I have been struggling for the last couple of days with the question of whether #dontGo is important. I am genuinely undecided. Here is some thinking on the positives, but also why it is not nearly enough and we need to keep our eye on the ball.
#DontGo is really important because Republican activists are feeling energized. There is something to fight for. This is new. People are chatting. But that doesn’t make a movement.
#DontGo also changes the focus to Congress. The Democrats’ strategy right now is to focus everything on Bush and the Presidential race. If Congress and its single-to-low-teens is the focus, even for a little, that helps Republican Congressional candidates.
But these are defensive actions. Republican candidates are coming to town and getting local press for fighting for something. That’s great, but it is defense.
Where is the offense?
The only robocalls I know of are going into Colorado because Mark Udall skipped a vote. I asked Tom Cole about more … and he ducked. I have not seen stories of people crashing townhalls demanding House Democrats do something.
Where are the existing groups? The American Family Association has a 3.3m email list and has emailed on this issue. Have they sent something out about charging townhalls? No. What about Newt Gingrich, American Solutions, and their 1.5m? No.
In general, it is not clear what exactly #dontGo would do to put points on the scoreboard. There are three options.
First, Congress could pass a bipartisan energy bill in September. There are now bills in bvoth the House and the Senate that would suffice, although the House bill is substantially better. We need Nancy Pelosi’s buy-in to bring stuff to the floor. And to do that, we need to pressure Democrats. And no one is doing that.
Second, Congress could just let the OCS and shale ban expire. This is the premise of the "Energy Freedom Day" proposals. Some argue that this is better than a bipartisan bill. Here, we need either 40 votes in the Senate against a Continuing Resolution or a majority in the House willing to block legislation that contains an extended OCS ban.
Third, we can polarize the environment on this issue.
What I don’t understand is how #dontGo is directly on the path to any of these. We need to actually win something. This is improtant. And I see more motion than movement.