A Nation Thirsty for Oil for its SUVs to Drink Expresses its Priorities

Well, you might say, “it wasn’t fair”, because Democrats evidently couldn’t use a fillibuster to stop the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (“ANWR”) from becoming the latest hotbed of roughnecks and wildcats and other characters associated with oil exploration, as the Senate passed a measure 51-49 that, because it was attached to a budget measure, couldn’t be fillibustered, which will permit such drilling in ANWR..
Well, that’s the way it goes. ANWR will be despoiled forever, millions will be made by thieves who bribe members of Congress and the executive branch for the lucrative ANWR oil concessions, and if we’re lucky, this may lower the price of gasoline by a nickel or a dime… around the year 2016 or so.
I had long said, back when, you know, Democrats controlled the Senate (quite possibly, for the last time, because, as you know, neither I, nor I think the American people, will have much further use for such a party, certainly in Congress) that the move was, in fact, to concede ANWR (only, under a heavily managed regime, constantly monitored for environmental sensitivity), in exchange for a complete and total package of energy conservation and renewable energy development measures (which, you know, might mean that the oil from ANWR actually might have mattered). Instead, of course, we got the standard issue knee-jerk absolutism that will, in the end, cost us the environment (the same kind that may well result in the United States being pretty much the only country outside the Arab world that outright bans abortion). The GOP just got to piss in a national park anyway it likes (one of the last unspoiled wildernesses on Earth, btw) so a few well-connected oil industry folks can profit, and in exchange, the rest of us got… nothing. NOTHING.
But there you have it. ANWR is gone now. The usual folks (you know who you are) will whine that the Republicans don’t play fair (just as some, btw, complain that terrorists and insurgents don’t fight fair, by “not coming out to fight us”, knowing that we have superior weaponry and all they have is mobility and the element of surprise). Well, guess what? They don’t play fair. And we didn’t play fair when we were in the majority. And isn’t that just the way it is.
Only we didn’t play smart when we were in the majority either. Deals that could have been forced onto the table were not made, and the opportunity to make them is now gone. The GOP will use its absolute power at the federal level to pretty much do what it wants.
The irony, of course, is that most people do not favor despoiling the environment for the profit of a few, just as most people would not favor an absolute ban on abortion. But, by brilliantly slicing and dicing issues, forcing Democrats to defend absolute positions on issues (think “partial birth abortion”), the Republicans manage to defy popularity, and get what they want for their corporate buddies (and religious extremist allies). It really is amazing.
So let’s keep telling ourselves “but our programs and positions are really popular.” Maybe some day, we’ll get actual American voters to believe that. I wouldn’t think so, but, you know, maybe