Washington awakes to a new political dawn this morning with the Democrats taking control of the house for the first time. The Senate may yet fall to them too, but the race is currently too close to call. President Bush will awake with a headache – and stands to become a lame-duck for the remainder of his Presidency.
One phone call that is likely to stick in his throat is to congratulate Nancy Pelosi who stands to become the first female House speaker. A noted liberal from San Francisco, the Republicans revile her and made her a hate figure in the last days of the campaign. Pelosi has said that the Democrats would “restore integrity and honesty” to Washington and make it the “most ethical Congress in history”.
“Today the American people voted for change and they voted for Democrats to take our country in a new direction and that is exactly what we intend to do” she told a crowd of supporters. “And nowhere did the American people make it clear they wanted a change more than in Iraq”.
It is not only America’s policy in Iraq that stands to change – it is energy policy too. Pelosi has pledged to end America’s “addiction to foreign oil” with a decade. Just last month, Pelosi was taking issue with record oil profits posted by Exxon.
At the time she said: “Today’s record oil company profits remind Americans that Republicans’ energy policies, which were written in secret by the Cheney Task Force and the energy industry, are an abject failure for the American people. Their six-year record of heaping subsidies on oil companies reaping record profits while leaving consumers to pay the bill, has brought us record dependence on foreign oil.
”Under President Bush and the Republican Congress gas prices are 75 percent higher than in 2000, consumers will pay an average $2,300 more in energy costs than they did in 2000, and we are sending nearly $800 million a day to the Middle East and other oil producing countries.”
“Democrats’ New Direction will free America from our dangerous addiction to foreign oil – and we intend to do it within 10 years. Our energy plan ends these unnecessary giveaways to Big Oil and invests in clean, energy-efficient technologies, conservation, and promoting domestic energy alternatives, such as biofuels. Our plan will send our energy dollars to the Midwest, not the Middle East”.
It may not just be Bush and the Republicans who are feeling sick this morning – a few oil barons might also be feeling rather queasy as their political influence ebbs away.