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"New" Energy Reform: Same Old Politics

August 18, 2008

Once again, the "greater good" has been served inside the Beltway, "bipartisanship" has broken a stalemate, the rancor over energy policy has ended and, as is always the case when such milestones are achieved, conservative America has been sold out. Somehow, Republicans never seem to figure out that when right and wrong attempt to find common ground with each other, "right," by design, will inevitably be the first casualty.

This latest effort involves a "Gang of Ten" U.S. Senators, five Republicans and five Democrats, who are promoting their "New Energy Reform Act of 2008." In truth it is anything but new, and instead represents the worst manifestation of D.C. "business as usual." Even in the midst of his noble attempt to justify the deception to an understandably skeptical Rush Limbaugh, Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia inadvertently tipped his hand by mentioning that the intrepid Senators felt compelled by their constituents to "quit their partisan bickering and come together."

In actuality, his statement revealed the real motivation behind such charades in Washington. His ultimate desire was neither to see the energy problems properly addressed, nor to place his Democrat colleagues on the "hot seat" where they so richly deserve to be as a result of their callous indifference to the plight of Americans suffering from rising energy costs. Rather, Chambliss and the other nine were merely attempting to make pretense of caring and acting, all for the purpose of advancing their own political fortunes.

Chambliss went on to justify his duplicity by pointing out that unless Republicans capitulate and waffle, Democrats will prevent any measure from going forward, and thus nothing significant will be accomplished.

So, in the minds of Chambliss, Lindsay Graham (R.-SC) and the other three Republican members of the "Gang of Ten," a Democrat defined agenda, rife with its typical glut of pork and irrelevant federal meddling, is preferable to any conservative fight to offer real solutions. The latter would most certainly entail open political combat, winners, and losers. And that clearly would not bolster the all-important harmony of the United States Senate. Is it any wonder that the voters eventually conceded to such thinking back in 2006 when they put the Democrats in control of the Congress?

Sadly, the Senate Republicans stood to gain a great deal politically from the energy argument, and in particular, the Democrats' unwillingness to accept any action on the situation other than their standard "tax and regulate" approach which created the mess in the first place. Moreover, this would have been true even if, for the moment, all they might be able to show for their efforts was a list of those Democrats who stand in the way of a real solution. Now, in the aftermath of the stunning cave by these Republican opportunists, pro-energy Republicans who will not support such non-solutions are in danger of being marginalized and labeled as the real source of the problem.

Even a cursory examination of the "New Energy Reform Act" proves it to be the classic hodgepodge of Democrat objectives. Interwoven throughout it are all the boilerplate liberal Democrat trademarks such as taxes on the producers, subsidies for non-viable energy "alternatives," and above all, regulations sufficient to completely stifle any real exploration and production of new oil and gas resources.

Yet we should apparently be comforted that it contains just enough lip service, ostensibly promoting some highly restricted offshore drilling, to give its conspirators their much desired cover when facing probing questions from critics.

Ultimately, this sorry episode may yield an unintended but beneficial consequence. It shows, in glaring terms, just what is wrong inside Washington, and in particular, within the "bipartisan" circles of the Republican Party. Thus, it points to how to remedy the situation. "Republicans" who view their Democrat counterparts not as an opposition, but instead accept them and their ideology on an equal basis, will only ever be able to promote a political agenda that is some version of that which the Democrats originally fabricated.

In other words, liberalism in one form or another will always be the governing standard, with Republican influence only amounting to a minor "fine tuning" of the latest abysmal scheme offered and advanced by the left. The five Republican Senators, who collaborated in this travesty (and despite the former characterizations of some as ardent "conservatives"), are revealing to traditional America that even in their minds, the divide in Washington is not between right and left, but between the governing elites and the "peasantry," which is how they obviously regard the rest of us.

Meanwhile, in the opposite wing of the U.S. Capitol, Republicans in the House of Representatives are showing how the current political battle needs to be fought. Upon the Congressional recess, when the ruling Democrat members departed the premises while having made no real attempts to solve the energy crisis, a dedicated contingent of Republicans remained on the House floor to daily demand that Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi call the Congress back into session to deal with the issue.

Of course Pelosi has no intention of doing so, since any truly effective measure would spotlight the ability of Republicans to lead on this issue while painting Democrat stonewalling and environmental hysteria in a very bad light. Thus, Pelosi hoped to get out of town before the issue could be brought to the forefront. And had the House Republicans merely sought "common ground" and collegiality as did some of their Senate counterparts, the Democrat House Speaker might well have succeeded in her ruse.

Now however, she is daily being forced to contend with the non-compliant Republicans who are engaged in a "tag team" vigil, publicly proclaiming that she and her party are unwilling to put the interests of the people above the political power struggles of the day. As Democrat partisans, Pelosi and her minions know they cannot win such an engagement. So the excuses and obfuscations will continue, though they ring increasingly hollow and intellectually vacant.

It is regrettable that Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is once again getting a pass. But it is an outrage that he does so with the collaboration of five "Republicans," and their collective D.C. insider mindset.

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Copyright ©2008 Christopher G. Adamo

Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, and has written for regional and national magazines. He is currently the Chief Editorial Writer for The Proud Americans, an advocacy group for America’s seniors, and for all Americans. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.