Tag Archives: surrender

Dems Surrender on Offshore Drilling

I yearn for the day I no longer have to write titles like that:

Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in a months-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., told reporters Tuesday that a provision continuing the moratorium will be dropped this year from a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running after Congress recesses for the election.

Republicans have made lifting the ban a key campaign issue after gasoline prices spiked this summer and public opinion turned in favor of more drilling. President Bush lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling in July.

“If true, this capitulation by Democrats following months of Republican pressure is a big victory for Americans struggling with record gasoline prices,” said House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio. (AP via SFGate)

To her credit Dianne Feinstein is outraged, sending out this statement a few minutes ago:

I think it’s awful. This battle is not over.  We will come back and fight another day – that’s for sure.

I regret the House appropriations committee didn’t see fit to go with a better, more widely accepted alternative, which would have kept in place a moratorium 50 miles or more off shore.  In my view, there were better options than this.

Once again the Democratic Congress caves to Republicans who say “boo!” Drilling had faded from public consciousness and Democrats would have done well to insist it not happen.

Especially as bailouts are being discussed, you’d think Democrats would not want to be sending any signals that they can wave the white flag if pressured to do so.

Dems would have done well to listen to Van Jones, who at Netroots Nation in July explained the need to move from opposition to proposition – that the only way we will beat back the drilling push is to aggressively propose a more sensible and sustainable alternative. Dems didn’t do that, and once again they’ve failed at politics and failed America.

Sure, they might restore the ban next year – but it’s not clear if it will be a total moratorium, or if this will have opened a door that can’t be closed again. And if McCain wins, Congress will have a very difficult time reimposing a moratorium.

Otherwise they’ve signed a death warrant for California’s oceans and those who depend on them for a living.

Don Perata Ready to Surrender to the Far Right

According to the LA Times Don Perata is ready to wave the white flag and give in to Republican anti-tax demands:

Senate Leader Don Perata (D-Oakland) told his caucus in the e-mail, sent Thursday night, that he informed the governor “we urgently need a budget — let’s see if I can work on a deal with the Reps [Republicans] that is no tax, no borrowing. He agreed.”

Perata wrote that he anticipates working with Republicans through the weekend, trying to pull together a final deal.

“We then bring in Assembly leaders to show them what we’re sending them,” Perata wrote. “And then we go to the floor the moment we have mocked-up language ready. . . . We’ll do our best to hold the line on borrowing.”

How lawmakers can close a $15.2-billion gap without taxes and borrowing is unclear.

Evan Halper and Patrick McGreevy are understating that last part. It is not possible to close the gap without taxes and borrowing. There’s no way around that fundamental fact, unless Perata thinks the solution to California’s budget crisis is to bankrupt every city in the state by taking their funds. That in turn will lead to massive layoffs, worsening an already bleak economic picture in the state.

This is why Democrats lose – Republicans know that if they hold the state hostage long enough Democratic leaders will give in. Speaker Karen Bass has been a strong leader and making the right moves in resisting Republican demands. But Perata is set to undercut her with this sellout, which as the email suggests, is going to be presented to the Assembly leaders as a fait accompli.

Democrats are poised to win several seats in both the Senate and the Assembly as a result of Republican obstructionism on the budget. As Brian noted earlier today the public supports the Dems and opposes the Reps on the budget and on taxes. For Perata to toss all that out the window because he suddenly has cold feet would undercut Democratic candidates across the state and continue to leave Californians vulnerable.

Of course, that’s par for the course with Perata, who has a long record of backstabbing Democratic activists. His latest move to give Republicans what they want on the budget is a sorry parting gift to the state and to his caucus. And it would ensure that we will see exactly the same tactics from the Republicans next summer.

If this report is accurate, then Perata needs to resign immediately – or his caucus needs to remove him from power and give Darrell Steinberg the power to work on the budget instead. Californians and Democrats have suffered from what passes for “leadership” from Perata for long enough. It’s time we got real Democrats who understand the stakes and are willing to use their advantage with and support from the people of this state and break Republican hostage tactics for good.