Democrats will let the ban on offshore drilling expire this month. The AP reports:

Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in an month-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer.

Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., told reporters Tuesday that a provision continuing the moratorium will be dropped this year from a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running after Congress recesses for the election …

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Democrats had clung to the hope of only a partial repeal of the drilling moratorium, but the White House had promised a veto, Obey said.

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Amazing, really. Would Bush have shut down the government before the bailout bill was passed — assuming the Democrats had been smart enough to do the stopgap spending bill (with limits on drilling plus a renewable tax credit extension) first?

I doubt it, but we’ll never know. If someone can explain to me why the House Democrats went to all the trouble of passing a big Energy Bill with far less drilling last week, I’m all ears.

I have repeatedly asked Congressional Dems and enviros what their end-game strategy was. Turns out they never had one. They should have immediately embraced and passed the original Gang of 10 compromise.

Lousy messaging and no strategy means failure is inevitable. I can hardly wait for the 2009 debate over cap-and-trade.

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This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.