Aug 16 2008
The “true” conservatives, whose invectives against moderate and independent conservatives (e.g., RINOS,Â Quislings, etc)Â successfully handed Congress to the liberals in 2006, are again pointing their guns at the kind of non-fringe compromise which America wants on serious issues facing this nation. One of the big ‘failures’ in the eyes of The Gang That Can’t Shoot StraightÂ during President Bush’s first term was the Gang of 14, who helped avoid a zero-sum senate showdown over Bush’s judicial nominations and re-balanced this nation’s courts away from the liberal tilt that had our judicial system badly listing to port.
Now another Gang of moderates is BEGINNING the discussion on a balanced and comprehensive (a word the far right abhors) energy plan. I think the current proposal is too weak and doesn’t open up enough drilling opportunities, so I am not supporting the details. But I must note that the entire concept of bridging the aisles to help Americans cope with energy prices is THE answer America wants, no matter what the details are in this initial phase of the effort. Will this group produce perfection and Nirvana? Pullease. It is a legislative process, perfection never comes out of a legislative process.
But what is totally self destructive is the inane claims from the far right that a compromise starting position is wrong. To the contrary, the reason the Dems have been taking heat on energy is because they have been stubbornÂ ideologuesÂ more interested in political wins than solving the problems. And into the mess comes the far right – doing the exact same thing!
LET’S DRILL THE GANG OF 10
Or, maybe not. Any guesses as to Mr. Udall’s other action this week? That’s right. He embraced the Gang of 10′s “compromise.” It wasn’t a huge sacrifice, since the proposal mostly limits drilling to a few coastal states, while spending $84 billion in subsidies primarily for the sort of “green” energy Mr. Udall favors. Meantime, he’s betting the “bipartisan” nature of that bill will provide him political protection against Mr. Schaffer’s attacks, while heading off more aggressive GOP drilling proposals in Congress this September.
Among the five Republican Senators in the Gang of 10 is John McCain’s close friend Lindsey Graham and, unbelievably, South Dakota’s solidly conservative John Thune.Â
This is ridiculous. These are beginning discussions. With the right pressure the limited drilling could be greatly expanded as the process moves forward. And we could also add in the building of nuclear power plants and oil refining capacity – two things much more important than a few more drill heads. This is the opening of debate, not capitulation and surrender. We on the conservative side want the liberals to be more open minded on Iraq and the war on terror, yet we cannot muster an ounce of respect for those on our side who do open their minds and discussions. The entire point of the article referenced is how the pressure on Democrats has them moving in our direction. Why risk this and more progress by denigrating the process?
What America is weary of is the inability of the parties to find reasoned compromise. What drives the GOP to the margins of history is their inability to respect good faith discussions and reasoned compromise. They have this knee-jerk annoying habit of looking down their nose at anyone who tries to solve problems. And it is why the Democrats are poised to win the elections this year despite their abysmal performance on all issues important to Americans.
Because in the end, rightly or wrongly, the Democrats are seen as respecting the average American. And given the tone of some on the right like Michael Savage, Pat Buchanan, Michelle Malkin and others it is a wonder the GOP is not in more trouble. Stop the war on reasonable discussion of options folks. Stop dividing America by setting purity tests for the left and right. It is the middle of the country that selects the path of the country. Insulting opportunity to solve problems is no way to win their support.
Update: Â I meant to add a link to my posts on the Gang of 14, so here it is!
Addendum: Reader Terrye notes all the good points in this starting position from which something could get passed and help Americans with energy prices:
I saw the following over atÂ InstapunditÂ a couple of days ago:
1. The â€œgang of 10â€³ bill unilaterally opens up drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, with no state veto. The GOP bill didnâ€™t do that, because Mel Martinez and Charlie Crist didnâ€™t want it. Non-Gulf states Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas can opt-in if they like; the old GOP bill was opt-in everywhere, allowing Florida to block drilling in the Gulf off of its shores.
2. The bill also allows for seismic exploration along the entire continental shelf.
3. The ban on drilling within 50 miles of the coast was also in the GOP bill.
4. Contrary to many commentatorsâ€™ claims, the â€œgang of tenâ€ bill is not a lifeline for Obama: â€œWhat a bunch of C-R-A-P. â€ (Yes, he spelled it out like that) â€œIf Obama embraced this, he would be the biggest flipflopper ever.â€ A lot of the opposition to the bill is really a case of trying to keep drilling as an election issue instead of getting more drilling.
5. The bill includes a Zubrin-like flex-fuel provision, requiring that 75% of cars by 2015 and 85% by 2020 be capable of running on something besides gasoline.
6. â€œOur bill also opens up coal-to-liquids. We couldnâ€™t have gotten 44 Republicans for that.â€
7. The bill is â€œincredibly aggressiveâ€ on nuclear power, including accelerated-depreciation provisions like those for solar and wind power, more NRC resources to speed licensing, and an end to the Carter-era ban on nuclear fuel reprocessing. â€œWe couldnâ€™t have gotten 44 Republicans on this.â€
As I read the comments from the right on this post I am reminded of how there are infinite reasons not to act, but leaders take a chance and act with a plan to win as much as possible. The GOP lost the capacity to act years ago, and instead hides behind smarmy comments and faux perfection of policy. It might seem brave, but it really is not. With a Democrat run Congress there is definitely a strong possibility there will be concessions on some items – but the GOP gave up the opportunity to lead the debate when they let the Democrats win.
Fear of some Democrat successes in the package is not a reason to not act. It is not a reason to slam fellow conservatives willing to take a risk and see what can be done for America. What this boils down to is a fear to act covered up by excuses and alibis. Sorry, I am not impressed with all the handwringing and predictions of doom. And to try and cover up this fear to act by insulting others just compounds the sin.Â
America needs an energy policy, not a lot of partisan strutting and cackling.