Jim DeMint (R-SC) is talking of shutting down the Senate until Harry Reid (D-NV) allows the Senate an up or down vote on opening up offshore drilling in the U.S.
Right now the price of gas is Republicans hole card. While the Democrats are great at (wrongly) blaming Bush for the high cost of gasoline, they have no plan whatsoever to bring the cost down. As I've said before, Republicans can and should use this to their advantage. I really believe the "unofficial" campaign slogan for every single Republican should be:
DeMint correctly ridicules Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-08) and her call to Bush to open up the Strategic Petroleum Reserves:
It’s really ironic and even hypocritical that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats think we ought to pull oil out of the ground from our national reserve but not pull it out of the ground in other places.
He's correct, and while I do support opening up the SPR, I only support it if other conditions have been met. And one of those conditions would be opening up offshore drilling. If we're going to tap the SPR, we have to have a plan for filling it back up again (or making it obsolete), and that plan has to include finding a way to be less dependent on foreign oil.
Now, what would be a good way to do that? Oh yeah.
And some of the Republicans are starting to get it. DeMint's plan is quite obviously a stunt. Even if he does get his up and down vote, it's unlikely that such a bill would ever find it's way to George W. Bush's (R-USA) desk.
But it gives the Republicans campaign fodder. Any Democrat that votes against it in a state or district won by Bush in 2000 or 2004 will immediately go into the gun sights of the NRCC and NRSC.