We Are Killing Them on Energy

The netroots are genuinely frightened about the success of conservative messaging on energy.

Open Left's Chris Bowers is ready to throw in the towel:

Maybe I am just too tired right now, but I am suddenly of the opinion that Democrats should just completely capitulate on the offshore oil drilling question. In fact, they should also capitulate on the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. While we are at it, let's institute a gas tax holiday, and release the strategic petroleum reserve. We should cave on all of these issues, but do so with an important, public caveat. We should state, as loudly as possible, that none of this will actually lower gas prices, but that they only way to prove to the American people that it won't lower gas prices is to let Republicans have their way.

Now Bowers hasn't been paying close enough attention to who is for what, because conservatives do not want to release oil from the strategic petroleum reserve. It is after all 'strategic.' But if he really wanted to make conservatives happy he would also have to acquiesce to killing all the law suits by environmental groups stopping new oil wells and refineries nationwide. Then we could really get energy prices down.

Open Left's Matt Stoller is reduced to just making stuff up:

The energy question is the question of our generation. If you drilled everything there is in the US tomorrow and oil started coming out of the ground tomorrow, gas prices would drop by about three cents.

According to the Energy Information Administration, if the bans on energy development were lifted for the OCS and ANWR, America's current oil reserves would more than double. Considering that the U.S. currently produces only 34% of its oil needs, doubling that capacity would have to bring down prices by way more than three cents.

Soon to be Center for American Progress' Matt Yglesias asserts:

it is staggering that you can't find any credible people anywhere prepared to argue that McCain's drilling schemes will bring any short-term relief from high gas prices or that the long-run price reductions would be anything other than tiny.

We're not surprised Matt does not subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, where John Bates Clark Medal winner Marty Feldstein wrote:

Any steps that can be taken now to increase the future supply of oil, or reduce the future demand for oil in the U.S. or elsewhere, can therefore lead both to lower prices and increased consumption today.

 Yglesias then goes on to demonstrate how his shallow hatred for all things conservative blinds him to reality. He writes:

Meanwhile, take something like the accessory dwellings issue. Here you have a bunch of regulations that make it illegal for people to live more densely. Illegal, in other words, to build the kind of communities where the gas price issue wouldn't hurt so much. But there's a movement afoot to change things. Similarly with minimum parking rules ... These things are regulatory barriers to solving our energy problems every bit as much as the ban on offshore drilling is. And conservatives are against regulation, right? ... Naturally, conservatives have chosen to aim all of their fire at anti-drilling regulations. And that's the sort of thing that makes the conservative movement hard to take seriously -- it's an organized defense of existing power and privilege that now and again adopts principled rhetorical modes of various kinds but basically can't be moved to act unless some lobbyists pay them too.

First of all, it is always encouraging to see anyone on the left even pretend that they support property rights. But where was he when conservatives where fighting agianst Kelo? Where is his big support for ballot initiatives across the country that would force governments to compensate property owners for regulatory takings (like Matt's hated accessory dwelling and minimum parking rules)? Conservative groups like the Pacific Legal Foundation have been fighting for property rights for over 35 years. Did Matt care about the issue at all until it became an environmental concern? Who pays conservatives to fight amnesty for illegal immigrants? What lobbyists pay conservatives to fight for school choice?

The conservative movement as a whole is far from perfect. And the vehicle the movement chooses to advance its political adgenda through, the GOP,  is seriously damaged after eight years under Bush. But we'll be back. And when liberals like Matt lazily end their thinking on energy with a 'blame big oil' diatribe, they only make the eventual conservative resurgence easier.

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Glad To Win On This

I know some conservatives get mad when liberals steal an issue, or fold on one, but I look at things in the long term.  Political parties' fortunes come and go as time marches on, but in the end, I want good public policy.  If the Democrats capitulate on this issue, and America is allowed to drill it's own resources, we all benefit in the long run, even if this takes a good issue away from the Republicans.

I look at gun control the same way.  Democrats folded on this issue, and its helped them in more rural parts of the country, but I'm still glad.  I don't want my gun rights put in jeopardy, and at the end, conservatives win because we get what we want.

Republicans should keep pounding on high energy prices.  The one thing I hear more anger about than anything is high gas prices, far more than the war in Iraq.  I absolutely believe this election could turn on this one issue if it is effectively executed.  The American people instinctively understand that the more oil we produce for ourselves, the less vulnerable we are to the skyrocketing price of foreign oil.

Keep up the pressure!

What is the deal on offshore exploration?

I have heard from various places that the ban automatically expires on September 30.  Thus, it will take ACTIVE action by Congress to renew the ban.  Is this correct?  If so, I can't possibly see how the drilling ban could survive a vote.

offshore ban will expire...

yes, the OCS ban is set to expire somewhere around 9/30. The ban is passed every year as part of the DOI appropriations bill. The Dems will eventually have to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government running (Approps chair Obey has shut down the regular approps process because he doesn't want to expose Dems to a OCS vote).

So some time soon when the Dems have to pass a continuing resolution to keep the gov't running, the GOP will have the opportunity to maket them vote on it.