Ah: Finally: Where the Walter Costa Trail Starts
Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Do It Now

Yet Another Reason to Shut the Republican Party Down Today...

John McCain's energy policy--the flip-flop on offshore drilling, et cetera...

Barack Obama joins with Arnold Schwarzenegger in telling Americans that if they want to save money on gas now they should raise the pressure on their tires. John McCain and his campaign... make fun of the idea:

Senator Obama's solution to high gas prices is telling Americans to make sure their tires are inflated. Today, I'm asking for your help in putting Senator Obama's "tire gauge" energy policy to the test. With an immediate donation of $25 or more, we will send you an "Obama Energy Plan" tire pressure gauge. Will simply inflating your tires reduce the financial burden of high gas prices on your wallet?... Please help us put Senator Obama's energy plan to the test - donate $25 or more for your very own "Obama Energy Plan" tire pressure gauge...

The only way to understand it is that John McCain is so rich neither he nor anybody else thinks that Americans might actually want to save money by spending less on gasoline. Keeping your tires inflated is worth about $100 a year to the average American family--McCain's wife's portfolio earns that much in fifteen seconds.

This seems to indicate a degree of out-of-touchness that dwarfs even that of George H. W. Bush confronted with the supermarket scanner.

Barack Obama: "[I]t's like these guys [the Republicans] take pride in being ignorant."

One of Mark Kleiman's commenters: "Maybe John McCain can afford to laugh about inflating your tires. I guess once you marry a hundred million bucks you don't have to worry about your gas mileage. But there are lots of us out there who are really hurting, and we don't think it's funny at all. Just shows how out of touch he is. Not only that: he wants to charge you $25 for a tire gauge you can get for $2.99 at Ace Hardware. Who knows? Maybe he thinks that's a good deal. But he's not getting my $25. Let him ask his oil company buddies..."

Michael Froomkin: "Why are we surprised that the GOP is against stuff that reduces oil consumption? Republicans have always been against rules that encourage conservation. Conservation is bad for oil profits, and those oil profits turn into campaign contributions..."

Another observer: "Honestly, I just am at a loss for words at this point. At least I understood the idiotic caricatures and false memes they spread about Gore and Kerry, but I'm increasingly feeling like John McCain would at Defcon 16. I just can't keep up with what the kids are doing these days..."

Another observer: "There's a bigger fight going on here.... It's an article of faith among greens that 'there is no silver bullet -- what we need is silver buckshot'. In other words, we're not going to be able to replace the big, highly concentrated, brute force industrial energy system that fossils built. We're going to have to produce, distribute, and use energy in a much smarter way, and that means doing thousands of little things.... These things will buffer our shift to a system with new sources (clean electricity) and new techniques (plug-in hybrids, public transit, and transit-oriented development).... Obama... understand[s] the energy efficiency and conservation approach and actually try to present it to the American people. Republicans want to nip it in the bud -- that's why they are so aggressively jumping on the tire gauge thing. They want to make it seem like a small and silly response to a very big problem. But all the things we need to do will seem small and silly in isolation; it's the portfolio approach that will work..."

But McCain is having money problems: problems raising money for the general election.

He has just gotten $1,000,000 from oil companies in the weeks surrounding his flip-flop on offshore drilling. The week before he flipped, Hess held a fundraiser for McCain--dangling the checks in front of him. He flips:

TPM Election Central | Talking Points Memo | Report: Hess Execs Ponied Up Huge Money Before McCain's Drilling Flip: The Los Angeles Times digs up some more detail on the Hess Corporation-McCain story, reporting that the big fundraiser where all the Hess execs chipped in huge sums took place just before McCain reversed his previous opposition to offshore drilling:

On June 10, John B. Hess, a top executive at the oil company with his family name, summoned friends to the 21 Club, a former speakeasy in Manhattan, and delivered $285,000 to John McCain and the Republican National Committee. A week later, McCain traveled to Texas and announced his support for offshore oil drilling... Hess was one of half a dozen hosts who tapped friends for the maximum $28,500 donation to the GOP. Others included investor Henry Kravis and hedge fund mogul Paul E. Singer. McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said there was no link between the money and McCain's stand. "Mr. Hess was fundraising before Sen. McCain made the announcement," he said...

Hess has clammed up and is refusing to explain what happened....

Here's a table detailing the contributions:

J. Barclay Collins Hess Corp. Attorney $28,500 19-Jun
John B. Hess Hess Corp. Executive $28,500 24-Jun
Susan K. Hess Homemaker Homemaker $28,500 24-Jun
Norma W. Hess Retired Retired $28,500 24-Jun
John J. O'Connor Hess Corp. Executive $28,500 24-Jun
Lawrence Ornstein Hess Corp. Senior VP $28,500 24-Jun
John Reilly Hess Corp. Executive $28,500 24-Jun
Alice Rocchio Hess Corp. Office Manager $28,500 24-Jun
John Scelfo Hess Corp. Senior VP of Finance $28,500 24-Jun
F. Borden Walker Hess Corp. Businessman $28,500 24-Jun....

Late Late Update: A Hess office manager and her husband, an Amtrak worker, each chipped in $28,000 apiece, too. Late Late Late Update: Turns out that the office manager and her Amtrak husband rent their home in Flushing, Queens....

TPM Election Central | Talking Points Memo | Hess Employee Who Gave $28,500 To McCain Effort Is A Renter: Here's a bit more on Alice and Pasquale Rocchio, the couple who each gave $28,500 to the RNC-McCain fund on the same day that eight Hess Corporation execs and/or Hess family members gave the same.... Alice is a Hess "office manager," and Pasquale is an Amtrak "track foreman." The two live in a middle class neighborhood in Flushing, Queens.... [T]he Rocchios rent their home.... Late Update.... [M]edian household income in the Rocchios' zip code is $58,069...