Building bridges or more political shenanigans?

Published 12:02 am Sunday, May 1, 2011

As gas prices continue their trot toward $4 per gallon nationally, the fingerpointing in Washington is heating up.

On Monday, House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, intimated that he might consider ending some tax breaks for big oil companies. Boehner and the Republicans have long stood by oil and gas companies, but Boehner suggested that it is time to “make oil companies pay their fair share.”

Boehner joined with Democrat President Barack Obama — something rarely done these days — in calling for the elimination of big oil tax breaks that would save $43 billion over 10 years. He quickly added that he has yet to craft a plan and that he needed to “see all the facts” before making a move. It might be the latest in political jockeying, reading the polls and looking to shift the blame from anything government to the oil companies.

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Obama is deft at shifting blame away from his office. On gas prices, he points the finger at big oil’s thirst for profits and Republicans coziness with the oil companies. Republicans will counter that Obama and the Democrats are at fault for drilling moratoriums after the BP Gulf oil spill and red tape involved in new drilling.

Or Boehner genuinely could be looking to build a bridge to the administration, the Democrat-controlled Senate and Obama together to tackle the nation’s looming fiscal disaster. Even the $43 billion over 10 years — a pittance considering the country’s national debt is nearing $14 trillion — will make little difference in getting the fiscal house in order.

If Boehner is grandstanding to keep Democrats from claiming a political victory, shame on him.

If he is faithfully trying to bridge chasms, work together for the betterment of the American people, we applaud his efforts — even if we are a bit skeptical about his motive.