Washington Post: Why Not Debate More Drilling?

While the New York Times continues on its self-destructive path, the role of the grown-up liberal in the media business now belongs solely to the Washington Post. The paper proves that once again this morning with their editorial, "No Drilling, No Vote - Speaker Pelosi won't let the House debate the merits of offshore drilling", which has as its lede "Why not have a vote on offshore drilling?".

The editorial certainly doesn't indicate that the Post agrees totally with the position of the Republicans on the expansion of domestic oil drilling, but they are scathing in their assessment of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats, and their tactics on this issue. The Washington Post editors even bring up a pledge that the Democrats made when assuming the majority less than two years ago:

When they took the majority, House Democrats proclaimed that "bills should generally come to the floor under a procedure that allows open, full and fair debate consisting of a full amendment process that grants the Minority the right to offer its alternatives." Why not on drilling?

The Washington Post recognizes that allowing a debate and subsequent voting on drilling, in addition to being the right thing thing to do, is also being demanded by an overwhelming majority of the American people. Those same people who put the Democrats in charge of Congress in 2006 - by much less of a majority. So the Post really unloads on the extent to which the Democrats are going to in order to not have this debate and subsequent vote:

Meanwhile, the dispute has snarled progress on spending bills for fear of having drilling amendments attached. Citing "the uncertainty in how the oil and gas drilling issue is currently playing out on the Senate floor," Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) called off committee consideration of spending bills on which Republicans were threatening to offer drilling amendments. The result threatens to be the first time since at least 1950 that lawmakers will go home for the August recess without either chamber having passed a single appropriations bill.

The Post ends the editorial with a rhetorical question -- if the Democrats have the better of the argument on drilling, as Speaker Pelosi has so loudly assured us, then why are they frightened of having a fair debate?

Because the Democrats are, in fact, wrong on this issue. And both the Democrats and the Washington Post know that they will lose this debate and all follow-up votes, of course!

On this issue, the Democrats have lost an important media ally in the Washington Post. The paper has done it politely, so far. After all, the Post could have pointed out the recent retreat in oil prices following President Bush's announcement that he was rescinding the executive order prohibiting additional offshore drilling. And wondered aloud what more would happen to speculation and the price of oil if Congress took similar action.

I'm also certain that the Washington Post is aware of the suggestion made by Richard Brookhiser yesterday on National Review Online. He proposes that Bush pull a Harry Truman - call Congress back during their summer recess for an 11 day emergency session and demand that they debate and vote on drilling and appropriation bills. It's a win-win for Republicans. If drilling is allowed and appropriation bills are passed, it's good for the country and it can be pointed out that it took President Bush and the Republicans to force the Democrats to do it. If the Democrats continue to do nothing, it'll be on display for the whole country to see. The Democrats, and Barack Obama, will have inflicted a major, and very public, injury upon themselves immediately prior to the Democratic Convention. It would be literally impossible for the drive-by media to whitewash and spin that incident.

Can you imagine the Washington Post's reaction after a debacle like that? And the follow-up reaction of the American public?