Oh, Go On

Now, in general, I’m pleased to see the political right succeeding in the online activist sphere, not so much because I’m itching to see more Republicans elected as because I think it keeps online politics more lively. But despite the fact that the Twitter-based #dontgo campaign seems to have achieved some measure of popularity and buzz, if not genuine effectiveness, I’m dismayed by the fact that what appears to be the right’s most successful campaign to date is based on what are, at best, dubious premises — namely, that Congress has anything like real power to “solve” the problem of high energy prices with any speed and that deregulating offshore drilling will have any substantial immediate effect on gas prices. Julian Sanchez has the full takedown here, and it’s well worth reading, but the gist is that it’s extremely unlikely that any politically feasible efforts to expand long-term energy supply will result in substantial, short-term drops in pump prices. I understand the appeal of urgency and the necessity of capitalizing on momentary flare-ups in public sentiment. But those sorts of tactics will only backfire in the long run when the promised benefits don’t show up. And more than that, it’d be nice to think that these sorts of campaigns could be run without false urgency, grandstanding, and misleading claims — but then, I suppose, this wouldn’t be Washington, and where’s the fun in that?