Lieberman-Warner’s failure this year underdetermines next year’s efforts
I suppose as an enviro-blogger I’m supposed to have something insightful to say about the death of the Lieberman-Warner bill. Yet I find myself strangely apathetic. So much buildup, so much debate, and then … hell, it was just another Republican filibuster. Why did I waste all those brain cells in the first place? It’s not like I have many more to spare.
I guess I’m inclined to say that this is actually the best possible outcome. It looked to me like Dems stumbled into this debate unprepared to respond to the objections they knew (should have known?) were coming. An extended debate over amendments would have allowed Republicans to hammer their line about rising energy costs for two weeks, and the bill never would have passed regardless. Some crappy amendments would have been included, lowering the bar for what Congress will produce in 2009.
Republicans overplayed their hand. Their congressional delegation no longer knows how to do anything but be maximally hostile and obstructionist. As a result, the message coming out of this fight is that Democrats tried to do something about a serious and widely acknowledged problem, and Republicans blocked them. This should be hung around the neck of every Republican running for reelection.
What does this mean for the next effort, in 2009? Mainly it drastically underdetermines it. Dingell and his House energy committee co-conspirators want to take charge of the process and re-orient it around what they produce. Boxer in the Senate and Pelosi in the House will be working to avoid that. The big, big wildcard factor, of course, is the presidency. McCain would mean disaster — a weak, inefficient bill at best. Obama could — not would, could — change the landscape considerably.
I wrote more about Obama’s potential to affect the green debate over on Huffington Post.
And, that’s about the best I can do for Friday afternoon. Is it beer-thirty yet?