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.I think this is smart — and not just on energy policy. Any bill passed while George Bush is president will inevitably be a horrible kludge, so why not wait? What's the downside? That Republican members of Congress will continue to play dumb games in an empty chamber for a while longer? That prospect doesn't really frighten me much.
"The reality is we will have a new president in three months, and what Bush and the Republicans are trying to do amounts to a land grab for the oil companies," said one senior House Democratic aide involved with party strategy. "I don't think we have to give in at all pre-election — we have many more options postelection."