The Hill has an article on the Progressive Caucus strategy for dealing with cap & trade. It leaves the reader to infer quite a bit, so I thought I would helpfully translate.
Liberal House Democrats are shifting their political tactics on climate change after failing to secure a public option in the new healthcare reform law.
The move comes in the wake of liberals having to walk back threats that they would vote against a healthcare bill without a government-run program.
“Drawing the line in the sand too quickly was part of the lesson we learned on healthcare,” the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), told The Hill.
“Nobody will ever take me seriously again, but WTF do I care, I’m safe.”
Grijalva voiced strong concerns about the direction of the climate and energy bill, which has moved toward the center as Democrats try to build a bipartisan consensus that can win 60 Senate votes. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are leading the effort in the upper chamber to pass a comprehensive bill.
“Thank God for Joe. We can bitch about him to all our rich, pissed off hippie donors and still give the oil companies and big coal everything they want. Drill baby drill!”
A cap-and-trade program, which was included in the House bill that passed last year, is likely to be jettisoned, and President Barack Obama disappointed liberals last week by announcing his support for expanding offshore oil drilling. The president’s decision was seen as a move to garner the support of conservative Democrats and Republicans who would be open to voting for a comprehensive climate and energy measure.
“It’s moving away from what was already a series of compromises in the House,” Grijalva said of the Senate legislation.
“See this t-shirt I’m wearing underneath? It says “Drill baby drill!” We flash the Republicans in the cloakroom and laugh like hell.”
A group of 45 House Democrats, all members of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), sent a letter late last month to congressional leaders, urging them to retain strong caps on carbon emissions. But the missive notably did not include any threat to oppose a stripped-down bill.
“We have enough votes to tank this pig if we want, but…uh…are you gonna eat that? Thanks, I love pickles.”
That stands in contrast to the language used last August in the healthcare debate, when 60 House Democrats signed a letter stating plainly that they could not vote for a bill that lacked a public option. Eight months later, every House liberal backed the final legislation even though the public option had been discarded.
The energy debate will be very different.
“The liberal base is on notice that any effort to engage in representative democracy will be resisted if it stands in the way of Exxon getting everything it wants. Want to see my t-shirt again?”
The co-chairman of SEEC, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), said in a statement that the coalition members were “very encouraged by the bipartisan work to get an energy bill in the Senate.”
“PhRMA was a pack of weenies. Big oil makes sure their Republicans STAY bought.”
Other House lawmakers have also refrained from specific threats on climate change legislation, in a nod to the political reality of the Senate confirmed by the healthcare debate.
“We learned that the Senate does not always — in fact doesn’t ever — take the work that the House has done,” said Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), a vice chairman of SEEC.
“Don’t look at me. I’m pwned by the medical industrial complex. I’ve already delivered this year. Oh, and make sure you put this in — ‘Joe Lieberman sucks.'”
The House bill was crafted by the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), and the chairman of the Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.).
“I’m the one who gets to be impotent but well-intentioned on single payer. When we fuck the hippies on offshore drilling, all those putzes will say “we love him anyway, he’s great on health care.’ Don’t worry, we run this con all the time.”
Markey released an approving statement after Obama’s offshore drilling announcement, saying the decision “demonstrates his commitment to a comprehensive view of our energy policy.” Asked to comment on the direction of the Senate bill, a Markey spokesman, Eben Burnham-Snyder, said only that the chairman wanted the Senate to pass legislation “that can be merged with Waxman-Markey so the Congress can send a bill to the president this year.”
“Consolidated Edison, Constelation Energy, Covanta Energy, Dominion Energy, Edision International, DTE Energy, El Paso Corporation, Electronic Power Supply Corporatin, Entergy Corporation, NRG Energy, the Petroleum Marketers Association, PG&E, Progress Energy, Semper, Spectra, Teco Energy and Xcel dropped a shitpile of money on me, and I’m gonna stay bought too.”
Environmental advocacy groups like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council have kept up the push for a far-reaching climate bill that includes a cap on carbon emissions and strong reduction targets. The Sierra Club’s executive director, Mike Brune, told The Hill last month that the organization would actively oppose a bill that provided too many concessions to big industry groups.
The enviros will launch a big fundraising campaign to fight the bill, fire off a lot of angry press releases, succeed in adding a comma somewhere, declare victory even though disappointed that “we didn’t get everything we wanted,” give the Good Enviro Seal of Approval so Democrats have an excuse they can point to while their rich hippie donors are tearing them a new one, whip from the right and threaten to primary any Democrat who votes against it, launch another fundraising campaign by fear mongering about the dire consequences of the bill, then stop by the White House for cocktails and collect big checks from mystery donors they never have to disclose.
The environmental groups have also taken pains to point out the political differences between healthcare and energy policy, where the geographical cleavages can be as important as the ideological differences. “Climate has always been a bipartisan issue,” Sierra spokesman Josh Dorner said.
“Wayne Gilchrest was run out of office and that was a lesson to every member of the Republican Party who so much as thinks about being a global warming skepticism skeptic. I got your ‘bipartisan’ right here: Drill baby drill!”
The willingness of liberal Democrats to fight for a strong climate bill could set up a clash with the party’s base, which was already disheartened by the loss of the public option battle and the perception that liberals were outgunned by the conservative Blue Dogs.
Don’t look at me. We already set this table on health care. Environmentalism is practically a religion among rich hippies — the Sierra Club doesn’t pull $40 million a year out of its ass, you know. The big dollar donors don’t need any help flipping their shit over a crap energy bill, and now they know how the game is played.
“Progressives drawing a line in the sand for the public option was not the problem. Being weak and not sticking by their line in the sand was the problem,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “Their credibility will be less than the Blue Dogs’ in every future policy battle until progressives draw a line in the sand and refuse to cave. If the climate bill is co-opted by oil companies, coal companies and other polluters, that may be a good place to start.”
Wait…wait. The energy companies pay big bucks to the Hill so they print shameless Lanny Davis/Anna Eschoo lobbyist puff pieces without question. How did that guy get in there? Quick. Give him a t-shirt.