Update on the Gang of 10

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 6:46 pm by Neal
The Five Stooges

Last Friday we wrote about the Gang of 10 Senators who reached a compromise deal on drilling. Unless you’re an environmental cultist, this raw deal was a sellout, not a compromise. This “deal” conjures up phrases like the cure is worse than the disease and with friends like these, who needs enemies?

Shamefully, two of the five Republican Senators who participated in this sellout are from Georgia: Senators Chambliss and Isakson.

Rush Limbaugh talked extensively about the “Stupid Senators” deal (transcript here) which included an on-air discussion with Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss who defended the deal by reading from his press release on his website.

Here are a couple of updates.

First, here’s an article on Investor’s Business Daily on The Five Stooges:

Energy: If you thought Republicans were no longer “The Stupid Party,” then you haven’t met the senators who may have just destroyed the GOP’s biggest hope this election year: the drilling issue.

Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Thune of South Dakota — remember their names if things go badly for the GOP this November.

With the issue of domestic drilling to provide relief for suffering consumers landing right in the laps of embattled congressional Republicans, those five — none of whom faces any immediate danger of losing his seat — decided to join with some crafty Democrats and smash to pieces that gift from the heavens.

The “compromise” they are promoting is actually a wholesale giveaway to Democrats. Touted as a drilling plan, it actually imposes about $84 billion in new taxes on oil companies and keeps the offshore and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling bans.

In the five states supposedly being opened to more drilling — Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida — massive regulatory roadblocks and state legislative fights could mean drilling in theory, but precious little in practice. Imposition of an arbitrary 50-mile no-drilling zone denies access to known oil deposits.

Meanwhile, Democrats get oodles of goodies for their environmentalist backers: That $84 billion of the taxpayers’ money will be spent concocting green fuels and designing geekmobiles.

These Republicans are placing Sen. John McCain in a tough position. If he supports the plan, he’ll invite the ire of GOP anti-tax crusaders — already uncertain about him for past opposition to the Bush tax cuts. If he opposes it, his claim of being a uniter will be questioned. The five have also done Obama a favor. His support would neutralize drilling as an issue to be used against him and make him look bipartisan.

These GOP stooges could end up being the Five Fingers of Death for their party come November.

Writing at the Corner, Stephen Spruiell posits a theory as to why these five Republicans are screwing their colleagues. Short answer: biofuel money.
The Ethanol Gang:

There’s one word that explains why these five Republicans are selling out: Biofuels. The gang’s “compromise bill” contains billions in subsidies for research into biofuels, and for the manufacture of ethanol-burning cars.

Thune is from the corn-producing state of South Dakota and has always been a big advocate for corn ethanol. The flagship university in Corker’s home state of Tennessee houses a major biofuels research center, specializing in cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass. Chambliss is the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He and Isakson both represent Georgia, where they are trying to figure out how to turn Georgia peanuts into fuel. And Graham — well, Graham just seems to have a mania for joining bipartisan gangs.

The worst part — as Strassel points out — is that the gang would raise the money for these new ethanol ventures by repealing tax provisions that allow oil companies to write off the cost of expanding refinery capacity. Whatever this bill is, it’s not a cheaper-gas bill. In fact, despite its meager drilling provisions, it looks a lot like the opposite.

To hell with what’s best for the country. To hell with their colleagues who were finally getting some momentum on drilling. It looks like these Five Stooges were just going for the money. And the Republicans wonder why their constituents are losing the faith?

Comments are closed.