08/19/2008 06:15 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Pelosi Saves Planet... For Oil Companies

I am so sick and tired of Democrats capitulating to right-wing demands. But last week, once again, the Democrats demonstrated they lack the courage to stand by their ideals, if that's what we can call them. In her weekly radio address, Nancy Pelosi stated she would consider offshore drilling and no longer oppose a vote on coastal oil exploration.

Just last month, the New York Times ran a story, "For Pelosi, a Fight Against Offshore Drilling," and wrote:

"The president of the United States, with gas at $4 a gallon because of his failed energy policies, is now trying to say that is because I couldn't drill offshore," Ms. Pelosi said in an interview. "That is not the cause, and I am not going to let him get away with it."

If it is not the "cause," then why even entertain the possibility now?

Economist Paul Krugman called offshore drilling and its causal link to gas prices "junk economics." In his recent piece, "Can This Planet Be Saved," he notes how the, "U.S. government's own Energy Information Administration says that removing restrictions on offshore drilling wouldn't lead to any additional domestic oil production until 2017, and that even at its peak the extra production would have an "insignificant" impact on oil prices."

This is coming from Bush's own administration!

Sadly, moments like this reveal that the Democrats have still not moved beyond their tendency to want to let the Right and their well-oiled political think tanks define the agenda. It just makes no sense to me. Bloggers, MoveOn, and other enraged Democrats started organizing to take back the Democratic Party from a leadership that supported the war and refused to stand up to Republicans, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of new activist Americans. This activism helped propel Howard Dean to take control of the party, where he shook things up and again put more power into the hands of regular people in all states, not just the coastal or battleground states. The American people sent a message in 2006 that they were tired of Bush's idiotic policies and gave Democrats control of congress. The voters within the party voted to nominate a candidate who represented change instead of a candidate who represented the usual Democratic Washington establishment.

Despite all of these things, the leadership of the party still cannot find the conviction to stand by its principles of creating a more sustainable planet that belongs to the people, not the corporations, and not the conservatives.

I realize that polls indicate people are leaning towards offshore drilling. But the Democrats, especially Obama, could show some leadership on this issue and challenge the public much like he did with Hillary's call for a gas tax, and called it what it really is -- "a gimmick." I think the American people would listen to a good argument.

Krugman further wrote:

"Recently the Web site The Politico asked Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, why she was blocking attempts to tack offshore drilling amendments onto appropriations bills. 'I'm trying to save the planet; I'm trying to save the planet,' she replied."

I'm not sure what she's trying to save anymore. But if it's the party, she will find herself disappointed. History has shown that when Democrats try to win the center by shifting to the right, they lose. Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council's centrist positions helped usher in a new era of Republican control. After all, people would rather choose a real Republican instead of someone who is just trying to act like one.