KerryPhoto: Cliff1066 via FlickrIt feels like we’re writing about the “very last chance for a climate bill in 2010” just about every week. Well, Tuesday morning’s White House meeting between President Obama and 23 senators was billed as yet one more last chance to breathe some life into the bill that the Senate can’t seem to pass.

So far, few useful details have emerged from the huddle. Instead, we get a pathetic quote from Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that feels way too accurate:

We believe we have compromised significantly, and we’re prepared to compromise further,” Kerry told Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn.

If you’re looking for the sorry state of American energy politics distilled into one line, there it is.

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Now, Kerry fights harder for clean energy than just about any national politician. And the level of dysfunction in the Senate makes it impossible to avoid compromise to polluter interests and Republican obstructionism. Still, this is not inspiring.

One glimmer of hope is that Obama’s still trying to convince senators to include a price on carbon in the bill, Kerry and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said after the meeting.

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“The president was very clear about putting a price on carbon” and curbing greenhouse gases, Kerry told Politico.

But — to dash that hope — Obama isn’t putting climate and energy at the top of his public agenda. Instead, he’s moving on to immigration reform, on which he’ll give a major speech on Thursday.

And Senate Dems still don’t have a clear climate-bill strategy going forward.  Will they push for a broad cap on carbon? One that only applies to electric utilities?:

Asked whether a power plant-specific bill was in the cards, Kerry replied, “There are any number of varieties. That could be one of them.”

Kerry’s quote calls to mind T.S. Eliot:

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.