Conservatives have long had offshore drilling in their sights. They consider it one of their many fronts in the war against liberals and their envrionmental wackos.... The reason they're pushing for offshore drilling now is because of FISA. They know they can go around spouting complete lies on these issues and the congressional democrats will still capitulate every single time. If the Dems gave in on F[I]SA, what else will they give in on? Make no mistake; there will be more of these before November.
James wrote that before Obama said he was interested in the Gang of 10 approach while in Florida, the one state where the Gang's bill wouldn't give any choice about drilling. A different judgment comes from lowkell, who writes:
Would a limited compromise on offshore drilling - which won't accomplish much of anything, but is politically popular - be worth it in a tradeoff with some serious, sound policy making that really COULD make a difference? I'd need to see the details, including stringent environmental protections in any new oil drilling areas, but overall I'm open to a "grand bargain" that would really break our oil addiction, not to mention the power of OPEC. My guess is that a lot of Americans would be as well.
lowkell is right that the devil's in the details, but there's also something very troubling about who is at the center of this effort on the Democratic side:
- Kent Conrad
- Mary Landrieu
- Blanche Lincoln
- Mark Pryor
- Ben Nelson
Somehow, that group doesn't really inspire me as the "yeah, let's figure out a way to tax oil companies to build a better future" crowd. According to OpenSecrets, over the years, Conrad has received almost $700K from energy industry PACs; Landrieu, almost $900K; Lincoln, $558K; (Ben) Nelson, $310; Pryor, $167K. The first two are a function of geography: of course Landrieu would receive a larger share of energy PAC $$ than the others on the list. But after FISA, there's something about this that led me to think this "deal" doesn't smell right. The sometimes-squishy senator from my state had the best response yesterday, at least in the St. Pete Times article:
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., told Senate Democratic leaders that any attempt to open the west coast to drilling would be met with a fight. Nelson said he will be working to educate Obama on the repercussions of drilling 50 miles off the coast.