Monday, May 5, 2008

Fools' Holiday

When Democrats cast their ballots in tomorrow's Indiana and North Carolina primaries, many will be voting on Republican Sen. John McCain's "gas-tax holiday" proposal -- either aye (for Sen. Hillary Clinton) or nay (for Sen. Barack Obama).

Sure, Sen. Clinton tweaked Sen. McCain's original plan by making those "big oil companies" pick up the tab. Either way, however, the "gas-tax holiday" proposal is pure, unfiltered, Grade A crap.

First, such a plan has no shot at being enacted before the summer travel season. Second, if it were, oil companies surely would shift higher costs onto the consumer. And third, each motorist's three-month savings would amount to little more than a financial crumb -- about two hand-tossed pizzas (delivered) and a case of beer.

It's meaningless gimmickry, and countless financial analysts have said as much. Hell, anyone with a working calculator can figure that out.

Because most voters are easily fooled, of course, the proposed shell game is actually working for Sen. Clinton. She'll likely win Indiana and she'll make it close in North Carolina.

Maybe pandering shouldn't move voters, but it does. Maybe voters should be smarter, but we aren't. And maybe we don't like foolery in our politics, but as long as we keep voting for it, that's what we're going to get.