Dems to launch energy ads in Calif. : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Saturday May 19 8:33 PM ET

Dems to Launch Energy Ads in Calif.

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Democrats intend to begin airing television advertising in California on Monday attacking President Bush and Republican lawmakers for refusing to support a temporary cap on the price of electric power, party officials said Saturday.

The first ad will be aimed at GOP Rep. Stephen Horn and appear on cable television in the Los Angeles area less than a week after Bush unveiled his national energy plan. said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The commercial warns of a deepening energy crisis ``with summer blackouts predicted and rate hikes of up to 80 percent.''

``President Bush has offered no relief to hard-pressed rate-payers,'' it says, ''...and our Rep. Stephen Horn has joined with Bush in opposing a temporary cap on electricity prices.''

Democrats declined to say how much money they would put behind the commercial in a city where advertising costs are among the highest in the nation. It is unusual for a campaign committee such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to air political advertising more than 18 months in advance of elections.

At the same time, Democrats are moving quickly to exploit consumer anger in California, where energy prices have risen sharply and where more blackouts are threatened for later in the summer.

Horn narrowly won election to his fifth term last November, prevailing by 1,760 votes and gaining less than 50 percent of the vote in a multi-candidate field.

Horn could not be reached for comment on Saturday. Steve Schmidt, spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, accused Democrats of ``trying to politicize an issue that Gray Davis is largely responsible for. Playing politics with this issue will backfire on them.''

Davis, the California governor who has been dealing for months with his state's energy woes, accused the administration this week of ``turning a blind eye to the bleeding and hemorrhaging that exists in this state.''

The administration's energy program includes dozens of recommendations designed to increase the supply of energy and lower the cost in the future, as well as some conservation measures. But the president rejected calls from Davis and other Democrats for shorter-term relief in the form of caps on price increases.

The Democratic advertising comes at a time when some Republicans have privately expressed concern about the political fallout from energy problems. Some GOP lawmakers spoke out on the issue in closed-door meetings with Vice President Dick Cheney in the past week.

Democrats said they are prepared to air ads aimed at other Western state lawmakers whom they view as particularly vulnerable, and possibly at Midwesterners if gasoline prices rise sharply.

-- Swissrose (, May 19, 2001


I can hardly believe my eyes when I read something like this. The same Democrats who have controlled the California legislature the past ten years, the same Democrats who have snuffed out any chance for the state to stay up with demand, are now going to complain about not having price caps?

Througout history price controls have not worked in any country. They only distort markets, mis-allocate supplies, and create worse shortages. And, now, they are going advertise their stupidity.

I guess there is no end in determining how far a politician will go in kickng sand to cover his tracks.

-- Wellesley (, May 19, 2001.

I read this with utter dismay. I'm flabbergasted, speechless.

Do these jokers really think they can get away with this? (With the mental "grasp" of free market economics so lacking in the general population, I suppose they can.)

Talk about gutter politics. This is the ugliest.

-- JackW (, May 20, 2001.

There is, and can be, NO "Free Market" in Electricity, unless and until the END USER pays the full and real-time market price. The first step is for the end users to KNOW the real-time price. Now, even the existence of a "Stage 3" crisis isn't known to most in real time. Even steep fixed rate hikes unfairly force everyone to pay for the heavy peak-time users, when electricity is much more expensive. Even this is not a free market, although "time of day" and seasonal pricing might be a reasonable real-world approximation. Even the infrastructure for this isn't installed, for residential or small business users.

Independent of the above, even a perfect free market creates temporary dislocations, which engineers call the "hysteresis" effect. And the Democrats are only advocating TEMPORARY price caps, in recognition of this undisputed fact.

However, as stated in some previous answers, the average person has an inadequate understanding of these facts about the Free Market. After all, most people have not read and understood the basic concepts of Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" and/or Karl Marx's "Das Kapital." Hence, popular reactions to this political tactic will be largely misguided and poorly founded on both ends of the political spectrum. This is what renders it unwise, not its substance.

-- Robert Riggs (, May 20, 2001.

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