Wall Street Journal
Democrats Get Drilled
Some cracks are appearing in the solid wall of opposition that Democrats have erected against proposals for expanding domestic production of oil.
The House voted to adjourn for its August recess yesterday, but only by a vote of 213 to 212 as minority Republicans were able to convince over a dozen Democrats to break with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and support staying in session in order to deal with high energy prices. On the Senate side, Majority Leader Harry Reid broached the idea of an "energy summit" that would convene in September and consider more domestic drilling.
Even the Obama campaign, stung by a new John McCain commercial that contrasts his celebrity cult status in Europe with his refusal to address high gas prices at home, may be in motion. Former Sen. Gary Hart, an Obama surrogate, told the Denver Post that the gas price issue is a top concern of voters. He said it was possible that Senator Obama would back offshore domestic drilling if it were part of a much larger package that focused on clean energy and conservation. But the Obama campaign still insists that the Senator views calls for offshore drilling as a distraction from the real energy debate.
That could change if polls continue to show the power of the issue to move voters. Last week, a poll in the swing state of Colorado found that 9% of state voters say they've changed their minds and become supporters of offshore energy exploration.
Don't be surprised if Democrats use the August recess to meet behind the scenes with their environmentalist allies to put together a Plan B approach to block further Republican exploitation of the drilling issue.
-- John Fund