Monday, August 11, 2008

GOP grasps defeat out of the jaws of victory again

From Kimberly Strassel in the WSJ, the sad story of the GOP undermining themselves on (what would easily have been) the #1 issue of the 2008 campaign...

Politics has its puzzling moments. John McCain and most of the GOP experienced one late last week. That was when five of their own set about dismantling the best issue Republicans have in the upcoming election.

It's taken time, but Sen. McCain and his party have finally found -- in energy -- an issue that's working for them. Riding voter discontent over high gas prices, the GOP has made anti-drilling Democrats this summer's headlines.

Their enthusiasm has given conservative candidates a boost in tough races. And Mr. McCain has pressured Barack Obama into an energy debate, where the Democrat has struggled to explain shifting and confused policy proposals.

Still, it was probably too much to assume every Republican would work out that their side was winning this issue. And so, last Friday, in stumbled Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Saxby Chambliss, Bob Corker and Johnny Isakson -- alongside five Senate Democrats. This "Gang of 10" announced a "sweeping" and "bipartisan" energy plan to break Washington's energy "stalemate." What they did was throw every vulnerable Democrat, and Mr. Obama, a life preserver.

That's because the plan is a Democratic giveaway. New production on offshore federal lands is left to state legislatures, and then in only four coastal states. The regulatory hurdles are huge. And the bill bars drilling within 50 miles of the coast -- putting off limits some of the most productive areas. Alaska's oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is still a no-go.

The highlight is instead $84 billion in tax credits, subsidies and federal handouts for alternative fuels and renewables. The Gang of 10 intends to pay for all this in part by raising taxes on . . . oil companies! The Sierra Club couldn't have penned it better. And so the Republican Five has potentially given antidrilling Democrats the political cover they need to neutralize energy through November....

It's not quite this clean-- at least at the Congressional level. The intuitive, common-sense position still has tremendous clout-- and from what I've seen, when pressed even a little bit, the Democratic boiler-plate is lame and contradictory.

But, in a time when the GOP has come up so lame, it's troubling to see them shooting themselves in the foot again...


At August 14, 2008 at 11:01 AM , Blogger Martina said...

Lindsay Graham learned very well from his Gang of 14 leader...


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