Someone in the hermetically sealed bubble of the White House and Democratic Senate leadership must have thought it was a good idea to stage an all-night talk-a-thon Monday into Tuesday on climate change. It might seem odd since the American people are most interested in jobs, government trustworthiness and a slew of other issues, but these lawmakers chose this tactic for the gravest issue they could find, the threat of carbon. One can only imagine this was a base-pleasing move.
It also pleased Republicans on the ballot in 2014. The distinctly not pleased should include Democrats from energy-rich red states.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., provided a written statement which one can see being wrapped into a campaign ad or debate zinger: “It is one of the primary responsibilities of a U.S. senator to speak out when fellow lawmakers are actively working against your constituents’ best interests. It is very disappointing that Alison Lundergan Grimes could not muster a word against her liberal allies in Washington who were pulling an all-nighter to shut down the coal industry and left open the possibility that she would join them.”
This is going to be a theme embraced by more than one campaign. David Ray, campaign spokesman for Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas quickly emailed, “This goes to show how out-of-touch Washington Democrats are with what voters want. They’re not holding an all-nighter for job creation. They’re not holding an all-nighter to fix Obamacare. They’re holding an all-nighter to placate their liberal donor base in California.”
Red-state Democratic senators did not, of course, join in this gabfest, but they do vote for the Senate leadership and have taken some anti-home-state energy votes. In the case of Virginia’s Mark Warner, competitor Ed Gillespie’s spokesman took this shot: “Mark Warner has advocated for cap-and-trade and a carbon tax that make the energy produced in Southwest Virginia more expensive and would kill even more jobs here. He may not have stood with his colleagues on the Senate floor last night, but he has stood with them on every job-killing vote they’ve cast.”
Going after climate change while hawking regulatory limits on domestic energy production is one more issue (in addition to the stimulus, Obamacare, guns, taxes, Medicare cuts) Republicans will use to tie Democratic incumbents to the White House. Must be nice to have the Democrats help out.
Jennifer Rubin writes for The Washington Post.