The House Democrats, like their presidential nominee, appear to be on the verge of walking away from a winning strategy. On Tuesday, I noted, it looked like they were going to embrace the Gang-of-10 position on offshore drilling, which is obviously the way to go from both a policy and strategic messaging point of view.
From a policy perspective, the “New Energy Reform Act of 2008” (aka Gang-of-10 proposal — now Gang-of-16) is something for nothing — de minimis and “opt in” drilling off the coast of a handful of Eastern states in return for some very strong clean energy policies, including an unprecedented five-year extension of the renewable tax credits. From a messaging perspective, the simpler message usually wins (unless, apparently, you’re a Democrat).
“Drill here, drill now” is obviously a simple message, one the Dems have failed to rebut. That said, “we endorse the bipartisan all-of-the-above drilling compromise from the Senate” is also a simple and politically winning message. Geez, the Gang-of-10 even includes close McCain ally Lindsey Graham.
That’s why I think the House and Senate Dems should simply have embraced the Gang-of-10 plan and put it — and nothing else — up for a vote, as I’ve said. If the GOP didn’t block it, then the Dems would have neutralized the issue and gotten something for nothing. Equally important, they would have avoided the criminally negligent act of letting the renewable tax credits expire at the end of the year. If the GOP did block it, then the Dems would have more than neutralized the issue — they would have turned the tables on the GOP, and given themselves a potent talking point and 30-second ad for the fall.
Not to be. E&E News (subs. req’d) reports today: