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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's looking more and more like a compromise on off-shore drilling, which Climate Progress has been saying all along is a great idea for the environmental left: like getting something for nothing. Better, even, as the Congressional moratorium on off-shore drilling is apparently due to expire at the end of this month, which means that the entire coast would potentially become open to drilling if Congress just does nothing at all.

Now, this is an aspect of the debate I had no idea about, and it would suggest that the Republicans have dramatically overplayed their hand—if their goal really were to get coastal drilling rights, they could have quietly sabotaged the process from the back benches and had it all. But the off-shore drilling canard has never been about anything but a search for a wedge issue.

Remarkably, it seems that even the true believers have clued into this reality as well: two posts at National Review today fume over the right's getting rolled by "anti-energy gansters."

In general the off-shore drilling debate has been a pitch-perfect demonstration of the extent to which the public sphere is broken in America: it's a heated, screeching shouting match over a policy that would, at best, lower oil prices a few cents over a decade from now, all predicated on fundamental deception surrounding the actual costs involved. But it looks to me like the compromise is worth signing onto as a stopgap measure to prevent an even worse outcome, all pending a real energy policy under President Obama next year.

(via Alex)