Debra J. Saunders

Bush needs to do the following. Don't ask Congress to rescind big oil's tax breaks, unless you don't want results. Demand it.

Stop saying you want to battle America's addiction to oil, while doing little about Detroit's addiction to gas-guzzlers. Bush likes to talk up hydrogen-fuel cells and alternative fuels -- which may or may not reduce American dependence on foreign oil -- when he should be tightening fuel-efficiency standards for the current fleet.

(I should note here that Bush has done more to improve Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards than the Clinton administration did in eight years, but his latest proposal to increase fuel-efficiency for light trucks could reward the biggest gas-guzzlers when the country should be rewarding mile-per-gallon misers.)

Go after Big Ag, too, either by cutting new federal requirements on ethanol use or heeding the Wall Street Journal editorial that urged the administration to "end the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol." The high cost of gasoline won't go down appreciably when ethanol sells for $2.77 a gallon.

No matter what House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says, many Democrats don't want tougher fuel-efficiency standards. Many don't want to cut ethanol subsidies -- which should make it fun for Bush to call for these reforms.

Give the Dems what they say they want, not what they really want.

Meanwhile, Bush would be showing leadership. He should be working to get what he can get, and taking on industry biggies at the same time. Then, maybe for the first time, some Americans would look at the president and think, "He works for me."


Debra J. Saunders


 
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