GOP Snatches Defeat From The Jaws of Victory

Simply amazing! They had the Democrats over a barrel. More than 70% of Americans want us to drill for our own oil and the gang of five find a way to go with the minority. I cannot believe the incompetence they have displayed. Kimberly A. Strassel from the WSJ is on it.

Politics has its puzzling moments. John McCain and most of the GOP experienced one late last week. That was when five of their own set about dismantling the best issue Republicans have in the upcoming election.

It’s taken time, but Sen. McCain and his party have finally found — in energy — an issue that’s working for them. Riding voter discontent over high gas prices, the GOP has made antidrilling Democrats this summer’s headlines.

[Republican Energy Fumble]
AP
Members of the “Gang of 10” discuss their energy plan, Aug. 1.

Their enthusiasm has given conservative candidates a boost in tough races. And Mr. McCain has pressured Barack Obama into an energy debate, where the Democrat has struggled to explain shifting and confused policy proposals.

Still, it was probably too much to assume every Republican would work out that their side was winning this issue. And so, last Friday, in stumbled Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Saxby Chambliss, Bob Corker and Johnny Isakson — alongside five Senate Democrats. This “Gang of 10” announced a “sweeping” and “bipartisan” energy plan to break Washington’s energy “stalemate.” What they did was throw every vulnerable Democrat, and Mr. Obama, a life preserver.

That’s because the plan is a Democratic giveaway. New production on offshore federal lands is left to state legislatures, and then in only four coastal states. The regulatory hurdles are huge. And the bill bars drilling within 50 miles of the coast — putting off limits some of the most productive areas. Alaska’s oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is still a no-go.

The highlight is instead $84 billion in tax credits, subsidies and federal handouts for alternative fuels and renewables. The Gang of 10 intends to pay for all this in part by raising taxes on . . . oil companies! The Sierra Club couldn’t have penned it better. And so the Republican Five has potentially given antidrilling Democrats the political cover they need to neutralize energy through November.

Sen. Obama was thrilled. He quickly praised the Gang’s bipartisan spirit, and warmed up to a possible compromise. Of course, he means removing even the token drilling provisions now in the bill. But he’s only too happy for the focus to remain on the Gang’s efforts, and in particular on the five Republicans providing his party its fig leaf.

Equally gleeful was Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrat. She had been sweating the energy debate, especially after her vote against more oil-shale production — a position her Republican opponent, John Kennedy, had used against her to great effect. Yet there she was, chummily standing with the Gang of 10 and boasting that she is working with “five Republicans” to “lower prices at the pump by increasing offshore drilling here at home.”

Mr. McCain, who had been commanding the energy debate, was left to explain why he, of all people, wasn’t more enthusiastic about a “bipartisan” effort on energy, especially one that includes “drilling.” His camp was forced to take refuge in taxes, explaining that their boss couldn’t sign up for a bill that included more. If this is what Mr. McCain’s good friend Lindsey Graham considers “helping,” somebody might want to ask him to stop.

Read the rest HERE.

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