Why is there no line in the sand that the bill’s sponsors won’t cross to get support from midwestern Dems? Why are they so eagerly giving away the farm?
And the answer is obvious: it’s because Republicans have cynically decided nearly en masse to blindly oppose any action on climate change whatsoever. This means that Waxman and Markey have no choice except to grimly cut deals with every last parochial interest on the Democratic side just in order to get anything passed at all. So that’s what they’re doing. And it’s ugly.
Now, if they wanted to, Republicans, in return for their votes, could fight to keep the bill cleaner, keep it more effective, and insert provisions that would make it more acceptable to conservatives. That would be great. Waxman and Markey wouldn’t have to give away the store to every congressman with a coal mine in his backyard if there were even a small band of serious Republicans willing to support a climate change bill and bargain in good faith to help get it passed.
But there isn’t. It’s the Party of Nyet that’s created this political dynamic. They can stop it anytime they want.
Jim responds by suggesting that the GOP’s opposition to the bill may not be so blind or cynical after all,* but it seems to me that this is beside the point, as when last I checked, the Democrats controlled the Executive Branch and held 60% of the seats in both the House and the Senate. This means that if the Democrats were both (a) serious about passing a climate change bill that wasn’t a complete sop to corporate interests and (b) disciplined about following through on those things they were serious about, we could have a cleaner and more effective climate change bill by Monday. It’s true, of course, that Republican cooperation could also help this sort of thing to happen, but it’s only because of the failures of the Democrats that such cooperation is necessary at all.
I understand, of course, that Drum’s a Democrat, and that as such it’s in his rooting interests to stick up for his guys. But in fact his real interests tend in a quite different direction: progressives who are upset with the failure to come up with a worthwhile climate bill should be directing their ire in the direction of the party that represents them, not excusing their political incompetence and general lack of principle by complaining about the “political dynamic” supposedly created by the antics of the powerless opposition.
* The natural way to evaluate this claim is to ask whether the GOP would be similarly opposed to a better – e.g., Manzi-style – Democrat-sponsored climate bill, too. And I think I know the answer.