Party over planet

PARTY OVER PLANET…. With the White House scheduled to host a meeting tomorrow with key senators over an energy/climate bill, it’s worth considering how nearly impossible it’s likely to be to strike a deal to address global warming. The problem isn’t that Republicans have always opposed cap-and-trade; the problem is that those who’ve been reasonable in the past have changed their minds.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) co-sponsored a bill with cap-and-trade in 2008. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) voted for cap-and-trade in the state legislature. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) is on record supporting carbon limits on power plants. Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) has called for greater U.S. leadership on global warming. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) helped write the cap-and-trade language that Senate Democrats support right now.

And in perhaps the most dramatic example, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), during his national campaign less than two years ago, promised voters he would “establish … a cap-and-trade system that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The official McCain/Palin position added, “A cap-and-trade system harnesses human ingenuity in the pursuit of alternatives to carbon-based fuels.”

So, how many of these same lawmakers are prepared to consider a similar measure now? Apparently, none.

President Barack Obama needs a couple of Senate Republicans to play ball if he’s going to pass a cap on greenhouse gases this year.

But few, if any, GOP senators seem willing to work with him on a plan their leaders have dubbed a “national energy tax” — despite the fact that some of them have seemed supportive of the idea before. […]

“No one in our conference supports a national energy tax,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Lindsey Graham added, “In a partisan atmosphere, it’s hard to help the other side without being accused of aiding and comforting the enemy.”

So, our existing energy framework will continue to deteriorate; American competitiveness will suffer; and global climate change will become a more serious crisis … but Lindsey Graham may not have to endure some name-calling for working with senators from the other party.

In order for our country to maintain the capacity to solve problems, we need two political parties, not one, that are prepared to work in good faith towards finding solutions to shared challenges. We have nothing of the kind — and the consequences will likely be severe for all of us.