At first I thought, “This has to be an April Fool’s Day joke.” Last Wednesday, in a move that has infuriated environmentalists and most Democrats, President Obama announced that he would end a longstanding moratorium on offshore drilling off the South East coast and in Northern Alaska (red states) in advance of the upcoming vote on his Energy Bill.

According to the New York Times, the reasoning the president gave for lifting the moratorium is:

The proposal is intended to reduce dependence on oil imports, generate revenue from the sale of offshore leases and help win political support for comprehensive energy and climate legislation.

So President Obama thinks making devastating concessions to Republicans now will help secure Republican votes later? Where have I heard that before?

After bending over backwards to win GOP support for Health Care Reform and coming away with exactly ZERO Republican votes, one has to wonder what it will take for President Obama to stop making counter-productive concessions in order to win over votes that will never come? Senator John McCain vowed to “stop cooperating” with Democrats for the rest of the year in response to passage of the HCR bill. As both I and Bill Maher have pointed out, “You can’t threaten to stop cooperating if you never cooperated in the first place!”

(UPDATE: Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), when asked if opening Northern Alaska to offshore drilling would make her ‘more likely’ so support President Obama’s Energy Bill, Murkowski answered, “Absolutely not!”)

Toles - Obama's Energy Deal

While Republicans complained that the Health Care Reform (HCR) bill that passed “contained NO Republican ideas”, it actually contained some 200 Republican changes, with NO Public Option just as they demanded. But when Republicans voted in lockstep against the bill, were those changes stripped out? No.

And now we are seeing it again. President Obama thinks he can buy GOP votes for his upcoming Energy Bill, which he plans inclusion of “Cap & Trade” and a “Carbon Tax” to limit greenhouse gasses… two programs Republicans are HIGHLY critical of, to the point where they CAMPAIGN on preventing them from ever passing, or their repeal should they pass.

So one must ask, if Republicans kick & scream over the President’s Energy Bill they way they did over HCR, and then vote in lockstep against it, will these dangerous and counter-productive concessions that only continue our dependence on oil and add to Global Warming will be stripped out should Republicans vote in lockstep once again against it?

Mr. President, if there is no threat of rescinding your concessions, then Republicans have NO incentive to cooperate in the future. It’s a Win-Win for them. You strip out the things they hate, and then they vote against the bill anyway. What incentive do they have to work with you the next time? Only the threat of stripping out the concessions you made to win their support if they vote against it will help win over those few votes.

And a topic for another day: We wouldn’t NEED to make such horrible sweeping changes to good legislation supported by 57-58 Senators simply to please two or three that threaten to filibuster, if we fixed the filibuster. Make them stand there and talk for hours like they did 50 years ago. Requiring a 60 vote super-majority to pass anything and everything in the Senate is unconstitutional.


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