John Boehner, the Say Anything Republican

John BoehnerYou have to give it to John Boehner when it comes to looking out for his own interests. That would be $188,700 worth of interests in the form of campaign donations from coal, oil and gas lobbyists in 2008. It seems that to keep that K Street cash cow flowing, he’ll say just about anything.

The Democrats have put out a first draft of a plan that addresses energy security and climate change, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES).

The energy component puts efficiency front and center. Efficiency, as in use less energy to get the same return. Efficiency, as in spend less money on energy because things are running more efficiently. Efficiency, as in let’s invest in a more efficient energy grid and more efficient cars instead of shipping money overseas to the tune of $700 billion a year in oil imports.

Efficiency, is good. Efficiency saves consumers and businesses money. Efficiency creates American jobs. According to a report released by American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, “energy efficiency initiatives that reward consumers and businesses for reducing electricity and gas usage could result in utility bill savings of $168.6 billion.” It could also result in 222,000 permanent, high quality American jobs in construction, manufacturing, and other fields. But John Boehner doesn’t seem to like efficiency. John Boehner would rob Americans of jobs and $168.6 billion. Why? Did I mention the $188,700 he gets from the corner fossil fuel pushers?

And then there’s the renewable energy component of the bill. At a time when coal rates are rising in the U.S. – by 6.9% in Virginia, 45% in Ohio and a whopping 50 – 100% in North Carolina, for example – experts recommend efficiency measures and increasing energy from natural, renewable sources (not nuclear) as the answer. But John Boehner doesn’t want us to move toward renewables, even if they are the answer. He doesn’t want to create American jobs, either – wind and solar are sources not just of clean energy but of good, American jobs. I guess he must have 188,700 reasons for being against that.

But really, there is only one reason Congressman Boehner is touting. And it just happens to be a lie.

I don’t use the word lie lightly here. One might say he is simply misinformed or not good at math (and if you look at how he derived his calculation, he is clearly not so good at math). But since the source he is touting in his lie, MIT, has already told him that he is misusing and miscalculating their data, reasonable people can conclude that Mr. Boehner is intentionally trying to deceive the American people.

His office put out a press release today talking about the supposed $3100 lightswitch tax.

He gets an A - or his communications people do - for coming up with a clever name. He gets an F for accuracy. In point of fact, as reported on this site yesterday, MIT had determined and told Boehner that the net effect on a typical family and the burden would be less than 1/40th of what they claim, and wouldn’t occur until 2015.

Boehner misrepresents any provisions making the polluters pay for their emissions as a tax put directly on American families. Boehner says that “we all know that Democrats have no intention of using a cap-and-trade system to deliver rebates to consumers.” He’s got nothing to back up this assertion, but it makes a nice sound bite.

Since ACES is rather fuzzy on how any revenue from the polluters will be used – as Congressman Markey said yesterday, it’s TBD in committee which means some of it may very well be used to go directly to Americans to offset any rate increases which MIT calculates to be about $77 per household per year starting in 2015 – I’m not sure where Mr. Boehner is pulling that one out of, except his own imagination.

Boehner is horrified that the amount of revenue from polluters could be as much as 3 times higher than estimates say. That’s awful! I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want $1.9 trillion dollars in revenue from folks like Exxon that made $11.68 billion in quarterly profits last year by gauging the American people on gas prices.

He also says that the Democrats want to use this revenue to fund a national health care plan. (Hey, that’s not such a bad deal; the average American family pays $3400 of the $12,700 it costs to insure a family of four). I defy Congressman Boehner, or anyone else, to point out where in the 648 page document released yesterday it mentions anything about national health care.

Congressman Boehner is trying to scare the American people through misleading, inflammatory comments that have no basis in reality. Boehner is fighting against the creation of good American jobs, he is trying to block improvements in America’s competitiveness in the renewable energy economy, he is looking for ways to keep shipping $700 billion a year overseas, mostly to people that would do us physical and financial harm, and keep it out of the U.S. economy. 

Mr. Boehner is trying to keep American’s sick with heart disease, asthma, cancer and strokes created by dirty, toxic, fossil fuel energy pollution.

Why would a member of the U.S. Congress say anything to keep America addicted to big coal and big oil? I can think of 188,700 reasons, but none of them are in the best interest of the American people.

This month we’re giving away FREE copies of Thomas Friedman’s bestselling book Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America.

Go here to find out more details about DeSmogBlog’s monthly book give-away.


Well, no one is “addicted” to oil or coal. But, it you want to get us off of coal, any rational assessment will have to include nuclear power as one component.

As I said about nuclear power:

It’s Patriotic™, which is of course the most important property of any proposed alternative energy solution as far as wingnuts are concerned. Yes, I understand. If the world switches to solar or wind or some other type of energy that doesn’t involve stuff going KA-BOOM!!! then The Terrorists Will Have Won.

Also, nuclear plants are obviously a dime a dozen, just like magical ponies.


To anyone reading this blog it shouldnt come as a surprise that the oil and gas industy is still grabbing at straws when it comes to public officials.  Thankfully, the renewble lobby has become a little more vindictive of late, realizing how to get things done in washinton.  Obama’s energy initiative will not be reduced by a couple of ney-sayers on the right side of the aisle.  Sadly enough it wont be vindicated unless there is a new idea of how to invest in a smart grid and how to properly base-load the system.