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The Phantom Session, Part II

Having thoroughly enjoyed their revival-style meeting on the House floor Friday, a group of Republican lawmakers plan to return to the chamber today to deliver more speeches on why they believe Congress should come back from its August break to vote on allowing more domestic and offshore oil drilling.

The first thing to note here is that Capitol Briefing is going to keep calling this spectacle "The Phantom Session," in hopes that the phrase catches on so he can trademark it, print T-shirts, cash in and retire to an island where no one cares about gasoline prices because we can walk from our villas to the beach.

The second key point is that, once again, today's proceedings will not be broadcast because the House cameras are off when the chamber is not in session. So readers looking for updates will have to rely on reporters' descriptions or on members who use Twitter, Qik and other electronic applications which sound vaguely like breakfast cereals.

If the voting public, other than the tourists who happen to be visiting the Capitol, can't see or hear these sessions, what's the point? On Friday, House Republicans succeeded in drawing attention to their efforts because although their message -- DRILL! DRILL! -- was not new, their presentation of it was decidedly novel. And the GOP managed to catch the Capitol press corps just as it was finishing up work on a fleet of "the politics of energy" stories, with reporters still in the building to witness what Republicans were doing.

As of Sunday evening, more than a dozen GOP lawmakers were confirmed to speak today. Their stated goal -- to force Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to bring the House back into session to vote on drilling -- will never be achieved, so the coverage-starved minority's primary hope is to earn some valuable free media.

But now that everyone has written their stories and blogged their posts on the unusual non-session, what will we all write today? How many reporters will even be in the Capitol press galleries, which are normally deserted in August? And if today's session gets a lot less attention than Friday's, and tomorrow's gets even less than today's, will Republicans bother to keep it up?

By Ben Pershing  |  August 4, 2008; 6:03 AM ET
Categories:  House  
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Comments

Speker Nancy Pelosi said that it is the "war dance of the hand maidens of the oil companies." Meaning the Republicans.
On the contrary, it is a winning strategy for the Republican Party. Republicans in the House should begin by publicizing the list of US Congress members holding the oil stocks. The first on the list should be Sen. Lautenberg of NJ. Then, they should ask legislators to sell off their oil stocks in support of reforms in this respect or donate them to charities. Thirdly, they should ask President Bush to unilaterally exercised his executive powers to begin offshore drilling, and review the federal land and water leasing arrangements by the oil companies, with an immediate request for exploring these lands and waters. Otherwise, the oil companies would loose their leases to their competitors.
These are simple steps that we can do.

Posted by: Wiel | August 4, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

You have the right to say whatever you please, but don't imply that you are a journalist. You are just another anti-Repulican with an agenda. If you make that clear, then we can choose to accept or reject your simple-minded ramblings as we each pleae.

Posted by: Fred | August 4, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Republicans know that all they need to do is continue a relentless campaign -- on whatever they want. The Democrats will always capitulate, as the GOP lawmakers know how to artfully guilt-trip, knowing that their colleagues will not want to be seen as anti-bipartisan. So far, it has worked using the political props of fiscal responsibility, being tough on terrorism, and, now, being responsive to the recession and the energy crisis. The chanting of spoiled children comes to mind. . .

Posted by: Eric Reagan | August 4, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Again, just want to point out:
40 billion barrels currently available for drilling.

The off shore area that are off limits only have 18 billion barrels.

In the US, we use about 140 billion barrels a year.

Why aren't they drilling the 40 billion already available? We're talking small puddles of oil off shore that won't make any difference.

Posted by: RiverGuy | August 4, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Lets see, the rebugs have had 12 years to do something about this, especially when they were in the majority, and did nothing. This is just laughable grandstanding.
Why would they not even consider voting on alternative energy, or release from strategic reserve when they had the chance. They also defeated help for heating oil for poor and elderly this winter when they still saw fit to give subsidies to oil companies and infuse money into wall street.
"hand maidens of the oil companies" fits the republicans perfectly.
I hope they blow their entire vacations on this kabuki dance.

Posted by: westcan46 | August 4, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Where do I send for my Phantom Session t-shirt? I highly recommend that you consider adding commemorative golf tees to your merchandising endeavors.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | August 4, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Apply noted the republican "war dance of the handmaidens of the oil companies" or Snow White and the seven dwarfs all chanting in unison: off to drill we go. And as River Guy has noted that 40 billion gallons are now available for drilling but go untapped. This farce is a shibboleth of the oil companies to make bigger profits and damn the working poor.

The Republican shell game to find energy in the wrong place. First, it is not renewable energy, second it lines the pockets of Republican power brokers, and third it creates the impression that the problem is solved so that hard choices can be deferred.
McCain is the pied piper of false hope and like Bush is fooling us so that he can avoid responsibility. If a lie is repeated often enough, many people are going to accept it as truth. Remember: Saddam Hussein had WMD and was responsible for 911. If we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

Posted by: bywaterorfire | August 4, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

So much for grandstanding ! It seems like no one in Washington cares if the American people lose every thing they own because the price of fuel takes up so much of our incomes. Congress , Bush , McCain , and Obama only make grand gestures while the press is recording but none of them are coming up with sugestions which will make a difference this year or even in the near future. The most irresponsible one in the group , Barrak H Obama has flown off to Hawaii in a very privite plane to a very exclusive vacation spot with no campaign workers , no senatorial duties , and no one allowed to see him or bother him while he does NOTHING to help the American people who he says he cares so much about. It is so sad that the American voters have again fallen for the BS of a candidate who is only interested in his place in the history books !

Posted by: American Worker | August 8, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

As for the "republicans had 12 years argument" You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the climate was never there for anything other than the current “brawl” on drilling offshore. Look at the democrat resistance we are seeing now in congress and every posting democrat is whining like crazy.. If the political will doesn’t exist now at $4 gas you can bet that it would have been filibustered at $2. The republicans moved on to other business. Kinda like when Health Care went down in 1993. Does that mean the dems forgot about HC or did they move on and are waiting for a better voting climate.

Posted by: pga301 | August 9, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

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