Lindsey Graham’s bad advice

LINDSEY GRAHAM’S BAD ADVICE…. I don’t see the logic behind this at all.

The chief Senate Republican negotiator on energy legislation urged President Obama and Democrats to abandon comprehensive reform for the time being and push passable components of the bill instead.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said that in the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf the votes simply aren’t there for the Senate to pass far-reaching legislation.

“You have a comprehensive approach that can sell and I don’t think many people believe that the oil spill has helped get more votes for offshore drilling,” he said. “It has made it a hard climb. Let’s do smaller version of the energy climate bill… and be realistic about what is possible or not.”

Let me see if I get this straight. For Lindsey Graham, when the desperate need for an overhaul to the U.S. approach to energy policy is less obvious, he’s willing to work on an ambitious, comprehensive solution. When there’s a catastrophe, shining a bright light on the urgent need for a comprehensive approach, Lindsey Graham wants policymakers to scale back and accept less.

Or put another way, pre-catastrophe, Graham wanted to aim high. Post-catastrophe, Graham wants to aim low.

It seems pretty obvious that this is backwards. What more evidence could Graham and his cohorts need that a compressive approach — which, as recently as a few weeks ago, had Democratic, Republican, and independent support — needs immediate attention?

Graham reportedly conveyed his advice to the president yesterday at the Senate GOP luncheon. The White House issued a statement that said the president told Republican senators that the BP oil spill disaster “should heighten our sense of urgency to hasten the development of new, clean energy sources that will promote energy independence and good-paying American jobs.”

That, apparently makes too much sense to succeed.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.