The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Thursday, July 17, 2008

Energy Showdown in Congress? ONLY IF WE MAKE IT HAPPEN NOW

Ed Frank writes in National Review about the coming showdown in Congress over drilling. He rightly paints this as a WINNING issue for Conservatism and for the upcoming elections--IF AND ONLY IF THE REPUBLICANS DO NOT BACK DOWN. This means you need to stop worrying and start typing and dialing. Senate here. Congress here. The President here.

No more screwing around. We need to drill NOW, and Republicans need to make a stand NOW. 2/3 of ALL Americans are for drilling NOW.

Here is the gist of Frank's argument (read the whole thing):
President Bush’s lifting of the executive ban on offshore drilling this week is more than a symbolic gesture. It means the only thing preventing expanded offshore oil-and-gas development is a temporary, one-year congressional ban set to expire on September 30. While Congress has a habit of re-imposing this ban each year, it has never gotten around to writing it into permanent law. This creates a key opportunity for supporters of domestic energy production, including the president, to force a showdown.

It will take an act of Congress and the president’s signature (or a veto override in both the House and Senate) to extend the current ban on new offshore drilling. And since congressional Democrats have essentially shut down the appropriations process — because they know they would lose an amendment vote that would lift the ban — they don’t want to schedule a stand-alone vote that would extend the ban.

The word around Washington is that the Democrats plan to pass a long-term continuing resolution or omnibus spending bill that would fund government operations between October 1 and the inauguration of a new president in January. (Obviously, they’re hoping for a President Obama.) You can bet any final spending package will come with an extension of the offshore drilling ban. Democrats will assume that Republicans will go along with a deal to wrap up business and get home to campaign — daring them to oppose it.

If Republicans are smart, they’ll do just that. If they oppose a deal, they’ll force Democrats to explain to the American people just why they’d shut down the government rather than increase responsible domestic-energy production that would ease the pain at the pump.

Taking this stand is the right thing for the president and Republicans to do, both from a policy and national-security standpoint. But it’s also a political winner.

This won’t be your father’s government shutdown from the Clinton years, when Democrats accused Republicans of “trying to decimate Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment.” The American people overwhelmingly understand this issue to be one of supply and demand, with 76 percent of citizens in a June Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll saying they support an immediate increase in oil drilling in the United States. A full 71 percent of Democrats in the same poll agreed. Similarly, a June poll by Zogby showed 74 percent of Americans favoring offshore drilling and 59 percent supporting exploration in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

This is a political fight the free-market guys actually can win. Americans will hear the message loud and clear: “Congressional Democrats are shutting down government because they stubbornly refuse to increase domestic energy production, keeping us dependent on foreign oil from Hugo Chavez and the Middle East and forcing the price of gasoline unnecessarily high.”

Congressional Democrats are already tying themselves into rhetorical knots as they attempt to come up with a palatable position on the issue of domestic energy production. Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls for the president to tap into the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, saying this would “expand available supplies and help reduce the record prices.” She then turns around and describes as “an absolute hoax” the idea that prices would drop as a result of building supplies through increased production.
This is our moment. If Republicans do not have the killer instinct to carry this argument now--knowing it has the support of almost every American citizen, what CAN it ever accomplish? There could not be a more golden opportunity to separate serious men and women from their vapid counterparts: economically illiterate Marxist ideologues.

Let's win this thing. NOW. Go sign the petition. Give to the cause. And dial those offices and write those letters and emails.
DiscerningTexan, 7/17/2008 09:38:00 PM |