I’m seeing this kind of thing all over the place:

Faced with stiff Republican opposition that is backed by Bush’s veto threat, Democrats made misstep after misstep in trying to pass this energy bill. It was too ambitious. It tried to force utilities to increase production of renewable energy in the face of fierce opposition by the utility industry group, and it included a tax package that the White House has long indicated it would not support.

Second, Republicans also felt like they were left out of the negotiating process in reconciling the House and Senate versions of the bill. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., complained bitterly that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had assembled the bill with Democratic leaders behind closed doors. A final mistake may have been angering Domenici himself. The top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Domenici’s opinion carries significant weight on energy matters, and within the last week, he has waged a campaign to defeat the bill in its most recent form.

To put it as calmly as possible, this makes me want to put my fist through my monitor.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

First … "missteps"? What are these missteps, exactly? Well, there was crafting a good piece of legislation that has the support of a large majority of Americans and a large majority in Congress. That was a real blunder.

Then there was failing to water the bill down, in advance, to something that would fit within the narrow parameters set out by the White House and its Congressional lickspits. What a goof up!

Why reporters like Brian Wingfield reflexively cast this as a story of Democratic mistakes rather than Republican obstructionism and blind fealty to fossil fuel contributors, I will never know. But he’s certainly not alone. It’s just a tic for national press. When Dems were in the minority, this kind of thing was unforgivable interference with the majority. Now that Dems are in the majority, it’s still their mistake, for introducing good legislation with majority support.

Secondly, excuse me, but Republicans are whining that they were "left out of the negotiations"? Are … you … kidding me. They’re the ones who blocked the $@#^* conference committee! They were explicitly invited to "the negotiations" and they tried to shut the whole process down. Now they’re whining? And do they even remember how they behaved as the majority just a few short years ago?

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

And finally, I’m sorry, but "angering Domenici"? If this wasn’t a family website, I would tell Petro Pete Domenici exactly where he could shove his pique. He’s been duplicitous throughout this entire process, scheming at every turn to purge the bill of support for renewable energy. First he maneuvered for months to destroy the Renewable Energy Standard, despite being from a state that already has an RES and stands to profit handsomely from renewable energy. (For his efforts he’s been well-remunerated.) Even after the RES was gone, he still voted Nay on the energy bill, protecting his fossil backers’ subsidies trying to "save the energy bill from a likely veto by President Bush." Meanwhile he’s been frantically attempting to shove nuclear subsidies in the energy bill, the farm bill, and now the omnibus spending bill.

Domenici’s "anger" is a bit of kabuki theater that too many reporters fell for. It’s not his anger that’s dictated his votes, its his fealty to dirty energy.

Better stories, please.