Photo via Fits News
If anyone else out there feels foolish for having been taken a ride by the man who was once the greatest hope for passing a climate bill, know that you're not alone. I'm hating myself for writing a post that actually suggested that we "thank Lindsey Graham" for saving the climate bill. Then again, there's no way I could have known that just a few months later, it would become clear that Graham is either an incomprehensible maniac, an opportunistic hack, or both: he has just proclaimed, for truly ridiculous reasons, that he will now vote against the climate bill he himself was instrumental in writing. Here's the news, via Congress Daily (via Grist):
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., today said he would vote against a climate change strategy he helped develop with Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., citing new changes that further restrict offshore oil and gas drilling and the bill's impact on the transportation sector.Now, he had been distancing himself from the bill for some time, using any excuse he could think up to ditch it. Give credit to Enviroknow's Josh Nelson: he predicted that Graham, realizing how politically unpopular it was making him in his own party, had soured on the bill just months after he'd finished writing it and was seeking any opportunity to dump it.
First, he tried throwing a fit when Reid decided to move to immigration reform -- another cause Graham supports, by the way -- before focusing on climate and energy. Reid relented, and Graham was prevented from an easy out. Now, Graham says the final straw is that the bill doesn't do enough to expand offshore drilling. Of course, he's saying this as the biggest environmental disaster in US history, caused by offshore drilling, continues to unfold in the Gulf.
Grist's Dave Roberts explains what he thinks happened:
Basically, the base won. Graham was under the impression, shared by some his older mentors, that Republicans are still the party of business. He thought if he rode in, watered down the bill to make it friendlier to industry, and garnered support from oil companies and manufacturers, he would be hailed as a hero. He hasn't internalized the fact that the crazies have completely taken over the Republican Party. But they made their will known in no uncertain terms.That will of course, was this: Stop admitting that climate change and oil dependence are actual problems if you want to keep your job.
And so the saga of the unlikely Republican champion for fighting climate change comes to end -- as such sagas so often do, with a quiet, unscrupulous bit of political weaselry: Graham is already beginning to pretend that he never believed in climate change and that the provisions he helped write in his own bill are outrageous, in an appeal to prove to his constituents and his base that he's just as ignorant about climate change as all the other Republicans out there.
Pretty soon, the man who could have helped the US forge its first meaningful climate policy, will be start talking about how we need CO2 to breathe, and what, should we all just stop breathing?