I don’t think Chris Matthews can blame “the blogs” for this pre-emptive strike:
Liberal House Democrats are shifting their political tactics on climate change after failing to secure a public option in the new healthcare reform law.
The move comes in the wake of liberals having to walk back threats that they would vote against a healthcare bill without a government-run program.
“Drawing the line in the sand too quickly was part of the lesson we learned on healthcare,” the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), told The Hill.
Grijalva voiced strong concerns about the direction of the climate and energy bill, which has moved toward the center as Democrats try to build a bipartisan consensus that can win 60 Senate votes.
I don’t want to make too much of this, because at the end of the day I don’t think there’s going to even be a climate bill. But clearly the lesson that Grijalva learned from the health care debate was that he wasn’t willing to carry out his threats, so to stay out of trouble he should just stop issuing threats. Basically, he’s been domesticated, trained to take whatever scraps he can get.
Interestingly, there is a Democrat unwilling to budge on key elements of any climate bill. His name happens to be Larry Summers.
Support for energy investment that creates demand and puts people back to work at a time of unemployed resources and excess capacity is the first way that energy policy strengths our economy.
Second, comprehensive energy legislation will reduce uncertainty and increase confidence. The cheapest stimulus program in the world is enhanced confidence [...]
Until we pass comprehensive energy legislation, that is exactly what we are doing. We are creating an environment in which there is no certainty for someone building a new power plant.
There is no certainty for someone making the commitment to an industrial production process.
There is no certainty for someone thinking about the generation of automobile models after the current generation of automobile models, five or ten years out.
Clarity brings certainty, certainty brings confidence, and that is what moves the economy forward [...]
Enacting comprehensive energy legislation will help our country move down the technological learning curves in key sectors associated with energy efficiency, associated with battery technology, associated with renewables, that will be economically important in the years ahead [...]
Ultimately, economic policy choices, like investment decisions for a family, involve seeking opportunity and involve minimizing risk.
If you think about the risks to our ecology, the risks to our security, we minimize those risks with comprehensive energy policy.
And if you think about the opportunity to lead in what is really important, we maximize that opportunity with comprehensive energy legislation.
That’s why energy is so crucial a part of President Obama’s economic strategy.
Basically, Summers is saying that we must price carbon to relieve producers of uncertainty about their investments. Amazingly, that’s more than Grijalva is willing to say. And Grijalva would have more tools, like the saving of a boiling planet, at his disposal, were he to make the case.
Pricing carbon isn’t even an entirely controversial point. But that’s what’s being dismantled in the Senate’s consensus-building approach. And yet, Grijalva – or anyone else in the Congress – won’t say a word about it.