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Gang-of-10 deal, Part 4: Pick of B.O.S.S. Palin and McCain’s speech make it a must for Dems

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"Gang-of-10 deal, Part 4: Pick of B.O.S.S. Palin and McCain’s speech make it a must for Dems"

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The Senate bipartisan compromise on offshore drilling is, as I’ve argued, “Something for nothing.” But the “Drill, baby, drill” Republican National Convention and the VP selection of Big Oil Super Shill (B.O.S.S.) Palin mean McCain has doubled down on drilling. [I say it's 50-50 that he makes the final flip flop to embrace drilling in the Arctic national wildlife refuge, but that's for another post.]

And in his acceptance speech, McCain doubled down — or perhaps gone “all in” is the better gambling metaphor — on the absurd notion that he actually believes in reaching across the aisle. The Gang-of-10 bill is the best chance — indeed, the only chance — the Dems will have to simultaneously give the lie to McCain’s faux bipartisanship and to expose the Big Energy Lie, the absurd notion that McCain and the Republicans believe in an all-of-the-above energy for dealing with our energy crises.

Yes, I know the country already opened up the vast majority of offshore areas for drilling, and oil prices doubled since then (see “Offshore drilling raises oil prices*). And I know offshore drilling will never lower gasoline prices Americans pay (see “The cruel offshore-drilling hoax, Part 1“). But we lost that debate. Why? The Dems are simply too terrible and inconsistent at messaging — and the drama-driven media simply refuses to publish the facts of the matter. It is politically inconceivable we won’t open some of the coastal plains for drilling, if not at $4 a gallon, then when we get to $6 or $8.

That means Dems who oppose more coastal drilling are taking a big political hit for no reason at all. So it’s time for enviros and progressives to get over it. And the Gang-of-10 bill is not just something for nothing. It is a whole bunch of good things — from both a political and policy perspective — for nothing:

  1. The Gang-of-10 deal is the least possible amount of additional coastal drilling we are going to do.
  2. The good things in the bill, most especially the five-year extension of the renewable energy tax credits, are simply too good to pass up.
  3. Forcing McCain to vote for or against this bill — or skip it entirely — could be a genuine political game changer.

Let me drill down on #3. Political debates are won by the people who have to do the least amount of explaining. Until now, by appearing to be dead set against drilling, the Dems were clearly not for “all of the above,” seemed to be against bipartisanship, and indeed were clearly against what the public has come to believe he is an obvious part of the solution.

There is no simple justification for voting against this compromise for any Republican claiming to be for an “all of the above” energy policy, claiming to be someone who bucks his party to reach across the aisle for the best ideas of both parties. And yet McCain’s new oil industry string-pullers hate the bill (see “Dog bites man’s compromise“). A vote against the bill would be devastating to McCain’s entire energy and political message. But a vote for the bill would largely take the offshore drilling issue off the table. And failing to show up for a vote might be the worst of all for him.

It now appears Senate Democrats are smart enough to take yes for an answer (see “Senate Dems push bipartisan drilling bill“). This will be one of the most important Senate votes in a while.

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12 Responses to Gang-of-10 deal, Part 4: Pick of B.O.S.S. Palin and McCain’s speech make it a must for Dems

  1. mauri pelto says:

    Do not blame it all on the media and Dem’s I think the simple knee jerk answer is what people like to beleive first. If we take the time to think about it, then ….yeah, but most don’t. Not enough oil today, lets fix it today by drilling, is much more direct and straight forward an answer, despite being wrong. I saw a TV ad against NH Senator Sununu that I wish would be used against McCain, they cited his voting record on alternatives, versus his rhetoric very effective indeed.

  2. Ronald says:

    How does the deal compare to the deal with oil that Alaska has? Or Texas? Appparently Alaska gets 80 percent of it’s budget from Oil production tax revenue. Much of that money goes directly to each Alaskian. Something like Hansen has proposed, and maybe more should be written about it on the Main Stream Media.

    I don’t remember specifically about this, but I think I heard that Texas has a good offshore oil drilling deal and Lousiana has a bad deal. Lousiana hardly gets any money from the oil production (extraction) offshore.

  3. Brewster says:

    Mauri, I think you’re right.

    People are not thinking through the Rep position, they’re just reacting.

    They WANT drilling to be the answer…

  4. paulm says:

    note worthy:

    ‘Climate crisis’ needs brain gain
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7603257.stm

    The most brilliant minds should be directed to solving Earth’s greatest challenges, such as climate change, says Sir David King.
    Former UK chief scientist

    Note the single parentheses in title. Media let down again.

    The former UK chief scientist

  5. Kevin says:

    Hi, Joe,

    You might want to check out Easterbrook’s review of Friedman’s new book over at Slate. I think he may have a man-crush on Lumborg. An appalling lack of supporting evidence considering he criticizes Friedman for the committing the same crime.

  6. Joe says:

    Kevin — I saw it. Yes, Easterbrook = Lomborg. It is a laughable piece. It’s on my list….

  7. Mark Shapiro says:

    The CEPR report that you cite is a horrifying analysis: NONE of the networks cite the EIA data when talking about drilling. Why have they simply caved to the Republican talking points so completely and willingly? (They are actually feeding a mob frenzy.)

    And if I can crib from a prior comment, Jon Stewart at the Daily Show provides a must-see of how it works:
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=178663&title=Indecision-2008—To-Drill-or-Not-to-Drill

    Nobody connects the dots like Jon Stewart.

    [JR: Yes, I've been meaning to do a separate post on the CEPR report. I'll put it on the list for this week.]

  8. Mark Shapiro says:

    Yikes. I just watched Stewart again, and though imperfect, he’s even better than I remembered:
    – He actually does cite the EIA data!
    – He aired this back on Aug. 6.

    And remember: drill, baby, drill = burn, baby, burn. Yes, the drillers, deniers, and delayers are the new dirty hippy radicals.

  9. Bob Wallace says:

    “People are not thinking through the Rep position, they’re just reacting.

    They WANT drilling to be the answer…”

    People want AN answer. And what alternative solution other than drilling has been provided?

    Honestly I don’t think anyone has a better solution at the moment.

    (Not saying that we can drill our way to cheaper oil. But drilling would help delay some future prices raises if nothing else changes.)

    If we could see one or two affordable electric/PHEV cars on the road then a strong alternate solution could be put forth.

    Show people a car that they could plug in and buy $1 “gas” from the utility company for 80% of their driving. I’d bet you would see the support for more drilling to drop through the floor.

    We’ve got a multi-year window for the Chevy Volt or Prius Plug-in or something else workable to appear. No one is going to start drilling this year or the next or the next.

    If oil companies see a car that mostly runs on renewable energy hit the market they aren’t going to punch any very expensive holes in the sea bed. They understand demand decay.

  10. thingsbreak says:

    Kevin — I saw it. Yes, Easterbrook = Lomborg. It is a laughable piece. It’s on my list….

    My initial take on it here. Why on Earth he of all people is given a forum to comment on science is beyond me. And his reference to Cullen was lower than low.

  11. red says:

    “I say it’s 50-50 that he makes the final flip flop to embrace drilling in the Arctic national wildlife refuge, but that’s for another post.”

    If it comes to that, it will be a great opportunity for another compromise.

  12. Ronald says:

    I wrote that McCain would want to open ANWR to drilling and I was wrong. I thought he would want to do it to change the debate about Palin to how terrible. . . to how inexperienced she is to drilling. But the right answer was to promote the military-commander stuff.

    If I keep guessing, I’ll be get it sometime. The time to come out for drilling in ANWR is a week before the vice pres debate. That way they might get 30 percent of the questions on drilling on something they are stronger in to the American public.