Sen. Lindsey Graham is on board with the job-killing energy tax bill, but there are many Democrats who won’t walk the plank with him on cap-and-trade. Unlike health-care reform, which might be jammed through with smoke-and-mirror parliamentary tricks, cap-and-trade will have to get through the U.S. Senate the old-fashioned way — with 60 votes. According to most counts, the votes aren’t there. As Politico points out, “Any climate bill still faces steep obstacles in the Senate.” Not even the usually pro-environmental John McCain supports the climate bill, because it contains nothing to promote the real green energy source — nuclear power.
Then what’s the point of all the legislative angst? Well, for starters, liberal senators need to convince the left-wing base of the Democratic party that they are doing their best to pass a top agenda item and to build momentum for future climate bills. But in the end, it won’t come to the floor unless Democratic leadership can muster 60 votes. Why? Because the Senate leadership won’t want to be embarrassed and because vulnerable Democrats (including Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Harry Reid) won’t want to face a tough vote that will alienate either their own base or independent and conservative voters.
So Lindsey Graham annoyed conservatives once again — for nothing? Looks that way.