My Message to Democrats: Listen to the People and Make This 4th of July Energy Independence Day

This week I want to do something a little different.

Although my Winning the Future message has always been directed at all Americans, whether they consider themselves Republicans, Democrats, or independents, today I am directing my message specifically to Democrats. And my message is this:

The American people have spoken. Are your leaders listening?

Over 1.1 Million Americans Call on Congress to “Drill Here, Drill Now”

We really had no idea, just 35 days ago when we first posted the “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” petition here, that we would provide the spark that has ignited a fire among frustrated, struggling Americans.

In just 35 days, over 1.1 million Americans have signed the petition. Seven hundred and fifty thousand signed in just three weeks. Almost 100,000 signed up in a single day.

Americans of all political parties have signed the “Drill Here, Drill Now” petition. Here’s what they’re saying:

The 1.1 million Americans who have signed the petition are appealing to Congress to allow environmentally responsible ways to produce more energy here, at home.

They’re not calling for higher taxes on oil companies.

They’re not blaming foreigners for our energy problems.

They’re not begging the Saudis to sell us more oil.

And so my message to the party that controls Congress is this:

The American people have spoken. Are you listening?

New Poll Shows 74 Percent of Americans Support Offshore Drilling

Through our polling at American Solutions we have long known that a whopping 81 percent of Americans support developing more domestic energy, including oil and coal. And this 81 percent majority is made up of 85 percent of the Republicans, 83 percent of the independents and 76 percent of the Democrats surveyed.

Now we have even more data showing widespread support for increasing domestic energy production.

A new Rasmussen Poll has revealed that a full 67 percent of Americans support offshore drilling.

What is the party breakdown behind these numbers? The supporters were 85 percent Republican, 57 percent Democrat and 60 percent unaffiliated voters.

Moreover, a new Zogby poll shows that 74 percent of Americans support drilling offshore for our American oil. The supporters were 90 percent Republican, 58 percent Democrat, and 75 percent independent voters. A related survey by Zogby also shows that 59 percent of Americans support drilling in ANWR.

In other words, the American people have spoken. Are you listening Democrats?

175 Members of Congress Have Pledged to Increase U.S. Oil Production. Only One Is a Democrat.

As usual, the American people know intuitively what Washington just doesn’t understand: You don’t have to be a Republican to be struggling to put gas in your car. Democratic and independent families, commuters and small business owners are hurting too.

So why haven’t Democrats in Congress responded? Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R.-Ga.) is circulating a petition challenging his House colleagues to pledge to ”vote to increase U.S. oil production to lower gas prices for Americans.” As of this writing, 175 members of Congress have signed.

Only one, Neal Abercrombie of Hawaii, is a Democrat.

Drilling opponents support more drilling so long as there is no oil

Perhaps some Democrats have been reluctant to sign on because of two popular talking points making the rounds.

These opponents say that oil and gas companies already hold 68 million acres of federal land (offshore and land combined) that they are not using to produce oil and gas. They also say it would take 10 years before any of that oil makes it into our gas tanks.

Just this weekend on Meet the Press, Sen. Joe Biden (D.-Del.) said, “They [the oil companies] have now leased 41 million acres of offshore leases. They’re only pumping in 10.2 million of those acres. . . . And John [McCain] says they need more? And it would take 10 years for it to come online.”

There are a number of problems with these arguments.

First, when federal waters or lands are leased to energy companies, the first step is to explore for oil – in other words, look for it. Most of the acres leased for oil end up being determined to not hold enough oil or gas to make it profitable for energy companies to actually extract it. So the vast majority of those 68 million acres are not being used for a simple reason: they’re currently unusable.

Given this fact, it’s obvious that citing the amount of currently unused leased land is a ruse. It allows opponents of using American oil to seem as if they actually support it, when in truth they only support more drilling in areas where there is not enough oil to make it worthwhile to drill. In other words, they actually don’t support using our American oil to lower gas prices.

Either it is a ruse, or it is a testament to the profound arrogance of the Washington elite that they believe they understand the business of oil production better than American oil companies.

Drill here, drill now, pay less … in the short term and long term

Lastly, even if we were to accept the estimate of 10 years to get American oil into our gas tank (if America made it a priority to quickly extract our oil I’m confident we could find a way to speed up the process), there is good reason to believe the short-term affect on oil prices would be significant.

While estimates range on the degree to which oil futures trading is affecting the price of oil, there is broad consensus that it is playing a role. The very act of opening America’s vast oil deposits for extraction would send an immediate signal to speculators that supply will be increased, and that betting on higher prices for oil is no longer a safe investment. Prices will fall as a result.

Also, beginning the process of drilling for our American oil would allow us the freedom to empty part of the strategic oil reserve into the market on the promise it will be replenished by these future American sources. This immediate increase in the supply of oil would cause a decrease in price.

Make This July 4th Energy Independence Day

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, if your leaders aren’t listening to the clear, expressed will of the people then you have it in your power to change this, to send the message to Washington that this July 4th will be unlike other July 4ths.

This Independence Day we declare our energy independence. And we give our elected officials this choice:

Either take action to drill here and drill now for American oil or the American people will take action this fall.

What You Can Do NOW to Send a Message to Washington

Here’s what you can do:

If your Representative hasn’t signed the Westmoreland petition, contact him or her here and make your voice heard.
If you haven’t signed the “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” petition, click here and do so today. Our goal is to have three million signatures in time for the Republican and Democratic national conventions.
When your House member is back in the district for the Fourth of July holiday, take the opportunity to personally let him or her know that Americans don’t need to be suffering under $4-plus gas and that he has a responsibility to do something about it.

Senator McCain Proposes a $300 Million Prize for a “Super” Car Battery

One of the solutions we’ve proposed at American Solutions for reducing our dependence on foreign oil and producing more American energy is offering prizes for innovative answers to our energy needs.

When you think about it, prizes are the essence of the American way. Rather than bloated, bureaucratic government programs that are black holes for tax dollars, prizes unleash the creative, entrepreneurial spirit that built this country.

That’s why I am so pleased to see that Sen. John McCain has proposed a $300 million prize for the individual who can develop a “super” car battery that can power cars more cheaply and with less harm to the environment.

Congratulations to Sen. McCain for his faith in the ingenuity of the American people. Sen. Obama should join him in passing legislation to create this prize now. This is an idea whose time has come.

A Life Transformed By United Cerebral Palsy

Finally, today I want to mention a remarkable organization that is doing remarkable things for people with disabilities.

This past Thursday, I had the privilege to speak to the leadership of a wonderful organization and member of the Center for Health Transformation, United Cerebral Palsy. UCP may be one of the most effective organizations you’ve never heard of. Through their network of affiliates, they provide care to more than 30,000 people with disabilities each day. They approach their work with energy, wisdom and tremendous creativity.

To give you a sense for how this truly 21st century organization operates, their CEO, Steve Bennett, spent several weeks this past November in briefings across Silicon Valley to understand where technology is heading and how it can be put to use immediately to transform the lives of the 54 million Americans with disabilities. This is exactly the approach we need throughout our health system. Click here to learn more about this organization and how you can help.

One example of the wonderful results UCP and its affiliates can deliver is a remarkable girl named Gina. When Gina was just 2 years old she was diagnosed with autism. She did not really start speaking any words until after age 3. Last Thursday, at the age of 6, she sang the National Anthem as beautifully as I’ve ever heard it sung. You owe it to yourself to read her story here, and if you are planning an event you couldn’t find a better person to open it with the National Anthem.

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S. — Callista and I were very pleased to see this announcement that our film, “Rediscovering God in America” will be shown at the Carpenter’s Workshop Fellowship in Seven Valleys, Pa., on July 2. If your church or organization would like to show our film as well, click here to learn how.