Aug 16 2008

The Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight – The Far Right, Updated

The “true” conservatives, whose invectives against moderate and independent conservatives (e.g., RINOS, Quislings, etc) successfully handed Congress to the liberals in 2006, are again pointing their guns at the kind of non-fringe compromise which America wants on serious issues facing this nation. One of the big ‘failures’ in the eyes of The Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight during President Bush’s first term was the Gang of 14, who helped avoid a zero-sum senate showdown over Bush’s judicial nominations and re-balanced this nation’s courts away from the liberal tilt that had our judicial system badly listing to port.

Now another Gang of moderates is BEGINNING the discussion on a balanced and comprehensive (a word the far right abhors) energy plan. I think the current proposal is too weak and doesn’t open up enough drilling opportunities, so I am not supporting the details. But I must note that the entire concept of bridging the aisles to help Americans cope with energy prices is THE answer America wants, no matter what the details are in this initial phase of the effort. Will this group produce perfection and Nirvana? Pullease. It is a legislative process, perfection never comes out of a legislative process.

But what is totally self destructive is the inane claims from the far right that a compromise starting position is wrong. To the contrary, the reason the Dems have been taking heat on energy is because they have been stubborn ideologues more interested in political wins than solving the problems. And into the mess comes the far right – doing the exact same thing!


Or, maybe not. Any guesses as to Mr. Udall’s other action this week? That’s right. He embraced the Gang of 10’s “compromise.” It wasn’t a huge sacrifice, since the proposal mostly limits drilling to a few coastal states, while spending $84 billion in subsidies primarily for the sort of “green” energy Mr. Udall favors. Meantime, he’s betting the “bipartisan” nature of that bill will provide him political protection against Mr. Schaffer’s attacks, while heading off more aggressive GOP drilling proposals in Congress this September.

Among the five Republican Senators in the Gang of 10 is John McCain’s close friend Lindsey Graham and, unbelievably, South Dakota’s solidly conservative John Thune. 

This is ridiculous. These are beginning discussions. With the right pressure the limited drilling could be greatly expanded as the process moves forward. And we could also add in the building of nuclear power plants and oil refining capacity – two things much more important than a few more drill heads. This is the opening of debate, not capitulation and surrender. We on the conservative side want the liberals to be more open minded on Iraq and the war on terror, yet we cannot muster an ounce of respect for those on our side who do open their minds and discussions. The entire point of the article referenced is how the pressure on Democrats has them moving in our direction. Why risk this and more progress by denigrating the process?

What America is weary of is the inability of the parties to find reasoned compromise. What drives the GOP to the margins of history is their inability to respect good faith discussions and reasoned compromise. They have this knee-jerk annoying habit of looking down their nose at anyone who tries to solve problems. And it is why the Democrats are poised to win the elections this year despite their abysmal performance on all issues important to Americans.

Because in the end, rightly or wrongly, the Democrats are seen as respecting the average American. And given the tone of some on the right like Michael Savage, Pat Buchanan, Michelle Malkin and others it is a wonder the GOP is not in more trouble. Stop the war on reasonable discussion of options folks. Stop dividing America by setting purity tests for the left and right. It is the middle of the country that selects the path of the country. Insulting opportunity to solve problems is no way to win their support.

Update:  I meant to add a link to my posts on the Gang of 14, so here it is!

Addendum: Reader Terrye notes all the good points in this starting position from which something could get passed and help Americans with energy prices:

I saw the following over at Instapundit a couple of days ago:

1. The “gang of 10″ bill unilaterally opens up drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, with no state veto. The GOP bill didn’t do that, because Mel Martinez and Charlie Crist didn’t want it. Non-Gulf states Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas can opt-in if they like; the old GOP bill was opt-in everywhere, allowing Florida to block drilling in the Gulf off of its shores.

2. The bill also allows for seismic exploration along the entire continental shelf.

3. The ban on drilling within 50 miles of the coast was also in the GOP bill.

4. Contrary to many commentators’ claims, the “gang of ten” bill is not a lifeline for Obama: “What a bunch of C-R-A-P. ” (Yes, he spelled it out like that) “If Obama embraced this, he would be the biggest flipflopper ever.” A lot of the opposition to the bill is really a case of trying to keep drilling as an election issue instead of getting more drilling.

5. The bill includes a Zubrin-like flex-fuel provision, requiring that 75% of cars by 2015 and 85% by 2020 be capable of running on something besides gasoline.

6. “Our bill also opens up coal-to-liquids. We couldn’t have gotten 44 Republicans for that.”

7. The bill is “incredibly aggressive” on nuclear power, including accelerated-depreciation provisions like those for solar and wind power, more NRC resources to speed licensing, and an end to the Carter-era ban on nuclear fuel reprocessing. “We couldn’t have gotten 44 Republicans on this.”

As I read the comments from the right on this post I am reminded of how there are infinite reasons not to act, but leaders take a chance and act with a plan to win as much as possible. The GOP lost the capacity to act years ago, and instead hides behind smarmy comments and faux perfection of policy. It might seem brave, but it really is not. With a Democrat run Congress there is definitely a strong possibility there will be concessions on some items – but the GOP gave up the opportunity to lead the debate when they let the Democrats win.

Fear of some Democrat successes in the package is not a reason to not act. It is not a reason to slam fellow conservatives willing to take a risk and see what can be done for America. What this boils down to is a fear to act covered up by excuses and alibis. Sorry, I am not impressed with all the handwringing and predictions of doom. And to try and cover up this fear to act by insulting others just compounds the sin. 

America needs an energy policy, not a lot of partisan strutting and cackling.

29 responses so far

29 Responses to “The Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight – The Far Right, Updated”

  1. breschau says:


    For Pete’s sake – do you have no reading comprehension skills whatsoever?

    First off, my very first sentence said that I was IN FAVOR of offshore drilling. Just don’t insult my intelligence and tell me that it’s a way to lower gas prices, or that it’s going to do anything whatsoever in the short term – which is exactly what John McCain said. I do like to ask for honestly from my politicans – but, barring that, just don’t insult me.

    Secondly, exactly what part of “[t]here needs to be a comprehensive plan in this country to reduce our dependence on oil” causes you to believe that I can’t “think beyond next weekend”? I am specifically talking about a long term plan here – that’s what “a comprehensive plan” means.

    Drill offshore. Build more nuclear plants. Enforce higher gas mileage standards. Produce more hybrids. And put billions upon billions of dollars into R&D for alternate fuels, like solar and wind and geothermal. Do everything possible – just please don’t pretend there is a quick fix for this problem.

    I would pay good money for just one major politician to come forward and say: “Well folks, we’re kinda screwed. We got ourselves into this, and we can get out – but it’s going to hurt. A lot. So, let’s bunker down and take care of the problem.”

    (Of course, that guy’s approval rate would probably go negative within hours.)

  2. breschau says:


    I have a comment in this thread that I posted hours ago. I don’t want to double-post – is it waiting in some sort of approval queue (I have several links in it), was it deleted, or did it just get lost?

  3. AJStrata says:

    Any comment with more than 3 links goes into the moderation queue. Was on the road all day today. It should have shown up by now.


  4. gwood says:

    Breschau, If you are FOR drilling for more oil, why do you insist on repeating the two talking points, (1-won’t help us now, 2-current lease properties not being drilled) that are the last remaining arguments put forth by those who are against drilling? Again, how does the fact that drilling now will put downward pressure on prices sometime in the future invalidate the argument that we should drill now? I’m TRYING to comprehend.

    Do you honestly believe that, with oil at 120 per barrel, that oil companies will leave oil in the ground that they could extract at a profit?

  5. WWS says:

    The “current leases aren’t being drilled” argument can only be made by people who a) are completely ignorant of how offshore drilling operations work, or b) those who do know but who deliberately lie about what they know in order to fool the ignorant people into supporting them.

    After all of the information that has been put out on this topic, it is very clear that the Dem. party establishment is clearly lying about why they support this.

    Breschau, are you aware (as Pelosi is) that EVERY lease ever issued by the Federal Government, in fact every oil lease issued by anyone in the US, ALREADY has a “use it or lose it” clause built in? The standard time frame for offshore drilling has been 10 years, and that has been standard for, well ever since the first offshore lease was given many decades ago. This is in order to give time to do the seismic work, which takes years, to find a platform, to do all they myriad things which must be done to drill a deepwater well. Getting actual drilling permits from the various levels of government can also take years.

    No government under our system can unilaterally rewrite or rescind a land contract on a whim, without paying just compensation. That’s why this proposal is strictly unconstitutional. And although Dem’s are claiming they’re giving something in exchange, constitutionally this doesn’t count unless it is the result of negotitation between the parties; it cannot be the result of unilateral action which the dems propose. So why demand a “use it or lose it” provision when EVERY lease existing already has one in it, and when such a demand is strictly unconstitutional???

    The real reason the Dem’s are pushing this is that this would establish the principle that any lease or land contract can have it’s terms changed or canceled altogether at the whim of the political party in power. With the long lead times and massive investments required for offshore, this would make the US far too risky for any large investments, and thus all major offshore drilling efforts inside US territorial waters would cease, EVEN in the new areas supposedly being opened. There are other places in the world to go, and the available exploration money would go there. (Brazil, for one. Offshore Africa, west coast, for another)

    This provision is a poison pill intended to destroy offshore US drilling altogether, while fooling ignorant people into thinking that it will somehow help. Pelosi knows that, and this is precisely why she supports it.

    And yes, I have been involved on and off with the oil and gas industry for 30 years, and I count as friends many, many people still actively involved in the business. Ask any one of them, ask anyone who has worked in the actual exploration business – they will tell you, as they have told me, that this is the only possible result if the Democrat’s proposals become law.

    This country will be crippled. That is Pelosi’s intent. Breschau, is it also yours?

  6. MarkN says:

    I have been away from the posting wars for too long. However, this thread has compelled me to return.

    Everyone is missing the point of the post. The point of the post is not the wisdom of the “Gang of 10” bill, it is the treatment of the five Republican Senators who are sponsors. The bill may be an awful idea, but that does not make these five Republican Senators “untrue,” “fake,” or “RINO” Republicans.

    Just because Senator Chambliss is wrong on this issue does not make him a traitor. Everyone makes mistakes and this bill is in all probability a huge mistake. But to run those five Republicans out of the party for a policy error you would have to add GWB to the list, and many have to the detriment of their credibility.

    The Wall Street Journal had a very credible and respectful editorial the other day on the “Gang of 10” bill. The editorial is an object lesson in the tone of policy debates which I believe A.J. has learned quite well. The Republican Party will not last long if every policy or tactical blunder degenerates into a purification war.

  7. AJStrata says:


    Your return is well timed and welcomed! You probably should have written the post – you said it better than I did.


  8. breschau says:


    I was going to address your screed on the “use it or lose it” clause, since it seemed like an interesting point. But I was going through your previous comments in this post, and found this:

    Does this mean I think that Pelosi is morally equivalent to the average Taliban leader? Why yes, I do. Although I respect them a little bit more than I respect her.

    I don’t know how I missed that the first time around. You just stated that you respect a Taliban leader, a terrorist and murderer, over an American politician. If I had said that about Bush, or McCain, or Cheney, I would expect you all to call me a traitorous piece of trash – and you’d be right.

    Honestly – you should be ashamed of yourself. Dehumanizing someone who disagrees with you politically or equating them with terrorists is exactly the kind of behavior that leads to this and this.

  9. WWS says:

    Typical, Breschau. Use the red herring to keep from addressing anything of substance.

    In fact, the Arkansas dem chairman was shot because he had fired the guy from his used car dealership. It had nothing to do with politics. The church shooting had nothing to do with politics either, that was the standard “loner goes off the deep end, shoots people” story, rather like the Virginia tech shooter or any of a dozen others. You’re just fishing for tragedy, there’s plenty out there. Why stop with those two? But no one else influenced those two to do what they did, and it’s ridiculous to allege otherwise.

    Nancy Pelosi works hard to destroy this country every day, but she doesn’t have the courage to admit openly what she does. You’re shocked that I can respect a Taliban member over her? At least they honestly admit they hate this country. I have to respect a cockroach more than I respect Pelosi. I respect the 9 foot tapeworm that a man recently passed after eating bad fish more than I respect Pelosi. I respect the excretions of that 9 foot tapeworm more than I respect Pelosi.

    The “use it or lose it” issue is a great example – and you do not dare discuss that actual issue because I suspect you already have found out that it proves my point. She is pushing that precisely because she KNOWS it would destroy this country’s energy production industry. Destroying this country is her great goal in life, because she thinks it will give her even greater political power. Is it also yours?