GOP Senators undermine energy focus

Believe it or not, I am frequently the one arguing in favor of compromise and coalition building in order to get things done. But a modicum of party discipline and common sense has to be involved or strategic compromise becomes surrender.

It seems a few GOP Senators can’t see the difference. Kimberley A. Strassel brings us the ugly truth:

Politics has its puzzling moments. John McCain and most of the GOP experienced one late last week. That was when five of their own set about dismantling the best issue Republicans have in the upcoming election.

That’s right. Just as the GOP finds an issue it can run on and build some excitement a group of wisemen step up to torpedo the whole thing:

And so, last Friday, in stumbled Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Saxby Chambliss, Bob Corker and Johnny Isakson — alongside five Senate Democrats. This “Gang of 10” announced a “sweeping” and “bipartisan” energy plan to break Washington’s energy “stalemate.” What they did was throw every vulnerable Democrat, and Mr. Obama, a life preserver.

That’s because the plan is a Democratic giveaway. New production on offshore federal lands is left to state legislatures, and then in only four coastal states. The regulatory hurdles are huge. And the bill bars drilling within 50 miles of the coast — putting off limits some of the most productive areas. Alaska’s oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is still a no-go.

The highlight is instead $84 billion in tax credits, subsidies and federal handouts for alternative fuels and renewables. The Gang of 10 intends to pay for all this in part by raising taxes on . . . oil companies! The Sierra Club couldn’t have penned it better. And so the Republican Five has potentially given antidrilling Democrats the political cover they need to neutralize energy through November.

Nice work Senators. I hope you enjoy being in the minority. Because if you prefer this kind of symbolic grandstanding while undermining your party in return for zero actual policy gains then that’s what you can expect.

There are just some situations that require you to step up and grab the opportunity to highlight the stark differences between you and your opponents. This was the time for Republicans to prove that they really believed what they said about increased domestic energy and an all of the above energy policy. This was a chance for elected officials to prove to their supporters that they wouldn’t weasel out of yet another chance to take a stand.

Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Saxby Chambliss, Bob Corker and Johnny Isakson you failed. While leadership was trying to actually succeed you kicked them in the junk. I hope you feel good about that when you look your colleagues in the eye.