Yesterday I posted some of an article from Congressional Quarterly about the mad rush by some Congressfolk — particularly Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) — to get Arctic Refuge drilling passed this year. They sense that this is their last chance.

I really encourage you to go read it if you haven’t already. It’s quite eye-opening.

Stevens is aiming to put Gulf hurricane relief and refuge drilling together in the same bill (either the budget bill or the defense appropriations bill), so lawmakers have to vote for both or against both.

“It’s going to be awfully hard to vote against [hurricane aid],” Stevens said. “If it’s in there, maybe people will vote with me on ANWR.”

Take a moment and really think that over.

Stevens is talking about holding aid to desperately needy people hostage in order to shove through a drilling provision contrary to the repeatedly expressed preferences of the majority of Americans.

By now this kind of stuff barely raises an eyebrow — Stevens obviously feels no shame openly discussing it — but that doesn’t make it any less venal.