Once again, House Republicans are on Capitol Hill during the August recess, and once again, they are holding something of a sit-in, giving spirited sp
August 5, 2008

Once again, House Republicans are on Capitol Hill during the August recess, and once again, they are holding something of a sit-in, giving spirited speeches about coastal drilling for tourists and congressional staffers who happen to pass by the charade.

Yesterday, however, there was a bit of a twist in the Republican rhetoric. Far-right lawmakers actually believe they’re affecting the market by talking to each other.

House Republicans on Tuesday said their protest of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) decision not to allow a vote on expanded offshore oil drilling has helped lower gas prices.

Heading into a third day of speeches in the near-empty chamber, Republicans acknowledged that the average price of gas and oil has declined in recent weeks. But they claimed credit for part of that reduction.

“I think the market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) at a joint press conference with other GOP lawmakers. “I think the market realizes this kind of pressure from Congress may, in fact, lead to a change in policy.”

The Republican members did not answer questions about whether they would take the blame if gas prices go up again.

Yes, House Republicans are hosting a very sad little photo-op on the Hill, and some of them are willing to argue, out loud, in public, that simply by talking to each other about drilling, they’re able to bring the price of fuel down.

If you told me that Speaker Pelosi’s office was paying these clowns money to make House Republicans look ridiculous, I’d be tempted to believe you.

Keep in mind, they’re not the only unhinged Republicans claiming magical rhetorical powers. There was also this item two weeks ago.

John McCain — whose campaign launched an ad this week blaming Barack Obama for high prices at the pump — said Wednesday President Bush’s new push for offshore oil drilling deserves the credit for the recent drop in crude oil prices.

“In case you missed it, soon as the President announced that we were going to end the moratorium on offshore drilling the price of a barrel of oil went down $10,” the presumptive Republican nominee said at a Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania town hall.

So, to hear McCain tell it, Bush was able to bring down the price of a barrel of oil simply by making a symbolic gesture.

I knew McCain and his GOP cohorts were slipping from reality, but this is just sad.

Talking to tourists and empty White House gestures do not, in our reality, lower the price of oil. It’s no wonder Republicans are so bad at governing — they’ve obviously flunked Economics 101.

Oil prices kept falling Tuesday, sinking as low as $118 a barrel on growing concerns that a U.S. economic slowdown and high energy costs are curbing consumer demand for gasoline and other petroleum products. […]

A day after plunging as much as $5 a barrel in a dramatic sell-off, crude continued its downward trend Tuesday as traders sold oil contracts on the belief that prices are still too high in relation to demand and have further room to fall. […]

“The market psychology has finally shifted,” said Stephen Schork, an analyst and trader in Villanova, Pa., adding that “$4-a-gallon gasoline has clearly killed demand.”

On Monday, the Commerce Department said consumer spending after adjusting for inflation fell 0.2 percent in June — the biggest drop since February — as shoppers dealt with higher prices for gasoline, food and other items. Oil prices also fell after Tropical Storm Edouard did not severely disrupt oil and natural gas output in the Gulf of Mexico.

The dollar’s gains against the euro also contributed to oil’s decline Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.5467 from the $1.5587 it bought late in New York trading Monday, making oil and other commodities less attractive to investors seeking a hedge against inflation and dollar weakness.

It’s called supply and demand. Maybe Republicans have heard of it.

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