Could Scott Brown's Victory Be Good for Clean Energy Reform?
Why use this photo, you ask? Why not? Via Gateway Pundit
When news came at Tuesday's end that Scott Brown had clinched Ted Kennedy's former Senate seat in Massachusetts, my first reaction was shock. Then came the disappointment--Scott Brown had, after all once been an ardent supporter of energy reform until he flip flopped for his Senate campaign. But then, a strange thought occurred to me--perhaps Brown's victory will actually be a good thing for the clean energy bill. How could this be, you ask? Come hither, and I shall tell . . .My reasoning went like this:
Scott Brown to Galvanize Democrats to Pass Clean Energy Reform
After Brown's victory, most of the headlines focused on the impact it'd have for health care reform--some of the smart money now says is dead in the water. But it could be that his win will have the opposite effect on that other major piece of controversial legislation: it may galvanize Democrats to finally pass the surprisingly popular, bipartisan support-garnering clean energy reform. The climate bill had been languishing, but Brown might've just salvaged it.
Scott Brown's win has frequently been interpreted as a referendum on the unpopular health care reform efforts--and indeed, over the last couple months, Americans consistently expressed disfavor towards the bill in polls. This is, somewhat amazingly, not the case with clean energy reform. Even when called a 'cap and trade', even after millions of dollars were dumped into marketing campaigns to discredit it, Americans still poll in favor of climate legislation by wide margins.
Harry Reid knows this--which is why in the wake of Coakley's defeat, he strongly reaffirmed his intent to bring the climate bill up for debate this March. The future of energy reform had grown uncertain in recent months: moderate Dem senators were calling for its postponement, and enthusiasm for the bill had long since waned. But Brown's victory is a wake-up call, and will likely rally Democrats to protect their agenda--and will serve as a reminder that Democrats have to start reaching out to Americans with more effective messaging.
Fortunately, clean energy reform offers an ideal opportunity to do just that: polls consistently show that the climate bill has broad bipartisan support, it has ample opportunities for powerful messaging (ending oil dependence, creating jobs at home, holding big corporations accountable for their pollution, etc), and it has at least one key GOP Senator's firm support.
Faced with the possibility of losing two key pillars of their agenda, Democrats won't let energy reform go quietly--and if they've learned anything from the Massachusetts ordeal, they won't.
Cold Hard Reality
As excitedly as I wrote those words above, I just can't endorse them. Thing is, the above reasoning is based on what you'd call wishful thinking--if the Democrats were as organized, united on message, and forceful as the GOP, it might have a chance of happening. But now, since I started writing this, even key supporters of clean energy reform (like Diane Fienstein) are coming out and saying it looks doomed. Which is too bad--I truly believe that energy reform could be a political winner that garners broad support from Americans.
But the cold hard realities of the Democrats in the Senate--their inability to stay on message, to effectively explain their reforms to the American people, to unite their members--came surging back to me today. The loss of a Massachusetts vote for clean energy reform will most certainly be devastating--and it's infuriating. This nation needs an incentive to join the clean energy revolution, or we'll get left in the dust--China and Europe are already eating our lunch on clean tech. We'll continue pumping over a hundred billion dollars a year into the economies of unstable governments to get our foreign oil fix, sending jobs along with it, and imperiling our national security.
All so coal and oil companies can remain rich, and the Senators who benefit from their support can continue to do so. Shame.
More on Clean Energy Reform
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Supreme Court Ruling to Let Big Oil & Coal Spend Unlimited Funds to Influence Elections
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