Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 25, 2010

CLIMATE BILL HANGS BY A THREAD.... Tomorrow was going to be a critical day for a new climate/energy bill. The tri-partisan plan -- crafted by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) -- had been shaped over the course of several months, and its proponents were finally going to unveil the details at a Capitol Hill event.

Its prospects looked murky, but much of the necessary legwork had already been done -- the White House was on board with the provisions, and many business leaders, whose support would be critical, were poised to endorse the effort.

Late yesterday, Lindsey Graham signaled his intention to walk away, and in the process, may have killed the legislation.

In a move that may derail a comprehensive climate change and energy bill in the Senate, one of the measure's central architects, Senator Lindsey Graham, has issued an angry protest over what he says are Democratic plans to give priority to a debate over immigration policy.

Mr. Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said in a sharply worded letter on Saturday that he would no longer participate in negotiations on the energy bill, throwing its already cloudy prospects deeper into doubt. [...]

In his letter to his two colleagues, Mr. Graham said that he was troubled by reports that the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and the White House were planning to take up an immigration measure before the energy bill.... Mr. Graham said that any Senate debate on the highly charged subject of illegal immigration would make it impossible to deal with the difficult issues involved in national energy and global warming policy.

I'm not entirely unsympathetic to Graham's concerns -- all things considered, it makes more sense to me to tackle climate before immigration -- but his tactical demands are a little over the top. In effect, Graham is saying, "Do things in the order I prefer or I'll kill both major legislative initiatives."

Specifically, Graham wrote in his letter, "I will not allow our hard work to be rolled out in a manner that has no chance of success." He will, however, walk away from months of negotiations, guaranteeing that his hard work has no chance of success. In other words, Graham is afraid a push on immigration reform might undermine his climate/energy bill, so he's decided to undermine his climate/energy bill.

I've heard of smarter strategies.

There are at least some efforts underway to save the bill. Reid office issued a statement last night saying the Democratic leadership is committed to both initiatives, and the climate/energy bill "could be next" on the legislative calendar "if it's ready."

As for the administration, Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, also issued a statement, urging Graham not to walk away from his own effort.

Nevertheless, the announcement scheduled for tomorrow has been "indefinitely postponed."

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

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Comments

Perhaps Lindsay is being blackmailed by the repubs!

Posted by: jJS on April 25, 2010 at 7:58 AM | PERMALINK

First, it is too late on the 'climate' bill thing. Their is no courage in any government much less the feckless US Senate to pass any kind of measure that will even slow down the destruction of Mother Earth.

Second, the US Senate is dysfunctional. When 41 senators can effectively represent the 20% of the population that are avowed racists and stop all business because the POTUS has darker skin, we need to change the rules.

Posted by: Chief on April 25, 2010 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

I sincerely do not understand why the climate bill can't proceed first. My understanding in that the immigration bill(s) hasn't even been through committees yet -- it's far less ready for the floor debate than climate. And if we're doing both this year anyway, why not move climate first? I don't get Reid's strategy here -- is he afraid that if it goes second, and closer to elections, that the Cons will try to dismiss its legislation as an election year ploy?

Posted by: JWK on April 25, 2010 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

I am convinced that the republican party is the party of hate, they hate Mexicans, they hate Muslims, African Americans, Gays & anyone who does not conform to their vision of old white prejudice.They play on fear and have no plans to help govern the country or fix the many messes they gave Obama to clear up. A party who exists for the sole purpose of not allowing the government to govern cannot exist, all true Americans will sooner or later give up on them, I keep thinking of an article I read in Newsweek 'What happened to Responsible Republicans?'

Posted by: Joan on April 25, 2010 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

This should be a no-brainer.

First, the "energy/climate" bill (note the lack of upper-case letters here; it should tell you something) is about as weak as a cup of tea---before the teabag hits the water. It was a sellout from the word go, and a prolonged delay it its going through the legislative process will surely "out" those weaknesses.

Second, Graham's slip is showing when he throws a tantrum over immigration being given precedence; his antics are little more than a ploy to further impede another legislative win for Mr. Obama. Immigration reform will drive a huge electoral wedge between the majority of voters and the last diseased vestiges of the Party of No.

Given the continuing state of fluster-cluckishness of the part of the GOP, it's becoming more and more obvious that "Massa Rush" is leading his minions down the road to an Appomattox of their own making.

And a very bloody Appomattox it's likely to be, too....

Posted by: S. Waybright on April 25, 2010 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

Joan said:
I am convinced that the republican party is the party of hate, they hate Mexicans, they hate Muslims, African Americans, Gays & anyone who does not conform to their vision of old white prejudice.

Don't forget that they hate white liberals too, whom they see as 'traitors to their race'.


Posted by: SteveT on April 25, 2010 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Ricky Martin could invite Lindsey out for dinner.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 25, 2010 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

why can't both bills proceed simultaneously: Monday and Wednesday for one Tuesday and Thursday for the other?

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on April 25, 2010 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

I think there's more behind Graham's tantrum than he's letting on.

Immigration wouldn't be on the table were it not for the challenge Reid is facing and the fact that Dems think they can back Repubs into a corner with it between now and November.

On the other hand, Repubs would use the energy/climate bill to beat up Dems between now and November.

As to whether Graham's strategy is smart or not, time will tell. It has the appearance of whiny petulance that we've come to expect from him, but if it gets Reid to cave in (as we've come to expect from him), it's not so stupid after all.

Posted by: beep52 on April 25, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

If any of you really believe this "Climate Bill"is going to help our world your sadly mistaken...This bill and any other Cap & Trade bill ECT.is designed to make money for thier special interest group's...they dress these bill's up in a simpathy wrapper to " protect our planet or save our children" ECT,ECT. and they shove it down our throat's..I don't understand how so many people can be duped time and time again..Well I'm sick of all the phoney rules and regulation's that are supose to save me my kid's or my CAT!!How many law's rule's and regulation's do we really need?? Stop trying to control every aspect of my life and stop stealing the money I work hard for, and when you do get my hard earned money stop wasteing it!!!

Posted by: Fred on April 25, 2010 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly, it is stupid to take on environmental legislation in this political climate. In times of economic stress, the environment drops significantly in terms of the electorates priorities. This gives industry the upper hand when it comes to negotiating the terms of the deal. Why lock in a bad deal?

Particularly when all of the deals involve giving away the EPA's power to control CO2 emissions via the regulatory route. This is the direction we should proceed in until the economy is righted when we can revisit climate legislation in a more favorable political climate. True, we may not have as many Democrats in congress, but there will be much greater public support for doing something meaningful. And at least we will have given the regulatory path a chance. Who knows? It may prove to be just what the doctor ordered in terms of softening up industry making them amenable to a much better deal when it comes time to write the new legislation.

Posted by: SW on April 25, 2010 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans will always, always, do the most petulant, childish thing in order to accomplish nothing.

Posted by: Silver Owl on April 25, 2010 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

"In effect, Graham is saying, 'Do things in the order I prefer or I'll kill both major legislative initiatives.' "

There used to be an age requirement for the Senate -- one had to be 30 years old. Now, you just have to prove you'd be right at home in middle school.

Posted by: oh really on April 25, 2010 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Graham and the Republicans are scared to death of immigration becoming topic #1. They fear it will change the dynamics for the mid-term elections that they think favor them now. Hence, Graham's actions.

Immigration needs to be addressed asap. And the Graham-Lieberman-Other Guy bill is not a climate bill. We do need an energy bill, which as Graham himself has said, his bill is. It is not a climate change bill as he also said himself. A real climate change bill should be the top priority but there is no chance at this time for a climate change bill, only an energy bill.

And its not a good energy bill either. Let it fall by the wayside and take up immigration.

Posted by: Vicki Linton on April 25, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

This is one case where Graham is right, and that little putz Rahm Emmanuel is (once again) wrong. There is no "immigration legislation" to work on. Let them craft a bill in committee and then bring it up. In the meantime, let's work on saving the planet so there's some place for people to immigrate to.

Further proof that it's time to fire that goddamned Emmanuel and let him take his bullshit to Hollywood, where the worst that can happen is he'll join his little brother in putting together bad movies.

Posted by: TCinLA on April 25, 2010 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Same old story: one or a few Repubs work with Dems quietly on an important bill, the bill moves to the top of the headlines, Repub leaders announce total opposition, former Repub collaborators find reasons, usually transparently fake, to withdraw support. Lucy & the football etc.

I wonder: how is it that Repub leaders are so successful in getting their members to instantly switch into opposing otherwise popular legislation? Do their threats matter so much? Do they hold some kind of secret meeting where they show the collaborators something so threatening, so horrible, that the guys & gals are instantly willing to make the most humiliating climbdowns? What do they show them - surveillance tapes of the collaborators cheating on their spouses? The severed heads of Lincoln Chafee and Charlie Crist? How do they do it???

Posted by: Basilisc on April 25, 2010 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

If any of you really believe this "Climate Bill"is going to help our world your sadly mistaken...This bill and any other Cap & Trade bill ECT.is designed to make money for thier special interest group's...they dress these bill's up in a simpathy wrapper to " protect our planet or save our children" ECT,ECT. and they shove it down our throat's..I don't understand how so many people can be duped time and time again..Well I'm sick of all the phoney rules and regulation's that are supose to save me my kid's or my CAT!!How many law's rule's and regulation's do we really need?? Stop trying to control every aspect of my life and stop stealing the money I work hard for, and when you do get my hard earned money stop wasteing it!!!
Posted by: Fred on April 25, 2010

What a perfect summary of conservadom wisdom, thanks Fred. Your rant encapsulates most of the talking points my wild-eyed in-laws always make on this subject.

1.You can't trust government.
2.Let the free market solve the problem.
3.It's a conspiracy to enrich windmill/solar panel industry.
4.Can't you see what "they're" doing?
5.Get your mits off my money.

the only talking points missing is how awful the windmills look and how they kill birds.

Posted by: oh my on April 25, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Lindsey Graham last month:

"Advocates of comprehensive immigration reform will not be happy about a statement just released from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC. He says because Democrats are about to use a fast track procedure to get health care reform through Congress without a single GOP vote, he will now back away from the negotiating table (if they are successful - and it does appear they have some momentum on their side, at least today).

'The first casualty of the Democratic health care bill will be immigration reform. If the health care bill goes through this weekend, that will, in my view, pretty much kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year.'

Graham has been working behind the scenes with Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, to fashion a compromise. The two were recently at the White House to meet with the President about their efforts.

http://congress.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/19/health-care-fast-tracking-takes-its-first-casualty-immigration-reform/

Deceptive little putz spends too much time with Lieberman.

Posted by: Steve (not that one) on April 25, 2010 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

I think Lindsey is trying to undermine the rollout of the bill because he we threatened to be outed by SC republicans. There is no other rationale. As Steve says it makes no sense to delay the rollout because you are afraid that immigration will go first. And last week he was threatened with be outed if he does not move away from supporting initiatives by Democrats.

Posted by: rana on April 25, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Basilisc asks "I wonder: how is it that Repub leaders are so successful in getting their members to instantly switch into opposing otherwise popular legislation?"

Maybe most/all Republicans really are closeted gays?

Posted by: Zandru on April 25, 2010 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

First of all, may I say this is not proven, as yet. But, a deadly fungus has been found in the PNW from BC to Oregon. The Gattii strain has killed both animal, dolphins and humans. The speculation is warming is causing this. Our winters are far warmer, although, mild in comparison with other locales. We have less snow pack. An interesting tie-in is the other areas of the world where this strain is found. Warm and wet locales, such as Papua New Guinea, the Northern area of Australia, India, Brazil and Indonesia. If any of you have seen the episode from "Pacific" where the lst Division stormed the Western part of New Guinea, you will remember the Marines talking about the incessant rain. In the PNW, there has always been rain, but, the winters were far colder. With the warming, perhaps, this explains the onslaught of Gattii. Something must be done ASAP.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 25, 2010 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Senator Graham's latest hissy fit further exemplifies Republican continuing hypocracy about immigration reform, their insincere and scant interest in climate and energy legislation. "Indefinitely postponed" is exactly how Republicans avoid issues they really don't want to address and blame it on the Democrats.

During the Bush years, including 6 years of Republican majority in Congress, Republicans did nothing to address immigration, except to encourage vigilanty control of the borders and abusive treatment of Hispanics. Now, one by one, Republicans come out in support of Arizona's new "papers please" law. They allege that Obama is weak on national security, in failed to protect the southern border. Amazingly, smaller government, leave it up to the states Republicans don't even acknowledge the hypocracy in demanding a "federal control," "big government takeover" of our borders.

Michael Steele can now add Hispanics, immigrants, and women to blacks who have no reason to support the Republican Party.

Posted by: Carol A on April 25, 2010 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

graham is trying to change the subject from the outing attacks and to prove his gop creds. That's not to say he wouldn't have pulled the rug out from under the deal anyway when push came to shove.

Posted by: CDW on April 25, 2010 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

The immigration bill is a much better pre-election gamble than the climate/energy bill. The dems can energize the latino base with the bill. They are going to need all the help they can get in November and the process to pass a climate bill promises to be just as horrific as the HIR bill it seems.

Posted by: CDW on April 25, 2010 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

@ oh my, 4/25/10 10:36am

Nicely done.
As you correctly tagged it, Fred's cri du coeur is a classic of, indeed the very quintessence of, reichwing agitprop.
What you were kind enough not to take notice of, however, I can't bring myself to be so nice as to ignore. I know that the standards of grammar, spelling, diction, etc, are all relaxed on the 'net. But if someone is literally unable to write any more than one single sentence without a solecism, mis-spelling, confusion of homonyms, confusion of plurals/possessives, confusion of possessives/contractions, or all of the above, then that person is simply incapable of clear thought.
Clarity of expression is necessary both for analytic thought, and for communication (though it's sufficient for neither). Limited, or zero, ability to write/speak clearly thus signifies limited, or zero, ability to think clearly.
And I'm not overly concerned about the lack of civility I'm ostensibly displaying by calling this particular spade (as it were) a spade.
They're perfectly happy to call our President -- our duly-elected President, elected by clear, substantial majorities of both popular and Electoral College votes, and without any involvement of Republican-packed courts -- a liar, a usurper, and a traitor. They're perfectly happy to tell me, and people like me, that we're morally inferior to them, and doomed to Hell. As all of these propositions are at best clearly refuted, and at worst unprovable, but the world-class, weapons-grade stupidity clearly not just present in, but largely defining, these people is undeniably manifest every time they open their mouths or touch a keyboard, I'm not feeling any need to self-censor on such blatant facts. And if they don't like being called stupid, well, it may not be within their power to stop being stupid -- but it's clearly within their power to make an attempt, and they obviously relish their continuing choice not to do so.
At least Fred himself accommodates us by providing an excellent exemplar of, and evidence for, this very point -- ironically, in the one sentence he wrote with no errors:
"I don't understand how so many people can be duped time and time again."
There's clearly an awful lot (in every respect), and a great deal (also in every respect), that you don't understand, Fred, but for this one, try looking in a mirror.

Posted by: smartalek on April 26, 2010 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

It's obviously apparent by their remarks, that the Dems have already partaken of the kool-aid. It has apparently already blinded them. They wanted change, well they got it. Look at the history of Germany, Cuba, and Argentina who all wanted change. Those countries have endured unimaginable atrocities and loss of wealth. The change wasn't what it was cracked up to be. Just ask any Cuban what their government is like under Castro,or look at Hitler's monstrous regime. Likewise our change won't be a pretty sight down the road.It is quickly pointing us in the wrong direction. Wake up before the government turns the USA into a third world country. Or if you prefer, keep drinking the kool-aid. We all know the end result of that. Too bad the flock leader is driving the sheep blindly over the cliff.

Posted by: Anonymous on April 28, 2010 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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