve these problems, but I don't think we should start speaking as though others should be forced to act as we see fit. We need to provide incentives for energy producers to meet goals, not fine them when they don't meet "mandates".

Curious Stranger said...

"Call it what you want, mandates or quotas it puts the government in a position to dictate how a company conducts business. "

Should businesses be able to dump untreated sewage into the public drinking water? Should businesses be able to collude to raise prices? Should business be able to sell products to our enemies to be used against us? Clearly there is nothing wrong with the government "dictating" how a company does business when doing nothing is not in the common good. Getting us off the oil teat and onto something renewable that will be around in 50 years and keep us out of the energy conflicts to come in the next 10-15 is as clear a case of the common good as I've seen in a long while.

"Are you in the energy production business?"

I'm in the "paying through the nose because of our inability to get off oil" business. As are you.

"We need to provide incentives for energy producers to meet goals, not fine them when they don't meet "mandates"."

What incentive will get energy producers to move away from oil when they are seeing record prices and rising demand all over the world? Allowing them to drill more, which appears to be the Republican Party's answer?

No business in its right mind would walk away from the oil business today. The only way I see them doing so, would be to reduce the demand, through conservation (yes, even *gasp* inflating our tires!) and perhaps a carbon cap and trade market and/or tax. These are all mainstream Democratic positions and they don't involve "fines".