The Senate is alive and well with finger pointing, claims, accusations, innuendo and well alot of baloney. While posing for pictures at the capitol hill Exxon one block away, Senators from both parties didn't quite practice what they preach. What's good for America, according to lawmakers, isn't good for them.
Barbara Boxer (D-CA) left the station in a waiting Chrysler LHS (18 mpg), even though her Senate office was one block away.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N) also drove the one block to and from the gas-station news conference, albeit in a relatively efficient Hyundai Elantra.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) was a model of conservation. She shooed away her driver and ducked into a sushi restaurant for lunch. Of course she drove to the news conference.
At about the same time, House Republicans were meeting in the Capitol for their weekly caucus (Topic A: gas). The House driveway was jammed with cars, many idling, including eight Chevrolet Suburbans (14 mpg).
After lunchtime votes, senators emerged for the drive across the street to their offices.
Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) hopped in a GMC Yukon (14 mpg). Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) climbed aboard a Nissan Pathfinder (15). Sen. Ben Nelson (D-N) stepped into an eight-cylinder Ford Explorer (14). Sen. Dianne Feinstein D-CA) disappeared into a Lincoln Town Car (17). Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) met up with an idling Chrysler minivan (18).
Next came Sen. Bob Menendez, (D-NJ) greeted by a Ford Explorer XLT (14). On the Senate floor Tuesday, Menendez had complained that Bush "remains opposed to higher fuel-efficiency standards."
Also waiting: three Suburbans, a Nissan V8 Armada, two Cadillacs and a Lexus. The greenest senator was Richard Lugar (R-IN) picked up by his hybrid Toyota Prius (60 mpg). His Indiana counterpart, Democrat Evan Bayh (D-IN) was met by a Dodge Durango V8 (14).
A surreptitious look at cars in the senators-only spots inside and outside the Senate office buildings found an Escort and a Sentra (super-rich Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl's spot had a Chevy Lumina), but far more Jaguars, Cadillacs and Lexuses and a fleet of SUVs made by Ford, Honda, BMW and Lexus.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) emerged from the lunch looking for his ride when he spied The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray. Reconsidering, he set out on foot. "I need the exercise," he said.