You can tell that Republicans haven't really lost their touch for the political game because the RNC's latest ad on energy ends on a talking point brilliantly designed to appeal to the lousy instincts of the brain-dead campaign press corps:

No new solutions. Barack Obama: Just the party line.



And it's true. Barack Obama's energy policies -- focused on improving efficiency and developing renewable energy sources -- are pretty much party line answers because the Democratic party line is largely correct. McCain, by contrast, is a mess. He wants a cap and trade system to combat global warming (good) but wants to organize it so that the costs are borne entirely by consumers rather than polluters (bad). He says he's against subsidies for renewable energy because subsidies are a bad idea (understandable if a little pie in the sky) but wants massive subsidies for nuclear energy (because nuclear firms give him campaign contributions). McCain wants to get us off our addiction to oil (good) but he has no record of improving mass transit or fuel efficiency (bad) and his big idea is to wreck the economy of the coastal United States through offshore drilling which he falsely claims will lower short-term fuel prices. On top of all that, he proposes to lower gas prices through a "gas tax holiday" that's been denounced by experts across the ideological spectrum.

It's true, though, that this mish-mash of ideas is far too incoherent to be anyone's party line. And that, I think, will be incredibly impressive to campaign reporters. The voters, I think, are pretty open to a more-or-less orthodox Democrat given the state of the GOP brand but that's another matter. Meanwhile, note the irony of an ad paid for by the Republican National Committee lauding John McCain for his willingness to break with the Republican line. If only the RNC had spoken up sooner on how terrible Republicans are!

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