The Long Strange Trek of Lindsey Graham and His Climate Tax Bill

So we know that Sen. Lindsey Graham has stormed away from today’s scheduled 11 a.m. Eastern Senate press conference stage, and taken with him his support climate legislation, putting on hold what will surely in this latest form also represent the biggest tax increase in our history. All of which is, of course, “for now”.


No, that won’t last. But the unfolding/ongoing theater deserves commentary for when it returns.

This is the same bill that John Kerry now says was put off until this week from last so the voters didn’t confuse it around “Earth Day” as an “environmental” measure, and that Graham now says is an “energy independence” bill. This is even though the bill was breathlessly touted instead by all of its supporters just months ago as what it is designed to be: a “global warming” law to address what they apparently no longer view as that big an issue.

Or else they took Stanley Greenberg’s advice and realized you aren’t buying and are scrambling to re-brand their Power Grab. And this seems more likely given what we know about the bill is that it’s core design remains, with tweaks aimed at luring political support by various constituencies —

First, about this dance, Rich Galen wrote in his Mullings blog last night that “So, by putting off – perhaps until the next Congress – meaningful legislation which might have led to reducing our dependence on foreign oil, in favor of legislation which may maintain our dependence on foreign workers Harry Reid and Barack Obama have chosen convenient politics over good policy.”

To which I respond (and did to Rich), this conclusion of course assumes/accepts the climate/energy bill was “good policy”. With that questionable — we don’t know what’s in it other than cap-n-trade for electricity, but Reid announced a suspension of the committee process and spent ten days bringing in constituencies asking what they need in return for supporting cap-n-trade, so we have an idea it ain’t all that good policy — I’d say the more appropriate trade was the politics of one base for those of another.

Reid it seems is working to excite (and register more of) the Hispanic base in Nevada, a base which experienced among the three fastest growth rates “among competitive states” between the 2006 and 2008 election cycles (as I read on Mullings).

Oddly, in today’s WSJ we read the strange assertion “‘We can’t pass it without’ Mr. Graham, [Sen. Joe] Lieberman said. ‘We need him to come back.'” (The Journal uses a parenthetical to replace ‘it’ with ‘the climate and energy proposal’, which editing I ignore here, as it is unwarranted for reasons noted above.)

Lindsey Graham is unlikely to bring many if any other senators with him on this bill. So that belief expressed by Sen. Lieberman is probably not one premised in a vote count, but rather the cutesy “tripartisanship” label the Three Amigos attached to themselves to give a tax increase what passes for cachet in Washington.

Lieberman’s comment seems to be a sign that only with the protective cloak of Republican political cover — to go along with the business support being purchased with your (new) energy tax dollars — will the Left move forward with a long-held wish-list to “organize society” while raising hundreds of billions in revenues on the path to coercing you out of your lifestyle if ostensibly, and somewhat miraculously, save the planet slash create energy independence.

Also, the bill was just crafted behind closed doors, and Graham’s objection is that it’s much further along than immigration which still has to go through the committee process — which Reid suspended for the climate bill. Then Graham says in the Journal piece that “‘Moving forward on immigration–in this hurried, panicked manner–is nothing more than a cynical political ploy,’ Mr. Graham said Saturday in his statement, citing the ‘hundreds of hours over many months’ that he spent trying to pass immigration legislation in 2007.”.

Ahem. Cap-and-trade, despite Graham’s assistance, failed on the Senate floor with the fewest votes in three stabs at ramming it through, if in a less hurried and panicked fashion than the present attempt, which occurred in 2003, 2005, and yes in 2008. Graham’s argument is a tad weak and runny.

My take on his walkout is that Graham feared putting this bill out there only to not ram it through, but instead leave it to be scrutinized.

And people are cynical about Washington.

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