Diary

Attention Netroots And Other Democratic Donors/Activists

This is what you gave your money for:

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 a months-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer.

House 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.

Republicans have made lifting the ban a key campaign issue after gasoline prices spiked this summer and public opinion turned in favor of more drilling. President Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling in July.

“If true, this capitulation by Democrats following months of Republican pressure is a big victory for Americans struggling with record gasoline prices,” said House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio.

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.

The House is expected to act on the spending bill Wednesday. The Senate is likely to go along with the House.

To be sure, this is good policy in the long run, but it must grate on Democratic activists and donors of all stripes to see this happen.

Now, the question is whether those same donors and activists will give more of their time and money to the party that regularly suckers them on policy issues like this one, or whether they will withhold time and energy . . . and watch the Democratic Party suffer as a consequence. It’s not a good position to be in, that’s for sure.