IT IS A fact that many Americans are struggling economically, and that the high price of a gallon of gasoline is largely to blame. As a result, the voting public wants somebody, anybody, to do something - anything.
Now, Sen. Hillary Clinton is attempting to tap into that desperation by siding with the cockamamie suggestion by presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain to suspend the 18.4-cents a gallon federal excise tax on gasoline for the summer.
Because this tax "holiday" would take at least $10 billion from road repairs and construction, it was a foolish idea when Senator McCain suggested it, and that has not changed.
Parroting the Republican nominee's bad idea isn't our notion of leadership. And it only confirms the suspicion that Senator Clinton is willing to do whatever it takes to win the Democratic nomination.
Each of the presidential candidates claims to understand the immense burden ordinary Americans are under trying to maintain their households while essentially robbing both Peter and Paul to keep gas in their cars. Truck drivers have protested in Washington this week, and other motorists are exasperated anteing upward of $50 every time they fill up.
But Senator Clinton's unoriginal remedy shows she's grasping for straws. Why not just tell the truth and remind the voters that not every enticing short-term fix is worth the long-term damage to the highway system? That's what Sen. Barack Obama has done.
The federal highway trust fund should not be fiddled with on the whim of Congress or in the heat of an election campaign. All but a small portion of the fuel tax pays to maintain roads and bridges which, last we checked, are in terrible shape. Trading one problem for another is no solution.
The answer to the high cost of gasoline is a complex one that requires the equivalent of major surgery, not a simplistic Band-Aid approach.
Senator Clinton's unimaginative acceptance of the GOP candidate's approach borders on the pathetic. She should stick with issues that would make a real difference for Americans.