Pelosi: No Vote On Offshore Oil Drilling; So Why A Vote on FISA Capitulation?

Nancy Pelosi is an awful Speaker of the House, imo. You may disagree, but you can not disagree with the fact that she plays fast and loose with the idea that she can block House votes when she wants. To explain away the FISA Capitulation vote and why she let it pass in the House, Pelosi bizarrely blamed the Senate, as if the Senate controlled the House calendar.

But when it comes to offshore oil drilling, Pelosi DOES control the calendar:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday ruled out a vote on new offshore oil drilling even as Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he might be open to a compromise that included it.

Somehow she could not rule out a vote on FISA Capitulation. I mean that only involved the Constitution after all. No big deal.

Speaking for me only

< When Obama Does Not Pick Hillary As His VP | Obama With Wide Lead Among Low Income Voters >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 07:58:30 AM EST
    well this is the reason that McCain is going to run against Obama/Pelosi. She has been absolutley horrible. Is there a way to oust her when the new congress convenes in 2009? Are the options any better? These people spend too much time at cocktail parties and too little time talking to the voters.

    I had such high hopes for her (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 07:59:36 AM EST
    Nancy Pelosi is an awful Speaker of the House,
    And Steney Hoyer, who I had never even heard of before, is not any better. All these Reps and this is what we get. Nancy Pelosi is so so so personally political that her agenda is not for the American people.

    I suspect that she saw the fallout from the FISA vote of Obama and she heard that he was changing his mind. Thus, skip the vote and change the subject. We waited so long to get back into power and we are flubbing it everywhere big time.

    I'm from San Francisco ... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Demi Moaned on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 08:26:54 AM EST
    and I never particularly cared for her as a representative. I didn't like the way she was foisted upon the electorate.

    I will admit to a moment of civic pride when she became Minority Leader and then Speaker. But whatever credit she gained in my mind has been more than offset by her conduct in the current Congress.


    She held the line on Social Security, but (none / 0) (#13)
    by catfish on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:10:17 AM EST
    and I think she held the line better than her predecessor. But her one-sidedness during this primary was a giant turnoff and sewed major party division.

    Rahm Emmanuel would be a good speaker.


    right.... (none / 0) (#21)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:19:51 AM EST
    because so many Clinton supporters enjoyed being called "bitter knitters" and his wonderful success at getting so many "conservative" dems elected to congress.

    The FISA vote (5.00 / 8) (#4)
    by samanthasmom on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 08:22:34 AM EST
    had to happen sooner rather than later to give AT&T time to get the bags printed before the convention.

    What gets me.... (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by p lukasiak on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 08:47:32 AM EST
    is her complete tone-deafness.

    People are concerned about gas prices, and on Friday the GOP wanted to vote on an "energy independence" (read: off-shore drilling) bill.... and Pelosi doesn't just adjourn the House, she shuts everything down completely, including turning out the lights, so that congresscritters can go on a five week vacation.

    You know this is going to be used in ads against Democrats running for the House this fall -- its the kind of thing that is custom designed for an attack ad on Democrats.  And Pelosi went ahead and did it. Dumb, dumb, dumb!

    Dems should have done (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by eric on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:18:18 AM EST
    what the Republicans would do in a similar situation.  Put their own bill up, call it the "Responsible Offshore Drilling and Fuel Price Reduction Act".  In the bill, they could appoint a commission to study the idea.  Or, they could pretend to grant the rights to drill in the places where it is already approved to drill (like some places in the gulf of Mexico.)

    I mostly agree with both BTD and Paul but . . . (none / 0) (#40)
    by MojaveWolf on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 10:58:08 AM EST
    Pelosi was right on this one.  Offshore drilling is a horrible idea, and just because Pelosi has done an all round awful job (especially w/FISA and her side-taking in the primary, but hardly limited to those things) doesn't mean she isn't right on this one.

    As far as tone deafness, though, it would be a lot smarter to emphasise the alternatives to offshore drilling rather than to just mention the problems with the drilling.  Even if she doesn't want to explain all the ins and outs of solar and wind power, she has a large paid staff--how hard can it be to get them to research this and simply give her a few solidly grounded talking points and direct people to the appropriate issue of Scientific American?    So what if people never read it?  It gives you something positive --and accurate -- to say, it gives you a credible source for your something positive to say for those people who do check, it helps her side (at least I hope this is her side) frame the debate on its terms, and it helps pave the way for a real long term alternative.  

    All that said, again, yeah, she has dropped the ball so many times I have no sympathy for her and hope she gets tossed out of congress a.s.a.p.  Though 'twould be better if Reid and Hoyer got tossed out even quicker . . .


    genius dems at work again (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by DandyTIger on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 08:50:53 AM EST
    Such genius. What strategy. Just brilliant. So they vote for FISA (and against the US constitution), something americans don't want them to do. And then they don't vote on off shore drilling, something 75% of americans want them to do. Such mastery of politics. And meanwhile the soon to be crowned king of kings of the dems now flip flops on the off shore drilling, undermining the likely point of Nancy to avoid that vote in the first place. I'm so inspired. (OK, not really for the sarcastically impaired :-) )

    She Also Has Time (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by The Maven on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 08:55:49 AM EST
    to push conservative Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas as a great potential running mate for Obama.  Presumably she was asked to do this as a trial balloon by the campaign, but are there any potential VP choices who aren't in the rightmost quartile of the party (if they're even party members at all)?

    perhaps not serious ones... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by dws3665 on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:04:15 AM EST
    but Dodd, Reed, and Sebelius are more progressive (on most issues) than the other names being kicked around. But among the allegedly "serious" names, there is a pronounced rightward tilt.

    Pelosi is an embarrassment and a disgrace.


    You contradict yourself (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Demi Moaned on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 10:09:42 AM EST
    First you complain about how liberal a San Francisco  Congresswoman is-- as though she were some generic creature.

    And then complain (accurately as I think) about how much she abets and enables the Bush agenda.

    I was going to write (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by dk on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 10:25:16 AM EST
    the same thing, Demi.  You are right that he contradicts himself.

    Electing the Congressperson from San Francisco speaker has had an effect, but not the one that many anticipated.  Coming into it, there was all this talk about how having the SF rep be speaker would make the House shift way to the left.  But something quite different happened.  Because of the reputation of SF, Pelosi has the ability to define what the left means.  So, if she wants the FISA capitulation bill to pass, all she has to do is support it and then say "Hey, I'm the rep from liberal SF, so if I'm supporting it, it must be sufficiently left-wing."  And the media can say, "Hey, Nanci Pelosi, from liberal SF, thinks it's ok, so anyone who doesn't must be some crazy socialist radical who's even more leftist than liberal SF."  

    It's all very sad.


    Well, that makes more (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by dk on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 10:42:37 AM EST
    sense.  On the surface, at least, it really does seem that the only reason she was elected speaker is becasue she is a good fundraiser for the party.  Now, on the one hand I'm not going to sit here and say that raising money isn't critical to the party's success on some level.  But that it has become basically the sole basis for choosing the party leadership is still pretty pathetic.

    She's hard for me to figure out (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by McKinless on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 05:17:16 PM EST
    At times, too calculating. At other times weak and uninspiring. She and Harry Reid are in many ways (forgive the trite metaphor) Tweedledee and Tweedledum, different but the same.

    And at a time we need strong leadership.


    BTD can you be specific about "terrible" (4.00 / 1) (#15)
    by catfish on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:14:30 AM EST
    My sexism radar is very alert to generalized statements like "she's a terrible Speaker." And you are usually more specific.

    Is it that she communicates poorly? Is it that she doesn't vote the way you like on FISA but does vote the way you like on offshore drilling? Is it that she was a poor negotiator in one instance? ("Impeachment is off the table.") IMO impeachment WAS off the table, though perhaps she didn't need to say so. She/Dems could have been more coy about it to keep the Bush Admin on their toes.

    And I'd like Pelosi to restore Jane Harman to the Intelligence Committee.

    In my opinion, the way she handled the primary was very poor. But otherwise she holds the line pretty well.

    I was excited about the Pelosi being the first (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by MojaveWolf on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 11:12:42 AM EST
    woman speaker of the house, but among the things about her performance I'm unhappy with is the way she has both de-emphasized the importance of this, and actually spoke out against the idea of sexism being a negative factor for Hillary in the primary (complete with comments about how her sex has been an advantage for her personally, iirc, which may or may not be true in her personal, extremely well funded and well-connected position, but was hardly relevant for Hillary's primary run or the lives of most women).

    That said, FISA is a good start, and the way she handled the primary.   There is also her failure to do anything positive with her position.  Even if you know Bush is going to veto or the Repubs in the Senate will filibuster any of your favorite bills, get them out there, publicize them, and use your pulpit to highlight your favorite issues.  So far, she has highlighted getting us out of Iraq but done little to actually get us out of Iraq (I know this is more complicated than a lot of people think, but if you're going to make it a signature issue, without integrating the complexities in what you talk about, then friggin do something to back up what you're saying); Republican corruption (and here at least the Dems have held some hearings and brought some things to light, but trashing your opponent is not a satisfactory agenda in and of itself); and the need for Hillary to get out of the primaries early.  She may have emphasized something else--I don't have time to devour the internets and the paper every single day, plus I might just not be recalling something right now--but I follow politics and news more closely than most people, and I don't recall anything else she has pushed in the last two years, and that's not a good sign.  


    Read my archives on Pelosi (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:37:45 AM EST
    So who is next in line for her postion? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Saul on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 08:04:29 AM EST
    Will she be voted out in the next congress?  If so who are some possible replacements who will do that job well?

    I doubt she's going anywhere (none / 0) (#5)
    by Demi Moaned on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 08:24:14 AM EST
    She's an insider politician from way back and a prodigious fundraiser. If the Democrats actually do pick up a lot of seats this cycle, it's unlikely to create a mood for change of leadership in the House Democrats.

    Cspan last night (none / 0) (#20)
    by dutchfox on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:18:36 AM EST
    I happened to catch a Q&A last night...Brian Lamb and Pelosi. I'd never actually heard her speak at length before (about her life, career in the House, her rise to the speakership, etc. Her arrogance was shining when Brian Lamb asked her what percentage of votes she receives when she has run in her district. He suggested 75%. She said that she'd like to think 80.

    She's a machine politician (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Demi Moaned on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 10:04:53 AM EST
    ... to the very core.

    San Francisco is a one-party town and she and Dianne Feinstein are so strong within the local party that it would be a highly risky move for any aspiring San Francisco politician to challenge either of them.

    I doubt that there's a safer seat in the entire US.


    This is correct. (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by dk on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 10:18:36 AM EST
    Essentially, the party bosses just rotate around in various elected positions at their whims.  There is no way to challenge them from the outside.

    Once in a while a gadfly gets elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (the city council), and it bothers the party bosses to no end.  That tension brings about the only fun stuff in Bay Area politics.  Otherwise, it is a boring old oligarchy.


    Two women are (none / 0) (#45)
    by oldpro on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 01:23:35 PM EST
    'the good ol' boys' in party poilitics!

    Pretty amazing, really...


    Is (none / 0) (#6)
    by Lahdee on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 08:26:26 AM EST
    Pelosi worried that Obama's "I'm willing for some drilling," betrayal of the progressives will bring that noise to the front? Maybe. Why take chances when you hold the gavel. Squash the debate and there is one less opportunity to reopen the wound and the denial of an "it's the Democrats fault gas prices are high" opportunity for the republicans (true farce on their side, but why stoke the fires).

    I wouldn't hold your breath for an answer (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:04:52 AM EST

    Why shouldn't we be surprised? (none / 0) (#14)
    by ctrenta on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:11:39 AM EST
    She won't stand up for investigations into impeachment. Why should we be surprised that she could not rule out a vote on FISA Capitulation? Pelosi only stands for what is politically expedient. It's the same old same old.

    No surprise that Pelosi and the Democratic leadership are so inept in protecting what's left of our Constitution.

    Pelosi (none / 0) (#16)
    by bobbski on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:15:45 AM EST
    Pelosi makes GWB look good.

    A total disaster as Speaker.

    question (none / 0) (#17)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:17:19 AM EST
    I have been listening to the news and still can't get an answer to this question about the dem position.

    The dems have been saying that the oil companies already have leases that they aren't drilling on.

    So, this statement doesn't really tell me the facts.  Does anyone know he actual answers to these quesitons?

    1. do te oil companies currently have leases for OFF SHORE land that they could be drilling on today with no action from the government?

    2. Does the current ban on off shore drilling only stop MORE off shore leases from being sold to the oil companies?  Or, does it prevent them from drilling on leases they already have?

    3. if the cuurent high price of oil hasn't given the oil companies the incentive to drill on leases they already have, both on shore and off shore, what is it the oil companies are NOT TELLING the public?

    4.  If the repug position is that just letting the world know we are going to drill for oil that will come online in MAYBE 7 - 10 years will bring the current price of oil down, wouldn't the same be true for letting the world know that we plan to replace much of the current demand for oil with wind, electric vehicles, etc in the next 7 - 10 years?

    Here Is My Understanding (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by flashman on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 10:14:32 AM EST
    I don't have any links, just what my feeble brain has compiled during the debate.

    1. The offshore  ban on drilling bans drilling in the first 50 miles offshore.  If old companies have offshore leases, they are beyond the 50-mile limit. (though I have not heard of any)

    2. No drilling within 50 miles of shore per (1)

    3. It's more profitable to sign production agreements with Mid East countries.  This is nothing more than a smoke screen, IMO.

    4. The solution is to use more renewable sources.  That means less money for big oil, they will never support this.

    All good questions (none / 0) (#22)
    by eric on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:23:50 AM EST
    to which I don't have answers except to say that there definitely ARE leases for oil drilling that are not being used.


    The key, as pointed out in the MSNBC story, appears to be that oil leases, whether producing or not, are considered an asset to the company holding the lease.  It makes the company look like a good investment if they have lots of leases.


    The key thing to remember is it really isn't about (none / 0) (#23)
    by vicndabx on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:34:07 AM EST
    oil - it's about refinery capacity.  There's plenty of raw oil already, there's not enough refineries to produce the various grades that are needed throughout the country.  This bottleneck is what is really causing the so called shortages and subsequent price spike we are seeing today.

    not so sure about that (none / 0) (#29)
    by TimNCGuy on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:55:50 AM EST
    It's a world wide market for oil.  the total word demand is what "supposedly" sets the price.  So, the US pays the world price for oil based on the world demand for oil no matter what the capacity for refining in the US is.  If the US was able to refine twice as much oil right now as we can, we would still be competing to buy the oil against the other countries who want it.

    Even drilling for and pumping more out in the US doesn't guarantee the US market access to that additional oil.  The adtditional oil pumped in the US would still jst go to the world market.  It's not like the oil companies are going to sell it to the US at a discount price when they could get more $$$ from someone else.


    No doubt (none / 0) (#35)
    by vicndabx on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 10:21:57 AM EST
    didn't mean to imply world-wide demand isn't a culprit also.  However, refinery output plays a major role as well - and you never really hear about it.  Once you focus on the refinery, you see there's lots of stuff our congress could do (agreeing to a single, nation-wide standard for example.)  Here's an article from a few years ago that talks about all the factors - including capacity.  Here's another that focuses solely on refining capacity.  I remember some time ago hearing oil companies aren't building new refineries and haven't heard anything in the news recently that indicates that's changed.

    Pelosi is from California (none / 0) (#18)
    by talesoftwokitties on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:17:35 AM EST
    California has a lot of coast line and oil offshore.  Her action kinda makes sense to me.

    Pure self preservation in both cases (none / 0) (#26)
    by ruffian on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:45:54 AM EST
    Politcal self-preservation in the case of the off-shore drilling.

    Legal in the case of the FISA - she is just as culpable as the telecoms if the congressional leadership knew about the wiretapping and let it go forward.

    It's a no-go for all (none / 0) (#27)
    by vicndabx on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:47:28 AM EST
    of the reasons cited throughout this thread plus, it will come off as a populist pander of the kind Hillary pushed at the end of her campaign (see: gas-tax holiday) and we can't have that! /s

    Hand cuffs of their own making . . . (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by MojaveWolf on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 11:26:38 AM EST
    Aye, Clinton got a bum deal on the gas tax holiday, but on the whole, the Dems are handcuffed on these things only because they refuse to learn how to frame the issues.  Whenever my mind dwells on their inability to do so (even when they make a big noise about having learned this lesson and thought on it), there is a constant back and forth in my head about whether they are incompetent or are actually conservative on many issues themselves and don't actually want to make any progressive headway.  

    She Did The Right Thing (none / 0) (#28)
    by flashman on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 09:51:04 AM EST
    WRT offshore drilling.  This issue is nothing more than political grandstanding by the Republicans.  They had two congresses with clear majorities to lift the bands on drilling, and they didn't get it done.  They won't get it done now.  Even Republicans know drilling won't significantly lower prices at the pump.  They are searching and grasping at ways to hit the Democrats on kitchen table issues.  

    We need a comprehensive energy policy.  Drilling won't solve the crises we face as the world's supplies of oil continues to deplete.  Pelosi did the right thing by not letting the Republicans hold this over her head.

    A comprehensive energy (none / 0) (#47)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 08:35:01 PM EST
    strategy without oil is not comprehensive.  Comprehensive is new oil, nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, etc.  

    Another Example (none / 0) (#38)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 10:39:27 AM EST
    Of the Democrat's allowing the Republican's to play offensive on the national agenda. They continually fall in this trap because they haven't the spine to stand for a position. They're trying to be something for everybody. The end result is they look like a bunch of weak politicans willing to pander to whatever audience they're in front of at the moment.

    This is one of the main reasons we continue to lose elections that we should have won.

    Pelosi CYA (none / 0) (#44)
    by pluege on Mon Aug 04, 2008 at 12:40:29 PM EST
    Pelosi is an accomplice and complicit in illegal spying on Americans and violations of warrantless wiretapping, as are Hoyer and Harman. The vote on FISA was to make sure no one gets the details of her  involvement. Off-shore oil drilling - no personal problems there.

    Like so many of her vichy dem colleagues, Pelosi is a very poor excuse for an American.