Democrats view the high price of oil as the elusive political gold the party has sought all year.
"This issue alone will determine the election this fall," said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., explained why: "Oil is a metaphor for what's wrong with the people in charge. It's cronyism, it's incompetence."
Local Democrats are taking initiative .
For now, Democrats are eagerly oil-dependent. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., Thursday joined with colleagues to present a comprehensive package of reforms, including a requirement to cut in half by 2036 U.S. dependence on oil and to provide federal tax incentives for fuel efficiency. The plan, which has some GOP backing, is expected to be debated in the full Senate next week.
In the House, Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3rd District, is pushing legislation requiring oil firms to open their books to government investigators, and Rep. John B. Larson, D-1st District, has three bills to help consumers.
But most notably, Democrats plan to keep talking about how much they care about consumers. "People want to know you get it," Dodd said.
But Republicans are jumping on the oil bandwagon as well.
In Connecticut, Alan Schlesinger, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, has called for Congress to immediately suspend the 18.4-cent-a-gallon federal gas tax.
Schlesinger said he even would consider supporting a refinery in Connecticut, an unlikely development, if one were proposed.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell has taken a different approach, calling on Exxon to return some profits to consumers.
The article doesn't say much about specific races for House seats which is where I see oil having the most impact locally. I'm not sure how much can be done about this at the state level and the Senate race seems more about ideals rather one specific issue. Even post-primary I can't see the Senate seat being decided on just one issue. But if you're running for the house oil is something you could win on, especially for Democrat challengers.
Lightman, David. Big Oil Could Be Big Issue. Hartford Courant 5/5/06