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August 05, 2008

"Debate" Between Pelosi and "Moderate" Dems on Drilling "carefully gamed out in strategy sessions" in Order to Let Vulnerable Dems Appear Pro-Drilling, While Allowing the Election-Proof Pelosi to "Take the Heat"

The only surprise here is, "Why on earth would House Democratic aids admit the obvious?"

California Democrat Nancy Pelosi may be trying to save the planet — but the rank and file in her party increasingly are just trying to save their political hides when it comes to gas prices as Republicans apply more and more rhetorical muscle.

But what looks like intraparty tension on the surface is part of an intentional strategy in which Pelosi takes the heat on energy policy, while behind the scenes she’s encouraging vulnerable Democrats to express their independence if it helps them politically, according to Democratic aides on and off Capitol Hill.

Pelosi’s gambit rests on one big assumption: that Democrats will own Washington after the election and will be able to craft a sweeping energy policy that is heavy on conservation and fuel alternatives while allowing for some new oil drilling. Democrats see no need to make major concessions on energy policy with a party poised to lose seats in both chambers in just three months — even if recess-averse Republicans continue to pound away on the issue.

...

Democratic House aides say the energy agenda has been carefully gamed out in strategy sessions, and Pelosi always intended to take heat on gas prices while tacitly encouraging more vulnerable Democrats to publicly disagree with her and show their independence.

...

To some extent, House Republicans seem to be playing right along with the strategy, taking Pelosi’s name in vain dozens of times during their rebel House sessions over the past few days and making her the villain who won’t allow oil drilling votes.

But that last part is changing. I wrote about this transparent bit of Kabuki last week, noting that of course vulnerable Dems would pretend to be in favor of drilling, while permitting Pelosi to block actual votes. I also wrote, possibly incorrectly, that they'd get away with it, because I thought there was nothing tangible these Kabuki Democrats could be expected to do to show they were really pro-drilling rather than merely pro-reelection.

I may have been wrong about that last point. Minority Leader Boehner says there is something they can do -- sign a discharge petition to force the drilling bills to the floor over Pelosi's objection.

My message to Democratic lawmakers is this: if you’re really for increased American energy production, then prove it by putting it in writing. Sign the discharge petitions House Republicans are circulating that will force votes on energy legislation Speaker Pelosi refuses to bring to the floor. And sign onto the American Energy Act, our ‘all of the above’ plan to increase conservation, innovation, and American energy production, instead of doing the Speaker’s bidding by voting against bringing it to a vote. If you aren’t willing to put it in writing, you’re fooling no one. You’re siding with the Speaker of the Drill-Nothing Congress and radical special interests that favor higher gas prices, at the expense of energy-strapped American families.”

“This cynical strategy is disgustingly dishonest. Without any real solutions to help Americans who are struggling with record-high gas prices, it appears the Democratic leadership has hit on a new plan: deceive. Deceive the press, deceive its members, and deceive the American people. Democratic members have a ‘pass’ from their leaders to talk about drilling at home, while the liberal Democratic leadership – which is beholden to special interests that want higher gas prices – plays ‘rope-a-dope’ back in Washington, ensuring there is no vote to help the American people before November. It’s cynical, dishonest, and wrong – and it won’t work.

It will work, actually, unless Republicans not only turn the amplifiers up to 11 on this, but keep them at 11. The media will obviously assist Pelosi and the Kabuki "moderates" by pretending there's nothing these poor "moderate" Democrats can do to force the issue. The media will not discuss discharge petitions, nor will they discuss the cynical fraud being perpetrated on the public here. The only way to get this out to the public at all is to run ads on it, talk about it every single day, dropping just about every issue in favor of this one.

Either break the Pelosi one-woman-veto or expose the "moderate," "pro-energy" Democrats as liars subverting the national interest in favor of their own personal and party interests. One way or the other, the GOP must win on this issue to even have a chance of a fair showing in November.

Everything rides on this -- everything. Pelosi knows that. So do her "moderate" Democratic coconspirators. The Republicans had better know it too, and act like they know it.


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posted by Ace at 05:46 PM

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