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The Global Warming Campaign Issue, There for the Taking



Kim Strassel writes, in “The EPA’s Carbon Bomb Fizzles” in the Wall Street Journal, with typical insight that:

“President Obama, having failed to get climate legislation, didn’t want to show up to the Copenhagen climate talks with a big, fat nothing. So the EPA pulled the pin. In doing so, it exploded its own threat.”

Far from alarm, the feeling sweeping through many quarters of the Democratic Congress is relief. Voters know cap-and-trade is Washington code for painful new energy taxes. With a recession on, the subject has become poisonous in congressional districts. Blue Dogs and swing-state senators watched in alarm as local Democrats in the recent Virginia and New Jersey elections were pounded on the issue, and lost their seats.

But now? Hurrah! It’s the administration’s problem! No one can say Washington isn’t doing something; the EPA has it under control. The agency’s move gives Congress a further excuse not to act.”

I am with her up to the end, at which point I must respectfully disagree. This dispute assumes, however, that congressional Republicans have a pulse. Yes, yes, I know, Kim and I may find ourselves on the same page here yet.

What I am saying is that far from relieving congressional Democrats of their cap-and-trade burden, this sets the stage for making it worse. That is, any sentient Republican effort to nationalize, or simply make the most of, the 2010 elections not only ensures that each and every Senate campaign includes the “will you or won’t you?” question about voting to ratify the Kyoto II treaty – now set to be agreed in Mexico, exempting Mexico, and exporting U.S. manufacturing jobs to Mexico, one week after our November 2010 elections – but it also includes a vow not unlike those found in the Contract With America: “We promise an up-or-down vote on whether the EPA can do this to you and our economy without Congress.”

A sympathetic if more symbolic effort at doing just this fizzled in an appropriations vote this week, buried amid everything else. But broken out as a discrete pledge, and vote, it seems difficult to believe that this would not result in the Congressional Review Act stopping any EPA rulemaking cold.

That, of course, would also require a change in management. Which is part of the pitch. But, again, I may be assuming too much.

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