In casually perusing the Almanac of American Politics last night, going through the biographies on the Michigan delegation, I came across one of those conservative democrats we keep hearing about. Bob Stupak represents the Michigan 1st district, which comprises the Upper Penninsula and other parts north.
He is a former police officer and Michigan state trooper, a Catholic, and vocal opponent of such things as abortion and expanded government funding of embryonic stem cell research. As summarized in his Michael Barone penned description:
Stupak's voting record has been toward the center for House Democrats, though he is more conservative than most of them on social issues.
Good so far. But it seems no modern Democrat is immune from suffering a severe case of misplaced priorities. From Stupak's list of legislative achievements:
In the House, Stupak has paid great attention to local issues. He claims to be the first elected official to oppose drilling for oil and gas under the Great Lakes and worked hard on the successful bill to permanently kill it in 2005. He was a leading Democratic proponent of a September 2005 measure to crack down on oil-price gouging.
ANWAR, off shore, on the continental shelf, oil shale reserves, these arbitrary government bans I knew of. But I didn't even know people suspected there was oil and/or gas below the Great Lakes. It sounds like most in Congress didn't either. But just in case, they went out of their way to pre-emptively kill any chance it would benefit American consumers and tax payers.
Among thevital reasons to institute a government ban:
Ban supporters appealed to environmental concerns, but mostly to the ugliness of oil rigs. [Rep. David Bonior (D)] said, "Families come to Michigan to fish, to use our beautiful beaches, to swim in our lakes and enjoy our sand dunes. They do not come to Michigan to look at oil wells or oil derricks. We are passionate about protecting the Great Lakes.
It's amazing that only three years ago this was thought to be feel-good, safe politics. Restricting the ability of America to access its own resources of a vital commodity, in order to preserve the mythical views for tourists in Michigan.
I suppose we should just be happy we didn't have men of this caliber in office at the turn of the 20th century. We'd never have been able to despoil the pristine beauty and environmental heritage of the Oklahoma and West Texas scrub for something as crass as drilling for oil.
Even in 2005, we did have some leaders willing to use their common sense to promote the common good. Check out the prescience of then Representive Tom Delay of Texas, said during a time when gas was half as much as it sells for today:
"The Democrat leadership is at war with our ability to produce an adequate and dependable energy supply. They oppose safe oil exploration. They oppose expanded nuclear power. They oppose clean coal. They oppose ANWR. They oppose tapping the natural gas trapped beneath public lands. They oppose drilling In the Gulf of Mexico. And now they oppose slant drilling in Michigan." Delay said that "this environmental extremism, this radical environmentalism, is entirely unwarranted. Today, slant drilling technology allows us to safely withdraw oil and gas beneath bodies of water from the shore. Environmentally safe. We do not have to trade environmental safety for energy security."
A person could win an electon with that kind of platform, especially versus an opponent more concerned about a one degree rise in global temperature over a century. McCain, Coleman are you listening?