THE BLOG
05/05/2008 08:52 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Will Hillary Repeal the Clinton Gas Tax?

Bill Clinton raised the gas tax and no one in the political press seems to remember that, including George Stephanopoulos, who helped him do it.

Most political reporters obviously have no idea that in his first year in office President Bill Clinton raised the gas tax. He did it in a package of tax increases that amounted to the biggest tax increase in history, and after a presidential campaign whose centerpiece was a middle class tax cut that he forgot about once in office. If reporters knew that President Clinton raised gas taxes by 4.3 cents, they would be peppering Hillary and Bill with questions about the Clinton gas tax hike like, if you think gas taxes are too high now, are you in favor of repealing the Clinton nickel?

Bill Clinton actually wanted a much higher gas tax within the structure of a new BTU tax on every form of energy we use, but a 4.3 cent increase in the gas tax was all that we could squeeze out of Congress. I say we because I was the chief of staff of the Senate Finance Committee where I helped strategize its passage by one vote. It passed the House and Senate by one vote. Many Democrats in Congress lost their jobs in the next election because of that vote -- a vote Bill Clinton begged them to cast.

I was sure that when Stephanopoulos got his chance to grill Hillary about her proposed temporary cut in gas taxes, he would bring up the Clinton nickel. But, no, not a word about it. And, of course, Barack Obama's lame TV commercial responding to Hillary's TV commercial attacking his elitist position on the gas tax does not mention the Clinton nickel. Hillary says she wants to give drivers a three month 18 cent a gallon cut in the gas tax after her husband forced drivers to pay an extra nickel per gallon for fifteen years and gets away with it because no one remembers the Clinton nickel. Anyone who votes for Clinton in order to save 18 cents per gallon for 3 months should not let her stop there; they should demand that she repeal the Clinton nickel. And then we'll find out if her pandering knows no bounds.