Much of the speculation for the administration's reasoning has been on the need to get Republican votes for Obama's climate legislation. Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are trying to hammer out a bipartisan climate bill, but Graham is getting no GOP backing on this, and Graham himself has said that he couldn't support a bill that "doesn't have off-shore drilling in a meaningful way."Ezra Klein (via John Aravosis):
As far as anyone can tell, these concessions to conservative ideas on energy have not attracted Republican allies for the administration's preferences on energy, and in fact, the center of this issue seems to be moving rapidly to the right.Greg Sargent:
There may be some brilliant strategy underlying all this, but no one in the administration has seen fit to explain what it is. I'd guess it's that they can say, and show, they're reaching out on the issue, but making these moves when the public isn't paying attention to energy policy seems of questionable relevance to perceptions of partisanship when the debate eventually takes off.
McClatchy speculates that the drilling move could designed to “justify action” on climate change “without bipartisan support.” Crafty!Howie P.S.: The Nation has a poll (vote here):