The Journal today reports on Democratic Congressional candidates who are running on John McCain’s all-of-the-above energy platform in order to get elected. We’ve previously noted how this admission of the fundamental weakness of the Democratic economic agenda is being spun as a “strategy.” Subterfuge is more like it.
Dina Titus launched her general-election campaign for the House seat representing Nevada’s third district with a speech straight from the Democratic playbook, pledging an end to the Iraq war and using the word “change” nine times in the span of a minute.
But when she turned to the issue uppermost on voters’ minds — gasoline prices — she compared her energy plan, which calls for lifting the federal ban on new oil drilling off U.S. coasts, to the policies of John McCain, not Barack Obama. “Some say my position is more in line with Sen. McCain than Sen. Obama,” said Mrs. Titus, who points out that she supported lifting the ban in July, before Sen. Obama shifted in favor of expanded drilling as part of a broader bipartisan energy package.
As gasoline prices have become a focal point for voters’ economic concerns, Democratic candidates across the country are rewriting the party line on the issue. Mrs. Titus and many other Democrats new to the national stage were citing their support for more drilling in June, well before recent talk of compromise by a bipartisan Senate coalition and Democratic leadership in the House.
More than a third of the 45 candidates in House Democrats’ so-called Red-to-Blue program aimed at capturing seats now held by Republicans have supported lifting the drilling moratorium. The Democratic candidates’ support for new drilling spans land-locked and coastal districts alike, though many of them include caveats that further offshore exploration must be environmentally sensitive, or that royalties from the drilling should be invested in researching alternative energy. Several sitting Democrats facing tough races support new drilling, too, including all three representatives elected from conservative districts in special elections this year. . . .
Elected Democrats are coming around, too. On Aug. 1, presidential candidate Sen. Obama suggested he would be open to expanded coastal drilling under the proper conditions. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) suggested Friday that Democrats would for the first time consider a vote to open some portions of the Outer Continental Shelf to new oil exploration.
Elsewhere in the Journal, Stephen Power offers polling data that indicates “Voters Want Everything on Energy.”
“Congressional Democrats are still kind of lagging” public opinion on drilling, Mr. Newhouse said. “They’ve been extraordinarily slow to pick up on this [issue], and some of their [candidates] may end up paying the price.”