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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Republicans Want to Filibuster Energy & Climate Bills?


A recent article in Rolling Stone Magazine suggested that Democrats in the Senate are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome—their time in the minority has left them even more timid than usual, and more prone (on almost any matter of any importance) to revert to “the Republicans won’t let this go through, and pushing it will just antagonize them. No point in trying really. . .”

And so sank a variety of energy and global climate change related bills that have risen and (quickly) fallen in the past week or so. Whaddaya gonna doo? If you don’t have sixty votes to shut down a filibuster, why bother? Lunch anyone?

In late 1995 and early 1996, Newt Gingrich spearheaded the shutting down of the federal government (14-19 November 1995; 16 December 1995-6 January 1996), a face-off that ended up hurting him and benefiting President Bill Clinton. The lesson some drew from this is that “obstructionism” is politically costly.

Personally, I’m more than ready for some obstructionism. Bizarre that this is a partisan issue (like one party being the Gravity Party and the other being the Anti-Gravity Party), but this is where we are.

The Republicans want to filibuster, among other things: 1. To protect the oil companies from the repeal of the billions of dollars of tax breaks they have long enjoyed; 2. To prevent the passage of an emissions reduction bill (likely through a market-based permitting and cap & trade regime) that would at least begin to address global climate change; 3. To protest the protection (link is to anti-protection, pro-drilling site) of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) from oil drilling.


The Democrats should show just an uncharacteristic smidge of vertebral integrity and let the Republicans “stand up for what they believe in.”

First and foremost, they should do this because it’s the right thing to do and this is the right fight to fight. But I find it hard to believe that they would not benefit from this politically as well.

Think of the shock value: “Democrats standing up for—!” Well just the “standing up” part would be new and newsworthy.

And the Republicans?

We have seven weeks or so (w/ time out for the 4th of July) until the Congress breaks for August recess. If the Republicans are committed to gridlocking the Senate for that period in order to stand up for Big Oil and to stare down environmental protection in all its nefarious guises. . .


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