Republicans think they've found a winner in the offshore drilling issue. With gasoline prices at near-record highs, many Americans now support the sensible notion that the country needs to tap its domestic oil reserves to create more supply.
But with radical greens still writing the scripts for members of the congressional Democratic leadership, both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have refused to allow a vote on whether to lift a ban on offshore drilling. Their decision has made some moderate Democratic House members nervous that such obstructionism will be used against them in the upcoming elections.
It is in this context that state Sen. Dina Titus, a Democrat running to replace incumbent Republican Rep. Jon Porter, unveiled her "energy" plan this week. Lo and behold, just a year after she voted against a state Senate resolution urging the president to lift an executive order banning offshore drilling, Ms. Titus now embraces precisely that approach if states OK it. She even dismissed environmental concerns over drilling, saying the "technology is much better today."
Her calculated flip-flop is an obvious effort to take the offshore drilling issue off the table in her run against Rep. Porter -- and it highlights just how sensitive Democrats are to public opinion on the subject.
But it's a cynical ploy. Ms. Titus and other Democratic candidates can run around the campaign trail arguing to angry voters that they favor drilling for more oil, knowing that if they get to Washington they'll never have to vote on the issue because their party leaders are in the pockets of eco-extremists.
But perhaps it all evens out. Over the past year, we've seen Rep. Porter run to the left -- embracing the farm bill, an expansion of a health insurance entitlement for middle-class children, and other big government programs -- as a way to protect himself in a district in which Democrats currently hold a slight edge in registration. Now Ms. Titus, a reliable liberal in Carson City and no political amateur, has tacked to the right on offshore drilling to enhance her chances of defeating the incumbent.
Excuse the voters in the 3rd Congressional District if they've torn up their programs.