Politics and predictions help make Propane Days

July 1, 2008 By    

Propane Days packs its own kind of pressure situations.

 The popular Tucker Carlson took us inside his political mind and behind the political scenes while making  us laugh.
The popular Tucker Carlson took us inside his political mind and behind the political scenes while making us laugh.

As a panel of NPGA representatives addressed industry members preceding the initial trip to Capitol Hill, several comparisons came to mind: A general commanding his soldiers, a coach prepping his athletes or a teacher explaining and clarifying an issue to his students.

“You don’t have to speak their language,” Rick Roldan, NPGA’s president and CEO, assured the group before meetings with members of Congress on key issues. “They need to speak your language.”

And so went Propane Days 2008, the annual lobbying event that began in 2005 and has increased in attendance each year. More than 300 people were in Washington, D.C. June 9-11 to represent the propane industry. Key issues this year focused on the Department of Homeland Security’s chemical facility legislation, climate change and tax credits.

Inside scoop

The popular Tucker Carlson took us inside his political mind and behind the political scenes while making us laugh. Did you know John McCain loves donuts or that he bases much of his success on luck? Did you know Hillary Clinton once exchanged middle fingers with an anti-Clinton amateur hockey player after he offered his first while they passed on the street?

As a political analyst and correspondent for MSNBC, Carlson is privy to the inside scoop of Washington – and he loves to share. He predicts a “potentially disastrous” year for Republicans and a victory for Barack Obama in November. But he also points to reasons Democrats could “still screw it up and lose.”

Carlson thinks Democrats have already nominated the wrong candidate in the primary. Clinton is the tougher candidate (“she’s taken more abuse than any political figure I know,” he says) and had won the more important votes to Obama’s partisan votes.

Obama also needs to control the enthusiasm of his hard-core fans, or he could lose votes, Carlson believes. The reason being some of his supporters don’t want to be grouped with others whom with they can’t identify. “People will say, ‘I don’t want this,'” and choose another route, Carlson predicts.

While McCain became the Republican nominee “by accident,” he’s still the best representative for the party, Carlson says. He adds that McCain is energetic – “an animal” – but a lot of voters are worried about his age.

Future president?

Listening to Newt Gingrich speak during Propane Days, you can’t help but wonder why the former Speaker of the House hasn’t been president yet. Or if he’ll consider a serious run for the White House in 2012. In fact, he was asked during his speech to industry members if he’d run for president, to which he responded, “Not this year.” In an election season when candidates speak in general terms devoid of specifics, Gingrich impresses most with his clarity and ideas for change.

Thank-you note

A special thanks goes to Joe Rose, Judy Taylor and the Propane Gas Association of New England for allowing me to follow them into the offices of New Hampshire and Rhode Island representatives and senators. It was an educational experience into the workings of Washington and the lobbying campaign of the propane industry.

brichesson@northcoastmedia.net

Brian Richesson

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

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