A political squabble is threatening to kill a "tripartisan" energy bill aiming to fight climate change. A group of three senators — Democrat John Kerry, independent Joe Lieberman, and Republican Lindsey Graham — had been planning to launch the legislation on Monday, but Graham abruptly backed out. In an angry letter, he said that a rumored Democratic plan to debate immigration reform ahead of the energy bill is a divisive attempt to pander to Hispanic voters and will make it impossible to pass the climate bill. Who's to blame for this blow-up? (Watch a Fox discussion about Lindsey Graham's decision)
This outburst is bad political theater: Lindsey Graham's "tantrum" proves he was negotiating in "bad faith," says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. Graham himself had asked President Obama to move faster on immigration reform, which he co-sponsored. By "threatening to kill" two proposals he "invested so much time in," Graham's making it clear he "wasn't really serious."
"Graham asked for 'stepped up' action on immigration"
Graham is doing Democrats a favor: The American "public has had quite enough, thank you, of government activism this year," says Joe Klein in Time. So plowing through with "another humongous piece of legislation" — especially one that "effectively guarantees higher energy prices" — would have magnified public frustration with the Democrats. Lindsey Graham did them a favor by pulling the plug.
"A big favor from Lindsey Graham"
Harry Reid has only himself to blame: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blames Republicans, says Ann Althouse in Alternet, for pressuring Lindsey Graham to back away from both the energy and immigration bills. But in fact it's Reid who's being overtly partisan. He and his Democratic colleagues are trying to steamroll the GOP and rush through reforms the public doesn't want before November, when "actual Americans get to the polls in November and tell him what we really think."
"Moving forward on immigration ..."