Just a few months ago, the Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner, voted alongside a unified Republican party to keep doling out multi-billion dollar oil subsidies to corporations that have recently seen record-breaking profits. But just yesterday, Boehner explained to an interviewer that he was in fact in favor of considering eliminating some of those oil subsidies. Watch the exchange above.
Except that the very next day, Boehner's spokesman rushed to deny that Boehner would ever really consider such a thing, as Politico reports just 12 short hours later:
John Boehner is running from his own suggestion yesterday that major oil companies no longer need some tax breaks. Oil companies are "gonna pay their fair share in taxes and they should," Boehner told ABC News last night. "Listen, everybody ... wants to go after the oil companies. And frankly, they've got some part of this to blame." Boehner also named a specific tax provision - the oil depletion allowance - that he didn't think oil majors needed.See, Boehner didn't want to 'take the bait' and give the impression that he was falling "into the trap of defending 'Big Oil'". So he was forced to lie to conceal the fact that he consistently votes to defend 'Big Oil' companies. I get it now.
But speaker spokesman Michael Steel later tried to recast his boss' remarks: "The speaker made clear in the interview that raising taxes was a nonstarter, and he's told the president that," Steel said. "He simply wasn't going to take the bait and fall into the trap of defending 'Big Oil' companies."
Snark aside, this is a great example of American politics in action. Boehner got caught voicing his own, rather reasonable opinion -- that massive, hugely profitable multinational oil companies don't need taxpayer dollars to operate -- and was quickly forced to renege to conform to party orthodoxy. Who knows whether is was a call from Exxon that changed his mind or angry emails from other oil-defending GOPers.
Either way, we're given a candid peak into how intractable the oil establishment is in federal politics -- and the hold it has over our most powerful politicians. And folks wonder why clean energy is so slow to take root ...