Drill, baby, drill

The "culture of ethical failure" in one Interior Department agency has serious implications for the Republicans' offshore-drilling plans, so why aren't Democrats making it an issue?

Published September 11, 2008 3:04PM (EDT)

Normally, you figure, the media -- and a large swath of the American public -- would be discussing virtually nonstop the new scandal at the Interior Department. You know, the one that involves "a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity"? It has everything you could want in a scandal: sex, drugs and oil money. And yet there's been surprisingly little discussion of it so far.

Obviously, that's because the presidential campaign is constantly hogging the spotlight these days. But that makes me wonder: Why aren't the Democrats hitting this, and hard? Why haven't they made it part of the campaign? They can't just wait for the media to discuss this. They have to force discussion of the scandal, force the media to cover it, force Republicans to go on the defense.

There's a hook, after all -- Congress is debating offshore drilling right now, and the agency implicated in the scandal is responsible for leasing sites for offshore drilling and collecting royalties. This is an issue on which Democrats are playing a weak hand and are already partially caving. They can use all the help they can get.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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