RUSH: I have some news that’s going to anger you, it’s going to chill you. As you know, brave Republicans in the House are continuing their battle to force Nancy Pelosi to bring the Democrats back to have an up-or-down vote expanding the opportunity to drill for oil in ANWR and offshore. They continue to make their points, and they continue to fight. This is an issue, as you know, as I have mentioned it to you, it’s the issue that can change this entire campaign around. Americans are angry, and it’s not just at the price of oil and gasoline. It is the related price increases, everything that happens as a result of that. Food has gone up, practically everything has gone up, airline transportation, everything’s gone up because of the price of oil. The oil is coming down, but it’s a market that’s still fluid, and nobody can predict what’s going to happen. And whether the price continues to come down or not, we’ve gotten a warning here: We need to do what we can to expand our own supply, and the Republicans in the House are doing everything they can to see to it that this happens.
However, in the Senate, there is a new bipartisan coalition called the Gang of Ten, five Democrats, five Republicans, led by Senator Lindsey Graham on the Republican side. They have just forged a compromise that basically cuts the Republicans in the House off at the knees, at least temporarily. The Republicans in the Senate have given the Democrats in the Senate everything they want, everything Barack Obama wants in an energy bill. I’ll give you the details when we come back. But just because it happened in the Senate does not mean it’s doom and gloom, does not mean it’s over with, because the Republicans in the House are still fighting this. This is just a Gang of Ten trying to get the Senate moving on this. It’s not an official Senate bill yet. It hasn’t been passed there. But the Republicans on our side caved totally to the Democrat demands on energy in a way that has to have Obama doing cartwheels if he’s heard about it.
RUSH: Here’s Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal today, her Potomac Watch column headlined: ‘Republican Energy Fumble,’ and I just want to read some of her verbatim here for you because it’s right on the money. ‘Politics has its puzzling moments. John McCain and most of the GOP experienced one late last week. That was when five of their own set about dismantling the best issue Republicans have in the upcoming election. It’s taken time, but Sen. McCain and his party have finally found — in energy — an issue that’s working for them. Riding voter discontent over high gas prices, the GOP has made antidrilling Democrats this summer’s headlines. Their enthusiasm has given conservative candidates a boost in tough races. And Mr. McCain has pressured Barack Obama into an energy debate, where the Democrat has struggled to explain shifting and confused policy proposals.
‘Still, it was probably too much to assume every Republican would work out that their side was winning this issue. And so, last Friday, in stumbled Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Saxby Chambliss, Bob Corker and Johnny Isakson — alongside five Senate Democrats. This ‘Gang of 10’ announced a ‘sweeping’ and ‘bipartisan’ energy plan to break Washington’s energy ‘stalemate.’ What they did was throw every vulnerable Democrat, and Mr. Obama, a life preserver.
‘That’s because the plan is a Democratic giveaway. New production on offshore federal lands is left to state legislatures, and then in only four coastal states. The regulatory hurdles are huge. And the bill bars drilling within 50 miles of the coast — putting off limits some of the most productive areas. Alaska’s oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is still a no-go,” if this becomes law. ‘The highlight is instead $84 billion in tax credits, subsidies and federal handouts for alternative fuels and renewables.’ It’s the Democrats that are running around touting ‘alternatives’ and ‘renewables.’ That’s what Democrats want. They don’t want to drill. They’ve got a war going on against oil. They hate oil. They’re demonizing oil, when there is no replacement as we’ve discussed.
Now, five Republicans led by Lindsey Graham, apparently, joined five Democrats and said, okay, your bill has ‘$84 billion in tax credits, subsidies and federal handouts for alternative fuels and renewables,’ fine. We’ll go along with that. ‘The Gang of 10 intends to pay for all this in part by raising taxes on … oil companies!’ So five Republicans have joined five Democrats in the Senate to agree on legislation in the Senate to raise taxes on the oil companies, i.e. (they may not be calling it this, but) a windfall profits tax. In the middle of the Republicans finally having an issue on which they could turn this election around versus the Democrats!
They’re doing all of this while these brave Republicans in the House are fighting the odds in their own revolution, trying to stop Pelosi and force her back so that we can move forward on a bill that would expand drilling, five Republican senators join five Democrats and basically hand the Democrats everything they want. As Kimberley Strassel writes, ‘The Sierra Club couldn’t have penned it better. And so the Republican Five has potentially given antidrilling Democrats the political cover they need to neutralize energy through November. Sen. Obama was thrilled. He quickly praised the Gang’s bipartisan spirit, and warmed up to a possible compromise. Of course, he means removing even the token drilling provisions now in the [Senate] bill.
‘But he’s only too happy for the focus to remain on the Gang’s efforts, and in particular on the five Republicans providing his party its fig leaf.’ This is unbelievable. Well, it’s not unbelievable. This is the exact kind of thing, folks, that gave us campaign finance reform. This is the impact kind of thing — what was it, the Gang of 14 on ‘the nuclear option,’ regarding judicial nominations — I cannot explain it to you. I would leave this to Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss. Some of these guys, I do not understand the tone deafness that they’re exhibiting here politically. I do not understand how they cannot see what a winning issue they have. Plus, I don’t understand why in the world anything Democrats want to do is attractive to these Republicans. Raising taxes on oil companies, spending most of the money on alternatives and renewables, banning drilling in the most productive areas?
This is inexplicable. But the Republicans in the House have not signed on to this. This is just ten Senators of that come up with this compromise. The effort here — Ms. Strassel is right, the effort here — is to have a competing bill in the Senate so that nothing on this gets done before the November election, and because the difficulty will be in getting both bills to the floor and getting a compromise version passed, and then go to conference. It’s too much to happen before the election ’cause they’re not going to be in Washington that much, because everybody’s going to be out on their own reelection campaigns. But, aside from all that, it just befuddles me. (sigh) I read this this morning, and said, ‘This cannot be true,’ and yes, it can be. We have a bunch of coward Republicans scattered around both houses of Congress.
We’ve got a bunch of Republicans who have been trained by the presidential nominee of their party that the way to advance yourself with the media and in Washington social circles is to agree with Democrats. This is just mind-boggling. We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.
RUSH: So we’ve got Lindsey Graham, we have John Thune — I’m just stunned at this. Saxby Chambliss, Bob Corker, and Johnny Isakson, along with five Senate Democrats, unnamed. Doesn’t matter who they are, they always hang together. They’ve gotten everything they want here. As Kimberley Strassel writes, ‘McCain, who had been commanding the energy debate, was left to explain why he, of all people, wasn’t more enthusiastic about a ‘bipartisan’ effort on energy.’ See, this bipartisan garbage, every time there’s bipartisan garbage, our side caves in. You know, they asked Jesse Helms once, why didn’t he compromise more? He said, ‘If the argument is between freedom and tyranny, why the hell should I give away anything?’
If I am for freedom, why should I give away anything? Not saying this is freedom versus tyranny but gosh, folks, if this keeps up we’re going to have tyranny, well I think we do, in terms of property rights and any number of things. So here’s a bipartisan effort that McCain didn’t support. This one included drilling, limitations on drilling, and McCain wants to open up drilling, it’s become his issue, and these five Republican senators last Friday just nuked it, at least in the Senate. ‘His camp was forced to take refuge in taxes, explaining that their boss couldn’t sign up for a bill that included more.’ That was McCain’s out. That’s why he didn’t support it and these $84 million of taxes are on Big Oil. Well, that $84 billion, whatever it is, is going to be spent on renewables and alternatives. ‘The ‘bipartisan’ Republican senators have undercut these efforts, and boosted Ms. Landrieu. They’ve even put a smile on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s face. He’d been struggling to tamp down the energy debate through November, where he hopes to increase his majority and permanently shelve drilling. He’s now counting on the Gang to fruitlessly continue ‘negotiations’ straight through the Senate’s short September session and solve his problem for him. Not one of the five Republicans in the Gang is facing a tough election this year.’ And as Kimberly Strassel concludes, ‘That’s the sort of security that leads to bad decisions. And theirs is the sort of thinking that could leave Republicans in a permanent minority.’
It’s inexplicable. Don’t ask me. Your guess to this is as good as mine. You can start with stupidity. You can start with selfishness. You can start with I don’t care about drilling in the Republican Party; I care about my standing with the media. You can have all of these various explanations, and as I say, the Democrats, if you go through the headlines today, are just in all kinds of disarray.
RUSH: Now, this deal, by the way, this Gang of Ten deal, get this. I talked about some of the regulations in this bill that are onerous. Try this. This deal would allow drilling if — if and when — the EPA and PETA and states and cities and counties and the ACLU clear the way.
It would put up more barriers to drilling, which is what the Democrats want, because they want no drilling, period. Five Republicans go along with it.
RUSH: Here’s Stewart in Maraca?
CALLER: Moraga, California.
RUSH: Moraga, California. Great to have you here, Stewart. Thank you for calling.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. I’m calling you on an iPhone that you generously gave me last November, and I am taking the opportunity to thank you for it. I tried to send you a card, but it got bounced back. I wanted to comment today on Lindsey Graham. It’s really ironic that he’s doing to John McCain exactly what John McCain did to George Bush, which is organizing a bipartisan group of senators or cut ’em off at the knees.
RUSH: Yeah, this did catch McCain by surprise, because it put him in a very ironic situation. McCain has made his bones being the bipartisan guy, working with the other guys, so here’s Grahamnesty (who is McCain, Jr.) and I think he sees this is how McCain got to be who he is. So Grahamnesty says, ‘Okay, I’ll try it,’ and in the process, McCain is saying, ‘Lindsey, he-he, he-he. (snickering)’ So McCain, the only way he could oppose this, is, ‘I’m not for tax increases, and there are too many tax increases in this bill. That’s not the way.’ But it just took the issue away. Well, it hasn’t done it yet because the bill is not passed in the Senate. It’s just an indication we’ve got these five guys. By the way, another explanation. I left off the most important thing to look at. ‘Folks, I can’t explain it. You can make up whatever explanation you want. They’re stupid; they want good coverage in the media, whatever it is.’ Follow the money. Follow the money. Well, in this case, follow the money. Use your imagination, campaign contributions, lobbyists. They’re not up for election this year. They don’t face serious opposition. The answer to almost every question, particularly in politics, can be found at the end of the trail of big bucks.