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Busy with gotcha games, Congress ignores energy

Bob Tippee
Editor

The best hope for US energy policy these days is embodied in Alberto Gonzales, Valerie Plame, and Al Gore.

Gonzales is the US attorney general, whom congressional Democrats are trying to run out of office.

The Democrats want to know why eight federal prosecutors got fired. When asked about it, Gonzales couldn't manage to say simply that President Bush wanted them to be fired, which is reason enough.

So lawmakers have started an inquisition. No crime has appeared yet. Democrats hope to cross up an administration official under oath and score a perjury or obstruction indictment.

Plame is the Central Intelligence Agency something or other whose cover was blown when columnist Robert Novak reported her connection with administration critic Joseph Wilson. The connection: She's his wife and had a hand in his assignment by the CIA to investigate suspected efforts by Iraq to buy uranium from Niger.

Wilson sniffed no Iraqi scent in Niger and wrote articles alleging that Bush juiced intelligence to justify war with Iraq. Attention-grabbing from a CIA-sponsored platform isn't behavior normally associated with a husband concerned about keeping his wife's employment at the agency secret, of course. But when an appropriately curious Novak reported what he learned about it (from the State Department), Washington's scandal machine presumed that the White House outed Plame to punish Wilson.

On Mar. 16, Plame told receptive Democrats in a House committee hearing—only two Republicans showed up—that, sure enough, the Bush folks revealed her secrets "from purely political motives." Nobody asked where she got the information.

On Mar. 21, former Vice-President Al Gore preached his global-warming sermon before a rapt joint House-Senate committee, likening the planet to a baby with a fever—and on and on.

It's all political theater.

"Ten weeks into the new Congress," wrote columnist David Broder recently, "it is clear that revelation, not legislation is going to be its real product."

Good. While busy with gotcha games, Democrats aren't threatening national interests with loopy energy bills like the one that the House passed Jan. 18 and that the Senate, so far, has ignored.

(Online Mar. 23, 2007; author's e-mail: bobt@ogjonline.com)


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