Month 6, Day 9: Rightly Is They Called Idiots.

When Harry Reid became Minority leader back when Democrats were in the minority, I knew he was trouble. It’s unbelievable how regularly he manages to snatch policy defeat from the jaws of legislative victory.

And now he’s getting ready to do it again. I sent a copy of this letter to Chuck Schumer, as he appears to be involved in this scam, too.


Dear Senator Reid,

It’s true that the Gulf of Mexico disaster strengthens the case for a new and better energy policy. But replacing the already weakened Kerry-Lieberman bill with the completely powerless American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA) is a terrible mistake.

ACELA is filled with giveaways to polluters. Some analysts believe it will actually increase carbon emissions. This may be a tiny stepping stone towards a new energy policy — but the real lesson of the Gulf catastrophe is that climate change is coming, and it’s coming faster than anyone thought (the climate for sea creatures in the waters off Louisiana has changed pretty drastically in just a few days, hasn’t it?). America needs to take this seriously.

The type of legislative sausage-making that was a source of entertainment in less critical times is no longer an option. To think that further weakening legislation that has already had all its teeth pulled will entice Republican votes is the height of naivete.

If any climate legislation (such as “cap-and-trade”) is offered as an amendment to ACELA, it will be defeated, and the narrow window of opportunity opened by the crisis in the Gulf will have been wasted — just like every other window of opportunity that has opened for Democrats in the past few years.

A climate bill must be offered as part of a linked package: climate-and-energy. There can be no compromise on this; I am asking you to look beyond political exigencies and consider the fact that the scientific evidence is overwhelming: the planet is warming, humans cause it, and everyone who is paying attention knows this to be true. What we really need is a carbon tax. If what we can get in a climate bill is cap-and-trade, we’ll start there.

But cap-and-trade is not analogous to a “public option” — something that we good progressives will eventually abandon in order to get a bill passed. We must have robust climate legislation.

If we fail, our descendants will curse us. We owe it to them to get this right. Any bill that has incentives for dirty energy and puts no price on carbon is a failure.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders