Bye-Bye Cap and Trade?

The Democrats say they are giving up on cap and trade legislation, for the time being, at least:

Senate Democrats pulled the plug on climate legislation Thursday, pushing the issue off into an uncertain future ahead of midterm elections where President Barack Obama’s party is girding for a drubbing.

It is interesting that this is now taken as a given.

Rather than a long-awaited measure capping greenhouse gases — or even a more limited bill directed only at electric utilities — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will move forward next week on a bipartisan energy-only bill that responds to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and contains other more popular energy items.
“It’s easy to count to 60,” Reid said. “I could do it by the time I was in eighth grade.

Eighth grade? I trust that Reid was being modest.

“We don’t have the 60 votes,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). “So Sen. Reid’s a pragmatist. So rather than take us to a situation where we don’t have the votes, rather than do half-measures, let’s wait until we can get it done and get it right. So I think it’s a smart decision.” …
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) was visibly disappointed but said he isn’t giving up hope on getting “a decent bill” on climate within the next two weeks.
Still, he said, “the Republicans don’t want to cooperate on anything. On any of these major issues they vote no, and we’ve got to get some Republican votes because we don’t have unanimity in our caucus. So we’re still hoping they decide they want to govern instead of scoring political points.”

I always wonder when Democrats say this: what about the Dems who won’t vote for cap and trade? Are they, too, interested in scoring political points rather than governing? It seems odd to insult members of one’s own caucus by suggesting this, but maybe the theory is that we all know the Democrats in question would like to vote for cap and trade (or whatever), but can’t do so because if they did, they wouldn’t be re-elected. In Democratic circles, this is known as “preserving one’s viability” rather than “scoring political points.” Some of us call it “democracy,” since most Americans oppose forced impoverishment through energy taxation.
But I digress. The interesting question is, have the Democrats only deferred cap and trade to the lame duck session that will follow their presumed “drubbing” in November? Is that what Barbara Boxer means by waiting until they can “get it done”? That’s what some think, and it’s possible: the extra votes would come from Democrats who are up for re-election in November and don’t dare vote for cap and trade (or card check, etc.) for fear of losing their seats, but who will feel liberated after the election–win or lose–to veer back to the left. I don’t know how those numbers add up, and I doubt that anyone does–wouldn’t some Democrats, at least, have pangs of conscience about jamming through major, unpopular legislation that they didn’t dare support during the campaign in a lame duck session? TIme will tell. But if the Dems do undertake such a maneuver, it will give a whole new connotation the concept of “100 days”–here, more like 75.

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