The Spectacle Blog

They have issues

By on 7.7.09 | 11:41AM

Keith Hennessy notes, in his post The New York Times (implicitly) calls for no climate change law, that "the New York Times editorial board is leaning toward having ‘an issue rather than a law.'"

In doing so he importantly reminds us of key Senate votes, which are somehow as easy to forget in the maelstrom as then-candidate Obama's vow that he seeks cap-and-trade to "cause electricity prices [to] necessarily skyrocket" and "bankrupt" coal and those who would burn it.

These votes that, at minimum, must be brought to the fore of the Senate debate early and often were "in April on the Senate budget resolution:

  • 67 Senators, including 27 Democrats, voted against creating fast-track reconciliation protections for a cap-and-trade bill, meaning that supporters need 60 votes to pass a bill, rather than 51.
  • 54 Senators, including 13 Democrats, voted for an amendment that would allow any Senator to initiate a vote to block any climate change provision which ‘cause[s] significant job loss in manufacturing or coal-dependent U.S. regions such as the Midwest, Great Plains, or South.'"

Now, this post also prompts me to remember a telephone call I received from a White House aide the night in December 2006 that incoming chair of the Senate Environment Committee Barbara Boxer supposedly broke it to Duke Energy's Jim Rogers that no, he shouldn't now expect a cap-n-tax bill to reward his loyal support with billions in rents. It seemed that the issue was too important to have against Bush, and for '08, according to San Francisco's own Ms. Boxer, who lives in a world where this issue is not a punch line.

She, apparently like the New York Times now, saw it as more important to have the issue than the law. The greens got wind of this, however - Rogers, so my caller said, was beside himself and ringing everyone in town he could in outrage, so it was hard not to get wind of it - and demanded what proved to be the Boxer-led disastrous vote last summer in which the bill had to be pulled from the floor in a matter of hours.

'08 of course saw two candidates about equally Moonbattish on the issue, so no subsequent, real debate  or opportunity for the people to weigh in was had, sadly.

My response at the time was to ask as many in the lobbying community as I could muster to meet, urging them to press the advantage, demanding votes, even on Kyoto. They blanched (Washington representatives are a special lot, living in mortal fear not of something bad being passed that harms their company's interests, but of getting that phone call from the home office asking "so...what do you think of the deal?", and having no earthly idea what the deal is. So, the notions of fighting and winning aren't as innate as they might be for some of us with the luxury of ideological purity).

So it may be that the Congressional Democrats, White House and their handmaidens at the NYT really believe that, outside their world, global warming tax just knocks ‘em dead (as the Times' Pauline Kael, possibly apocryphally, couldn't believe that Nixon won given that no one she knew voted for him). The evidence that I see tells me something different. Let's find out.

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