WAITING FOR JANUARY 20….Politico reports that Nancy Pelosi is quietly telling Democrats to say whatever they need to say on energy policy right now, while waiting out Republicans when it comes to passing any kind of serious policy:

Pelosi’s gambit rests on one big assumption: that Democrats will own Washington after the election and will be able to craft a sweeping energy policy that is heavy on conservation and fuel alternatives while allowing for some new oil drilling. Democrats see no need to make major concessions on energy policy with a party poised to lose seats in both chambers in just three months — even if recess-averse Republicans continue to pound away on the issue.

“The reality is we will have a new president in three months, and what Bush and the Republicans are trying to do amounts to a land grab for the oil companies,” said one senior House Democratic aide involved with party strategy. “I don’t think we have to give in at all pre-election — we have many more options postelection.”

I think this is smart — and not just on energy policy. Any bill passed while George Bush is president will inevitably be a horrible kludge, so why not wait? What’s the downside? That Republican members of Congress will continue to play dumb games in an empty chamber for a while longer? That prospect doesn’t really frighten me much.