I think Kevin Drum is being too hard on Obama here. Obama and the entire Democratic Party are getting killed on energy right now. The pressure to do something is extraordinary. Obama is looking for concessions that can take some of the heat off without giving away the game, and in terms of concessions, opening the SPR and taxing windfall profits are two of the least offensive.
You can dispute the political calculation — maybe he should have doubled down and bet big that the American people would suddenly start rewarding rationality and principle — but I don’t think it’s remotely fair to equate what Obama’s doing and what McCain’s doing. Obama’s dodging and weaving, trying to get through the rest of the year so he can get in office and start implementing his extraordinarily good energy plan. McCain’s energy plan is nothing but panders all the way down.
Honestly, I think Kevin’s ire is better directed at progressives who have left Obama and their national leadership out to dry on this. The pushback has been abysmal to nonexistent. The Obama campaign can’t be expected to be the entire message machine.