Obama and Biden Badmouth “Big Oil” (Again), Yet Two Disagreed on 2005 Energy Bill

August 23, 2008

At the rally today in Springfield to introduce Joe Biden (D-DE) as Barack Obama's new running mate, the two did the usual badmouthing of "Big Oil," implying the Bush administration's ties to the oil industry was a cause of the high prices at the pump. But what Obama rarely talks about is that in 2005, when many of those tax breaks for energy companies were being voted on, he voted for them (along with the White House) while Sen. McCain along with most Democrats (including Joe Biden) voted against the handouts (and rightly so).

Why did Obama vote for them? Because special interests in Illinois political circles (corn growers) wanted the handouts for ethanol that were also in the bill. That's funny because Obama constantly argues that he can help people with the higher food prices, which are in part, due to the government-led demand increase for ethanol that Obama supported (on top of the farm bill that he supported every year that McCain votes against every year). It's also funny because Obama constantly says how he is going to take on special interests when a special interest in his home state basically propelled him to vote for a bill that was a lobbyist's dream of special interest favors.

Obama may not have liked the provisions that rewarded oil companies in the bill, but he voted for it anyway because he said it was a good bill on balance. But that's not what most Democrats who didn't have a political special interest to appease like Joe Biden thought of the bill. They saw it as bad tax and spending policy, and they were right.

In summary, the rhetoric of this election is like taking a trip to bizarro world. Obama voted with the Bush administration on the most major piece of energy policy passed in the eight years (while McCain voted against it), and then he says McCain = Bush on energy. And then you have McCain who called the Bush tax cuts fiscally irresponsible pushing tax cuts that go even further than the Bush tax cuts. Is it November 5th yet?


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