You know, I understand why some people find Senate quote-unquote "Minority" Leader Mitch McConnell a bit irksome when it comes to pork generally, but he really does have a feel on the primary aspect of his current job: that is to say, how to thoroughly muck up the titular majority's day. Via Hot Air:
Senate GOP hands Dems oil ultimatum By Manu Raju
Senate Republicans have threatened to block nearly all other bills pending before the August recess if Democrats refuse to vote with them on expanding offshore drilling.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said bills that do not pertain to energy can wait until after the August recess, with gas prices now surpassing $4 per gallon. McConnell and top Republicans indicated Wednesday they would oppose any procedural votes to take up other legislation, which require 60 votes to succeed.
“We think there is nothing more important that we can do right now than to deal with the Number One issue of the country,” McConnell said. “This is the biggest issue since terrorism right after 9/11. People are pounding on their desks, saying, Why don’t these people get together and do something about this problem?”
Read the whole thing. And notice, by the way, that Harry Reid wasn't man enough to reply himself: he sent out a spokesman to complain.
Analysis after the fold... but first, a crass political observation. The Democrats really want Mitch McConnell gone, which is in itself an excellent reason to donate to his campaign. As for the NRSC... carrot and stick, people. You want them to do stuff like this, remember? Call it operant conditioning if it'll make the medicine go down better.Like Ed Morrissey, I like this strategy: it plays to GOP strengths (long-term rationality, pro-growth, and straightforward in-your-face aggression) and Democratic weaknesses (poll anxiety, fractured base, essential timidity when confronted with straightforward in-your-face aggression). Of all of those, the "fractured base" part is probably the most important, as the Democrats are in a heck of a bind on this one. They know that the general populace is getting hot and bothered about high gas prices; they also know that the solution that their base offers - that the general populace stops using so much energy - is simply not going to fly.
They also know that this is no longer a question of how to stop further drilling. This is a question of whether the GOP can successfully push for more drilling offshore - and for more drilling in ANWR, which would be worth it for the symbolic value alone. That region has quasi-mystical status for the Greens: sticking an oil well or twenty thousand there would be the equivalent of a collective kick in the testicles to them, and God knows that the Greens have earned the sensation. Not that compromising with the GOP on this issue - unlike FISA, which was merely a capitulation - will endear them with said Greens, including the ones that are Democrats. Instead, you'll see a lot of anger, complaints, and general ranting and raving coming from a movement that never quite grasps why it is that they keep electing Democratic politicians, but never actually get anything from them.
In other words, no downside. So shut it down, baby.
Shut it all down.