I’m not sure what’s more astonishing, the current political drama around energy or the utter and complete failure of the media to portray it accurately.
Let’s recall what’s happened over this past session. Congress had some 13 chances to support renewable energy, as bill after bill was put forward by Democrats. Republicans blocked them all.
Now Republicans have gotten the idea in their head that drilling for oil in protected areas in the U.S. is a political winner, so they are camping out in D.C., throwing a hissy fit, demanding that Pelosi bring Congress back into session and allow them and up-or-down vote on drilling.
They are packaging this fiasco as an "all of the above" energy strategy — as in, they support renewables and efficiency, but they also want drilling. Sounds so reasonable, right?
So a group of 10 legislators, five from each party, has put together a compromise bill, which would do exactly what they Republicans say they want: it would open up protected areas to drilling, while also boosting efficiency and renewables.
Obama and Pelosi have both signaled in the last week that they would be willing to support the bill. They will give a little ground on drilling, which they don’t favor, in order to put in place measures that support renewables, which they do favor. For their efforts, the media has now said they’ve "flip-flopped" on drilling.
Meanwhile, McCain has refused to support the compromise. House Republicans have refused to support the compromise. Rush Limbaugh and his band of dittoheads are going absolutely ballistic on the compromise, flooding the legislators responsible with angry phone calls and claiming that it’s going to sink McCain’s presidential campaign.
To summarize: Democratic leaders have signaled that they are willing to meet Republicans halfway in order to pass a comprehensive energy policy. Republicans have refused, demanding a vote that would do nothing but serve the interests of their oil company donors.
In other words, Republicans are avoiding anything that might move legislation forward, quite deliberately. They see this as a political winner and they don’t want it to get resolved.
Those are the facts — all publicly available. Now go out and read a few stories about this in national newspapers. Watch a little cable news. Is this what you hear? Is this what the public’s being told?
No. Republicans are being rewarded for their foot-stomping intransigence by having their "all of the above" line passed along uncritically. Democrats are being rewarded for their willingness to compromise by being tagged "flip-floppers." Sometimes I wonder how Nancy Pelosi avoids pulling her hair out.