Fists raisedHow much smaller can the climate denial tent get? We’re about to find out.

With companies as diverse as Nike, Johnson & Johnson and Ford Motor Company having joined the call for comprehensive clean energy & climate legislation, the Republican Party has come up with its counter-strategy: “To fight bill, GOP turns on business,” declares the headline in today’s Politico, citing a Double-Secret Probation Leaked Memo from Republican staffers for the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. (The lesson: If you want people to read your memo, pretend it’s secret, then “leak” it to anyone who’ll take it.)

Earlier this week, ClimateWire reported, “The GOP also may try to eliminate tax benefits for companies that belong to the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, including Alcoa, BP, Duke Energy Corp., Rio Tinto and Shell Oil Co., and tinker with the nonprofit tax status for the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute and Pew Center on Global Climate Change.” That’ll show ‘em!

Who’s left in the denial tent these days? You can’t just say “Big Oil” – ConocoPhillips and Shell are part of US CAP. You can’t just say “Big Coal” – Duke Energy recently dropped out of the National Association of Manufacturers over Duke’s support for climate legislation. How about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, purportedly the voice of small business? Last, week, 10,000 small business leaders asked the U.S. chamber to shut up and get out of the way on clean energy and climate action.

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Even as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 moves through the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Republican leadership still has no viable alternative to offer. All Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) could do last week was dust off the Cheney energy plan, little more than a big polluter bailout bill.

Since denial has failed, Republican leadership is moving to anger, lashing out at businesses who’ve been allies for generations. And without the claim that they’re protecting business by blocking clean energy legislation, what’s left for the Grand Old Party’s leaders to claim? That they’re protecting polluters? Or that, science and jobs be damned, we’re the captains of this here denial ship and we’re going down with it?

The GOP Tent is starting to look more like a bunker. Will any of the rank-and-file question that mentality? Looks like we’re about to find out.

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