The Washington Post tells a tale of woe in today’s edition, that of House Democrats in coal country shocked, shocked! to find themselves unpopular for voting for cap-and-trade. They want to blame the Senate for not supporting their supposedly brave vote by joining the circular firing squad, but the Senate vote has little to do with their plight. Their constituents have reached the obvious conclusion that their Representatives have stopped representing them, and started representing their ideological leadership:
But 13 months after that tough vote, Boccieri and dozens of other House Democrats along the Rust Belt are not at all happy with the way things have turned out. The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had assured reluctant members that the Senate would take up the measure. Although Senate passage wasn’t a sure thing, House Democrats hoped to go back home to voters with a great story to tell — about reducing dependence on foreign oil, slowing climate change and creating jobs.
That didn’t happen. Senate leaders, sensing political danger, repeatedly put off energy legislation, and the White House didn’t lean on them very hard to make it a priority. In the aftermath of the gulf oil spill, the Senate is set to take up a stripped-down bill next week, but the controversial carbon-emissions cap is conspicuously missing.
This has left some House Democrats feeling badly served by their leaders. Although lawmakers are reluctant to say so publicly, their aides and campaign advisers privately complain that the speaker and the president left Democrats exposed on an unpopular issue that has little hope of being signed into law.
What a sad tale! Perhaps they should have considered the interests of their districts first, instead of their Speaker and President. Ike Skelton’s constituents in Missouri certainly feel that way, and see his support for cap-and-trade as a sign that 34 years in Washington has made Skelton a (D-Pelosi) rather than a (D-Missouri):
“That bill would just crucify Missouri. Voting for it, it just didn’t make sense,” said state Sen. Bill Stouffer, who is one of two well-financed Republican primary candidates hoping to unseat Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton in the fall. TheGOP is using the climate change vote to accuse Skelton, now in his 34th year in Congress, of drifting from his moderate Midwestern roots.
“I vote for Ike Skelton. Everybody votes for Ike Skelton,” said Kay Hoflander, chairman of the Lafayette County Republican Party. But when Skelton voted for the climate bill, “he quit representing his district,” Hoflander said. “People now are saying, ‘Ike used to be one of us.’ “
Anyone with a map and a sense of politics knew that the Senate would get nowhere with cap-and-trade. Harry Reid used up all of his political capital getting ObamaCare passed, and that didn’t have the regional implications that C&T has. A number of Democrats in the upper chamber represent Coal Belt states like Pennylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, and so on. On top of that, imposing a de facto energy tax in the midst of economic turmoil would be akin to dousing a house fire with jet fuel, and the rational minds in the Senate know it.
If these Representatives fell for a line from Pelosi and Obama that the Senate would rush to pass such a bill after making themselves monumentally unpopular with ObamaCare, then they deserve their early retirement. It sounds more like a case for a Captain Louis Renault award, however: