Here is a lovely gem of a press release from the Democrat Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi:

“The President knows, as his own Administration has stated, that the impact of any new drilling will be insignificant – promising savings of only pennies per gallon many years down the road. Americans know that thanks to the two oilmen in the White House, consumers are now paying $4 a gallon for gas. But what Americans should realize is that what the President is calling for is drilling as close as three miles off of America’s pristine beaches and in other protected areas.

“The President has failed in his economic policy, and now he wants to say, ‘but for drilling in protected areas offshore, our economy would be thriving and the price of gas would be lower.’ That hoax is unworthy of the serious debate we must have to relieve the pain of consumers at the pump and to promote energy independence.

“Today, the New Direction Congress will vote on legislation to bring down gas prices by taking crucial steps to curb excessive speculation in the energy futures market. The President himself could lower prices by drawing down a small portion of our government oil stockpile, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The New Direction Congress will continue to bring forth responsible proposals to increase supply, reduce prices, protect consumers, and transition America to a clean, renewable energy independent future.”

Let’s take a look at Her Speakership’s wisdom.

“[T]he impact of any new drilling will be insignificant – promising savings of only pennies per gallon many years down the road.” The impact of new drilling will be more oil. That can’t be insignificant, based on her later comments. Besides, I thought long-term planning was a good thing.

“[T]hanks to the two oilmen in the White House, consumers are now paying $4 a gallon for gas.” Nice dig there. “Bush and Cheney are oilmen! Evil! EVIL!” *cue the ominous roll of thunder* If they really had such a huge influence over the oil industry, don’t you think President Bush and Vice President Cheney would have pulled every string they had to get Evil Big Oil to reduce the consumer price of oil and gas?

“[W]hat the President is calling for is drilling as close as three miles off of America’s pristine beaches and in other protected areas.” I’ve been to some of those “pristine” beaches, and they ain’t all that pristine. Besides, would you rather pump oil from areas close to the U.S., or ship it via monstrously huge supertankers like the Exxon Valdez? A broken pipeline can be shut down much faster than a supertanker run aground can be fixed. But Speaker Pelosi really doesn’t care about protected areas like the Arctic National Mosquito Refuge in Alaska as much as she cares about catering to her “Drill Nothing Never” constituents.

“The President has failed in his economic policy, and now he wants to say, ‘but for drilling in protected areas offshore, our economy would be thriving and the price of gas would be lower.’” Democrats often complain that drilling will take 10 years or more before producing any oil. The unspoken ending to that phrase is, “so why bother drilling?” Well, if we had started drilling in ANWR back in 1998, we’d have ANWR oil bringing down gas prices right now. If everyone had the same short-sighted mindset, why would people bother to work on a college degree, which takes years before producing any work benefits? Why have children, when it will take decades before they become self-sufficient? But here’s what’s interesting: liberals are more than happy to hold off doing anything with proven oil technology that will take a known quantity of time to obtain–the “decade” they keep chanting about–but they are willing to wait indefinitely for some new, unproven energy alternative to sweep us off our feet and carry us into a glorious future. I like to daydream about swan-diving into Scrooge McDuck’s bank vault, too, but then I wake up and go to work. My daydream won’t pay today’s bills or put food on the table.

“the New Direction Congress” Oops, looks like the website got that wrong. She really meant to say “the No Drilling Congress.” There, that’s fixed.

“Today, the No Drilling Congress will vote on legislation to bring down gas prices by taking crucial steps to curb excessive speculation in the energy futures market.” Oil futures are already heavily regulated. There is no need to regulate the market further, but as always with liberals, capitalism makes a good scapegoat to beat while chanting the “Drill Nothing Never” mantra.

“The President himself could lower prices by drawing down a small portion of our government oil stockpile, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.” Here’s a clue for Madam Speaker: the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is for emergencies like making sure there is sufficient oil for the military and critical operations if a war or natural disaster were to disrupt supplies. By the way, did you notice the logical inconsistency here? Speaker Pelosi claims that a small draw-down of oil from the SPR would result in a drop in consumer oil prices, while at the same time maintaining that drilling for oil won’t do so. She can’t have it both ways. But she, and the rest of the Democrats in Congress, are doing whatever they can to keep the price of oil high, primarily by blocking any attempt to increase domestic oil supply, in the hopes that the people will begin to clamor for the magic pixie dust of unknown and unproven energy technology. A one-time pump of a few million barrels of oil from the SPR might temporarily lower the price of gas, but that doesn’t compare to having oil fields consistently pumping out millions of barrels of oil each and every day.

“The No Drilling Congress will continue to bring forth responsible proposals to increase supply…” Really? How about letting America drill for its own oil? Oh, right, the key word is “responsible” proposals, and that means only what she considers responsible. In other words, no oil men need apply, only those with daydream technology.

“… reduce prices …” You can reduce prices by increasing supplies, reducing demand, or doing both. Apparently the strategy of increasing supplies is off the table to Madam “Ain’t Drilling Here” Speaker.

“… protect consumers …” Protect consumers from what? Higher oil and gas prices? *snort* Liberals love being the Nanny State, telling the childish voters what they can and can’t do.

“… transition America to a clean, renewable energy independent future.” These are inspiring-sounding words and they probably felt great rolling off Speaker Pelosi’s tongue, but until that magic “renewable” energy moment happens, how about we drill like crazy to get all the energy we need from our current resources? We could be successful in reaching a “clean, energy independent future” if we had enough energy to power the technology that will presumably make renewable energy possible.

Speaker Pelosi wants the high price of oil to cut both ways. She denies that drilling for a consistent source of oil would bring down prices, but she calls for a one-time release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to, um, bring down prices. Of course, the real reason why Democrats are so adamant about not allowing Americans to use their own energy reserves is that they believe Americans will only act to find cleaner, more environmentally friendly energy when the high price of gas has them so mired down that they can’t function any more. When that happens, of course, they’ll look to the Democrats to save them from themselves–and the Democrats, as always, will act in their best interests. OK, my tongue’s out of my cheek now. I have to assume Speaker Pelosi doesn’t expect to see a major change in the oil futures market with a one-time pull of oil from the SPR, but she can point to the temporarily lowered price of gas and say to the voters, “Look, the Democrats made that happen.” Then she can use that leverage to push her own plan of championing “clean” and “responsible” energy ideas, as the price of oil is pushed steadily upward again.

I’d like to have Speaker Pelosi come water my front yard, and then see what she would do when I deliberately put a kink in the hose. I imagine she’d demand that I stop deliberately shutting off the water so she could finish the job. Then I’d lecture at her that water is a precious, limited resource, and even if I unkinked the hose it would take a good long while for the water to reach her. Instead we should work together to find some better, cleaner, more responsible way to get the job done. Think she’d buy it?

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is making headlines with her visit to Syria. I’ll ignore the headscarf nonsense that has some people all hot and bothered; and I’ll ignore the fact that she’s meeting with the leaders of Syria, a puppet-state of our dear friends in the Islamic Republic of Iran; and I’ll even ignore the fact that President Bush objected to her visit. Instead, I’m going to focus on a matter I believe is more important: just what the hell is she doing over there?

Let me back up a bit. The U.S. government is made up of three branches — Judicial, Executive, and Legislative. Madam Speaker is a leading member of the Legislative body. This simply means it is her responsibility to write the laws that the Executive will enforce. But what authority does the Legislature have in negotiating with a foreign nation? Here’s a quick refresher course in Constitutional limits on the powers of Congress:

Section 8 – Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

That’s a fair number of things for Congress to do. So did you notice the part empowering Congress to negotiate with foreign dictators? Yeah, neither did I. Basically, visiting foreign countries and heads of state is not part of Speaker Pelosi’s job. But far worse than just going beyond the bounds of her job, Speaker Pelosi is actively undermining the President. Whether you like him or not, President Bush is responsible for representing the nation to others–not Speaker Pelosi, even if she believes she can do a better job.

To make the actions of Speaker Pelosi easier to understand, let’s think of an example closer to home. Consider a teenager who has come home way past his curfew for the third time in a week. His dad is reading him the riot act and reminding him that the agreed-upon punishment is being grounded for a full week. His mom can choose to stand with his dad, supporting him, or she can undermine his authority by playing “good cop” to the dad’s “bad cop.” If she chooses the latter course of action, the teenager comes to realize that Mom is a pushover, and all he needs to do is work on her to get out of any problem he happens to be in. This is a recipe for disaster.

And a disaster is exactly what Speaker Pelosi is asking for when she undermines the President. But what else would you expect from the party of defeat?

 Madam Neville Pelosi

Thank you, Madam Neville Pelosi. In addition to the comic above, Cox and Forkum nicely sum up Speaker Pelosi’s ineffectual discussions with Syria: “It’s impossible to have a “dialogue” about peace with an intransigent and bloody state sponsor of two groups who openly want to destroy the free state of Israel. This is the mess that Pelosi and her ilk refuse to see.”

UPDATE (4/5/2007 9:29:58 AM): More people are recognizing how Madam Speaker inserted her foot deeply in her mouth with her visit to Syria. What is the problem? The Washington Post explains the Speaker’s failure here:

After a meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Ms. Pelosi announced that she had delivered a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that “Israel was ready to engage in peace talks” with Syria. What’s more, she added, Mr. Assad was ready to “resume the peace process” as well. Having announced this seeming diplomatic breakthrough, Ms. Pelosi suggested that her Kissingerian shuttle diplomacy was just getting started. “We expressed our interest in using our good offices in promoting peace between Israel and Syria,” she said.

Only one problem: The Israeli prime minister entrusted Ms. Pelosi with no such message. “What was communicated to the U.S. House Speaker does not contain any change in the policies of Israel,” said a statement quickly issued by the prime minister’s office. In fact, Mr. Olmert told Ms. Pelosi that “a number of Senate and House members who recently visited Damascus received the impression that despite the declarations of Bashar Assad, there is no change in the position of his country regarding a possible peace process with Israel.” In other words, Ms. Pelosi not only misrepresented Israel’s position but was virtually alone in failing to discern that Mr. Assad’s words were mere propaganda.

We have a Secretary of State for a reason — so buttinskies like Speaker Pelosi don’t blunder through mistakes like this gaff with the consummate skill of a head-scarfed cow in a china shop. Captain Ed of Captain’s Quarters summed up Madam Speaker’s gaff in this manner:

Pelosi somehow forgot the part about ending support for terrorism when she met with Assad. She told the Syrian dictator that Israel was ready to meet with Assad on a peace proposal, which only told part of the story. In delivering only part of the message, Pelosi not only arrogated to herself the role of American foreign policy director — which Condoleezza Rice has as Secretary of State — she did the same with Israel’s foreign policy as well.

Not a bad night’s work for an incompetent.

When diplomats meet with enemies, they make sure to get their positions coordinated with their allies and execute strict message discipline. They do not “wing it” — they check with their elected governments when any questions arise about the directions of talks. Only someone with an ego in inverse proportion to her talent would start making stuff up as she goes when dealing with the Syrian-Israeli relationship, one of the most explosive in the world.

Are you as tired as I am of hearing news stories about how wonderful life is now that a woman is Speaker of the House? Yes, Nancy Pelosi is the first woman to be Speaker of the House. Did you know she is a woman? Aren’t you impressed at how we, as a nation, have become so progressive as to have a female Speaker of the House? Oh, and she is a woman.

I believe that our nation will have reached a state of true gender equity when we don’t focus on the gender of the person holding a position of power. Frankly, I believe the mainstream media are more enamored with Speaker Pelosi because she is a Democrat, not because she is a woman. When Condoleezza Rice became the Secretary of State, her particular first was not lauded like Speaker Pelosi’s has because Secretary Rice is a Republican. Apparently it’s OK to call her an “Oreo,” “Aunt Jemima,” or to caricature her in a derogatory — dare I say racist — way. It’s all right for the media to do this because they are only “speaking truth to power” against those evil Republicans.

At this point, when it comes to Speaker Pelosi, I’m like Mr. Waturi in Joe Versus the Volcano: “I know she can get the job, but can she do the job?” That is the question. Here’s Cox and Forkum’s take on Speaker Pelosi taking up the gavel:

Madame Speaker

Today Rep. Nancy Pelosi made history by becoming the first female Speaker of the House. Yesterday

[S]he alluded to one of the reasons women have been slow to climb the political ladder, saying federal policy has never recognized women’s need for child care. “This Congress is going to be about children,” she said.

In other words, congress is going to be about expanding socialistic entitlements, and children will be used as the rationalization.

And hey, did you know she’s a woman?