Time gave Sen. Talent free pass on pro-Bush, pro-oil energy stance; repeated Casey/Democratic convention myth

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

An article by Time magazine's Mike Allen and Karen Tumulty highlighted Sen. Jim Talent as one of the incumbent GOP candidates in the 2006 midterm elections "point[ing] out their differences with the president." However, Allen and Tumulty failed to note that Talent's voting record in the Senate has largely been in sync with the Bush administration's energy policy and the interests of oil companies.

In an article from the April 3 issue of Time magazine on how "Republican incumbents are having a hard time figuring out how close they want to be to the White House," Time White House correspondent Mike Allen and national political correspondent Karen Tumulty highlighted Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) as one of the incumbent GOP candidates in the 2006 midterm elections "point[ing] out their differences with the President." Allen and Tumulty noted Talent's "successful push for an amendment to last year's energy bill that requires 7.5 billion gallons of renewable energy to be in the nation's fuel pipeline by 2012," and quoted a Talent spokesman saying: "He took on the Bush Administration and the oil companies." However, Allen and Tumulty failed to note that Talent's voting record in the Senate has largely been in sync with the Bush administration's energy policy and the interests of oil companies.

Allen and Tumulty also reported that former Pennsylvania governor Bob Casey Sr. was denied a speaking spot at the 1992 Democratic National Convention because he was an "opponent of abortion rights." In fact, several other "pro-life" Democrats spoke at the convention -- belying this oft-repeated myth.

From the April 3 edition of Time:

The most obvious line of defense for Republican candidates is to point out their differences with the President, as the party-wide revolt over the ports deal amply demonstrated. In the face of the Democrats' "rubber stamp" charges, G.O.P. lawmakers are distancing themselves on other issues as well. In Kentucky, Representative Anne Northup, generally a staunch Bush backer, notes that she strongly supports reimporting cheaper drugs from Canada. In Missouri, Senator Jim Talent emphasizes his successful push for an amendment to last year's energy bill that requires 7.5 billion gallons of renewable energy to be in the nation's fuel pipeline by 2012. Boasts Talent adviser Lloyd Smith: "He took on the Bush Administration and the oil companies."

Allen and Tumulty simply repeated a Talent spokesman's claim that he "took on the Bush Administration and the oil companies," ignoring the numerous times that Talent has voted with the Bush administration on energy-related legislation. For example, Talent has voted no fewer than three times since 2003 to open the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling. Bush has repeatedly called on Congress to approve oil drilling in ANWR. For example, on June 15, 2005, Bush said:

BUSH: The second step toward making America less dependent on foreign oil is to produce and refine more crude oil here at home in environmentally-sensitive ways. By far the most promising site for oil in America is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Technology now makes it possible to reach the oil reserves in ANWR by drilling on just 2,000 of the 19 million acres. Developing this tiny area could eventually yield up to a million barrels of oil every day -- and that million barrels of oil a day would be -- would make us less dependent on foreign sources of energy. Thanks to technology, we can reach ANWR's oil with almost no impact on the land or local wildlife. To make America less dependent, Congress needs to pass a pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-environment development of ANWR. It makes sense. It is an important part of a comprehensive strategy.

Talent did successfully push the adoption of an amendment to the Senate version of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 increasing ethanol-consumption mandates. According to a June 5, 2005, St. Louis Post-Dispatch article: "Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., has become a hero to corn farmers by sponsoring an amendment that would require drivers to use 8 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2012. His amendment was adopted by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in a game of one-upmanship with the House, which endorsed a 5-billion-gallon mandate." However, Talent also voted against an amendment to the 2005 Energy Policy Act aimed at "reduc[ing] United States dependence on foreign oil imports by 40 percent by 2025." Talent was also among the 32 Republican senators who voted against an amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2003 requiring the Energy Department to set a timetable for producing 100,000 hydrogen-fueled cars by 2010 and 2.5 million annually by 2020.

Allen and Tumulty also reported:

The most appealing argument the Democrats are offering may be their candidates, who were recruited more for how they fit the districts in which they are running than for how they match the party's national ideology. In Pennsylvania, which has an active bloc of Catholic voters, [Democratic Senate candidate Bob] Casey [Jr.] is an opponent of abortion rights. That same position cost his father, then the Governor, a speaking spot at the 1992 Democratic Convention. For what could be two close races against female Republican incumbents--Heather Wilson in New Mexico and Deborah Pryce in Ohio--Emanuel found women challengers. Former NFL quarterback Heath Schuler has added star power to the race in a North Carolina district. Incumbent Charles Taylor is on the defense there with claims that an electronic glitch prevented him from casting his vote against the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which Bush had sought but is unpopular among Taylor's constituents, who believe it will cost the state jobs.

As Media Matters for America has noted on numerous occasions, Casey refused to endorse the Clinton-Gore Democratic ticket. Also, as The New Republic's Michael Crowley noted in a 1996 article, there were no fewer than eight "pro-life Democrats" who spoke at the convention -- including two U.S. senators and five governors.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Drilling, Energy
Network/Outlet
Time Magazine
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