House moderates: Little, late
Lest you start feeling twinges of fondness for Republican moderates thanks to their recent move to save the Arctic Refuge, remember that a) they’ve been totally passive in the face of five years of monstrosities, and b) the very legislation they’ve stripped refuge drilling out of itself remains a monstrosity. Sam Rosenfeld puts it well:
The House leadership’s decision to rescind the ANWR drilling measure from the reconciliation bill is being spun as a sign of the new power of the erstwhile pitiful Republican moderates. There’s a tiny bit of truth to that. But really, the fact that enough of them are now saying explicitly that removing that provision is sufficient to ensure the bill’s passage is more pathetic than impressive. The ANWR provision is in the Senate version of the spending bill; leadership assurances to the House moderates that the measure won’t return in a conference report should be taken with a grain of salt. Much more importantly, the rest of the bill is nearly unchanged, and is loaded with atrocities that moderate Republicans have spent plenty of time wringing their hands over but show little inclination to take action against.
This is another example of what I was talking about yesterday: For some reason it’s become safe or convenient for righties to start making concessions or taking stands on the environment. But this budget reconciliation bill still contains drastic spending cuts for kids and poor people. Do greens stand down now that they got what they wanted? Or do they continue to fight on behalf of other elements of the progressive coalition?