Sometimes the intellectual fraudulence of the Republicans in Washington beggars belief. For example:

Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic bill to repeal about $24 billion in U.S. tax breaks for the nation’s biggest oil companies, three days after agreeing to advance the measure as a way to debate energy.

President Barack Obama, speaking at the White House before today’s vote, had urged lawmakers to pass the legislation. Republicans opposed repealing the tax breaks and blamed Obama’s energy policies for the rise in gasoline costs.

OK, stop right there. Republicans are supposed to be the party of business. They know perfectly well that the no president’s policies have a meaningful effect on gas prices. Oil is traded on the world market, and is subject to the law of supply and demand. Demand for oil is elastic.

But wait! Remember 2006? It seems like only yesterday that…

Democrats on Capitol Hill slammed the Bush administration yesterday over the escalating cost of gasoline as Republican leaders asked the White House to investigate charges of price gouging by the major oil companies.

“The same Bush administration that so tragically bungled the response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has now bungled its way to $3-per-gallon gasoline,” Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, said yesterday. “Now it’s clear to anyone who fills up at a gas pump that this administration is also failing in its approach to energy.”

Hypocrites. But politicians are that way. They’ll not be philosophically consistent, or even honest, not if it suits their political interests.
But that’s not the real issue in all this. I could not possibly agree more with the president here:

Obama said the top three oil companies operating in the U.S. made more than $80 billion in profit last year, withExxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) (XOM) collecting almost $4.7 million an hour.

“It’s not as if these companies can’t stand on their own,” Obama said.

Look, I don’t share the view of 36 percent of Americans polled, that oil company greed is responsible for the rise in gas prices. Again, supply and demand. If we think we should be able to use as much gasoline as we want, and always get it cheaply, we’re economic illiterates. So I don’t blame the oil companies for the rising price of oil, but I think the case for corporate welfare for an industry that made $80 billion in profits last year is obscene. The Republicans, ostensibly the party of the free market, ought to be ashamed of themselves.

My governor, a Republican, is a really intelligent man, but brains do not protect you from the temptation to demagogue:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday ripped President Barack Obama over rising gas prices and said any of the Republican 2012 candidates will do “so much better” if elected to the White House.

“The reality is, gasoline prices have doubled under this president, highest prices for oil and gasoline in a 150 years. People used to think it was because of incompetence from Obama administration on energy – I think it’s because of ideology. They’re pursuing a radical environmental ideology,” Jindal said on “Fox & Friends.”