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Ezra Klein

Ezra Klein

Ezra Klein writes an opinionated blog on economic policy, cap and trade, health care reform and pretty much anything else you can attach a chart to.


The bill should move

I'm sympathetic to Lindsey Graham's argument that the Democrats are being cynical in moving immigration ahead of climate change. He was doing something very hard by being the sole Republican on this bill, and they've betrayed that effort by announcing that immigration comes next, as that probably means that climate doesn't come this session. But to play devil's advocate for a second, so what?

What you're seeing here is why the climate bill was always doomed. Graham is under murderous pressure to drop the thing. No other Republicans have announced their support. It's an election year, and cap-and-tax is going to be a major theme on conservative talk radio. The evident fragility of Graham's commitment to the project is not evidence of bad faith, per se, but it's evidence that there was no way this bill could survive the polarizing political process.

So if you're Harry Reid and you're feeling cynical, you're faced with two choices for the rest of the year: Make climate the issue and back a politically dangerous piece of legislation that probably won't pass; or make immigration the issue, and force Republicans into a tough, unpopular issue that they may not survive. If 10 Republicans were milling around to help out on climate change, the answer to this would be easy. But having watched Olympia Snowe bail from health-care reform and Bob Corker fail to attach any Republicans (including himself) onto financial reform, what's the point?

I think Graham has the right of this argument, both in terms of the bill that should move and the assumptions that underpinned his work with Kerry and Lieberman. But it's not clear that Graham can deliver, and his willingness to run from this bill does not inspire confidence. So Graham may have a legitimate grievance, but Reid may still be correct in his estimation of the politics. To put it another way, Graham's right that we should live in his world, but Reid's right that we don't.

By Ezra Klein  |  April 27, 2010; 11:51 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The cap and trade approach will make little or no difference in global CO2, but it will make lots of money for those in the know.

The science that says CO2 warms the air is well founded. The attempt to say that doing so will cause uncontrolled climate change might be valid and it might be wrong.

As long as the true believers control the computer models and the proxies used to validate them, it is unlikely that any contrary opinions will even be tested.

But the cap and trade folks don't care one way or the other. There is a lot of money to be made working the angles, and it will take decades to figure out whether it was even a good idea to restrict CO2

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | May 5, 2010 12:44 PM
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Graham is an idiot for believing the global warming conspiracy in the first place. Junk science based on altered and filtered data. The people understand what this is all about. Taxes and control. Graham got the message and was looking for a way out.

Posted by: Pilot1 | May 2, 2010 8:12 AM
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