According to the Politico, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has given her blessing to vulnerable Democrats to rebel against the party’s position on offshore drilling. The strategy goes something like this: Pelosi plays the liberal from San Francisco while representatives of more conservative districts berate her. With a majority intact, the Democrats push through a comprehensive energy policy sometime in 2009.
California Democrat Nancy Pelosi may be trying to save the planet—but the rank and file in her party increasingly are just trying to save their political hides when it comes to gas prices as Republicans apply more and more rhetorical muscle.
But what looks like intraparty tension on the surface is part of an intentional strategy in which Pelosi takes the heat on energy policy, while behind the scenes she’s encouraging vulnerable Democrats to express their independence if it helps them politically, according to Democratic aides on and off Capitol Hill.
Pelosi’s gambit rests on one big assumption: that Democrats will own Washington after the election and will be able to craft a sweeping energy policy that is heavy on conservation and fuel alternatives while allowing for some new oil drilling. Democrats see no need to make major concessions on energy policy with a party poised to lose seats in both chambers in just three months—even if recess-averse Republicans continue to pound away on the issue.