Patterico's Pontifications


The Sound and Fury of Cap and Trade

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:33 am

[Posted by Karl]

When the cap-and-trade boondoggle passed the House last Friday, I noted that the 219-212 margin sent the issue to the Senate with zero momentum.

Jay Cost shows how tough a road the climate bill faces in the Senate:

If the vote in the House on this bill had been calculated like the vote for President in the case of no majority winner in the Electoral College – where each state gets one vote – the climate bill would not have passed. Twenty-two state caucuses voted in favor of it while twenty-eight voted against. The bill passed in large part because of strong support from California and New York, which accounted for more than 26% of the total votes in favor of the bill.

Cost does not leave the analysis there, also noting that a number of Senate Democrats will face pressure to vote against cap-and-trade, while virtually no Senate Republicans will feel pressure to support it:

[M]any Senate Democrats face “pressure” to vote against the party. Nine face “significant pressure,” and another six face “moderate pressure.” A lot of these members might ultimately vote yea – but many of them might not. Of the fourteen Democrats under “significant” or “moderate pressure” who were in the last Congress – twelve either voted against cloture on the Lieberman-Warner climate bill, did not vote, or voted in favor but indicated to Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer that they opposed “final passage of the [bill] in its current form.” Thus, even with 59 Democrats (or 60 if/when Franken is admitted), passage could be difficult.

Cost could have added this year’s 67-31 vote against using budget reconciliation in the Senate for climate change legislation involving a cap-and-trade system. For that matter, he might also have noted the degree to which his map reflected the concentrated benefits of Waxman-Markey, which favors the coastal power companies and doles out boodle to farm states.

Sen. Jim Inhofe thinks that Senate Democrats can muster only 34 votes for cap-and-trade. That might be an underestimate, but the signs to date point to Democrats falling far short of 60 votes in the Senate.

One final note on the House vote: the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza reported:

Nearly three-quarters of the 44 [Democrats] who opposed the bill either are on House Republicans’ target list or are running for statewide office in a conservative leaning state in 2010 — a classic bifurcation between those who are on the ballot in a midterm election and a president who doesn’t stand in front of voters for another three plus years.

But, a deeper look at the list also suggests that the White House could well have driven their vote total on the bill higher if they absolutely needed to as a number (10-ish) of those who voted against the legislation could have been cajoled — or coerced — into casting a “yea” rather than a “nay” if it was absolutely necessary.

Accordingly, even if the House GOP had stood unanimously against Waxman-Markey, the Democrats likely had the votes to pass it. It might have been nice if that handful of squishy Republicans had not voted “yea” to force some vulnerable Dems to make a tough vote. But to the extent that those squishy Republicans are in swing districts where the “nay” vote would have hurt them, the exercise in party unity could easily have been a wash.

Update: The Politico has an account of how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi whipped the votes. The Democratic sources for the story have every incentive to make this look like a big achievement, but a close reading shows it was mostly about guilting the more leftist members of the Congress into supporting Pelosi’s position.


20 Responses to “The Sound and Fury of Cap and Trade”

  1. I’ve heard a time or two on the radio about the affects that cap-and-tax will have on your ability to sell a home — supposedly, you’ll have to get it inspected before you can sell, for example. But I can’t find any original source material.

    The bill’s been approved by the House for several days now. Surely someone has begun reading it and cataloguing the more outrageous parts. Does anyone have any links?

    Diffus (4cb9a7)

  2. It is scary that this thing has gotten as far as it has.

    Joe (dcebbd)

  3. This bill is going nowhere in the Senate. Its amazing that Pelosi would put so much on the line for a bill that cannot pass. Maybe that was in the calculation — she knew that the bill won’t ever become law so there probably won’t be a price to pay for voting for it in 18 months because no one will remember it.

    Shipwreckedcrew (7f73f0)

  4. Karl, I think that our boy Kirk voted for it based on his expected run for the Governor’s office. If he does run, then I’ll probably give him a pass, if for no other reason that he’s the best of a miserable lot of candidates that our pathetic excuse for a GOP state party has on their alleged “bench.”

    Dmac (f7884d)

  5. Its amazing that Pelosi would put so much on the line for a bill that cannot pass.

    Considering that she claimed that natural gas was not a fossil fuel explains her idiocy on this as much as anything else proferred.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  6. DMAC–I’ve heard that Dillard and Birkett are also going to run–would they be better in light of Kirk’s vote for this?

    rochf (ae9c58)

  7. Actually, I think Kirk is looking at the Senate race against whichever Dem runs over toasty Burris.

    Karl (c6eeaf)

  8. In 1983, one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in
    human history was achieved. This breakthrough was revealed by Carl
    Sagan in a live, heated debate with William F. Buckley, which was
    broadcast after the premiere showing of the television movie The Day
    After. It was here that Sagan introduced the concept of a nuclear
    winter. Sagan also discussed nuclear winter in an article published by
    Parade magazine. “”Nuclear Winter: Global Consequences of Multiple
    Nuclear Explosions”, also known as the TTAPS study, was published in

    According to the TTAPS study, much of the dust raised by nuclear
    explosions would end up suspended above the troposphere, which is the
    lower part of the atmosphere. This would reflect some sunlight back
    into space, and thus lower global temperatures. The study concluded
    that a five thousand megaton nuclear exchange can cause a temperature
    drop of about eighty-four degrees Fahrenheit.

    This was truly a historic paper, along the lines of Einstein’s “On
    the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” and Darwin’s “Origin oof the
    Species”. Clearly, dust in the upper atmosphere would plunge
    temperatures, and humanity had the capacity to reduce temperatures by
    eighty-four degrees with existing technology. This was reiterated in
    the book The Cold and the Dark: The World After Nuclear War, written
    by Paul R. Ehrlich, Carl Sagan, Donald Kennedy, and Walter Orr

    It was about ten years after that when another threat was
    discussed. This time, it dealt with warming temperatures cuased by
    increased carbon dioxide emissions. Rising temperatures would cause
    droughts in California, floods in Bangladesh, cause polar bears to be
    extinct, cause tropical diseases to spread, all sorts of calamities.
    Vice President Al Gore presented this in his movie An Inconvenient
    Truth, for which he won a Nobel prize. And all of this is supposed to
    result from an increase of two degrees.

    It is clear, therefore, that if humanity can reduce global
    temperatures by eighty-four degrees, they can reduce global
    temperatures by a mere two degrees.

    The threat of global warming resulted in the House of
    Representatives passing a bill dealing with this. Surely, we can
    expect dust to be injected in the upper atmosphere to reduce sunlight,
    perhaps even seeing mushroom clouds rise up once again at the Nellis
    test site.

    Except that the bill does not propose the obvious solution.
    Instead, it enacts a cap and trade system, which would impose higher
    taxes, thus raising energy costs in an attempt to reduce carbon
    dioxide emissions.

    One must wonder why this is being proposed as the solution, instead
    of blanketing the upper atmosphere with dust. In fact, it seems the
    TTAPS study was erased from the government’s consciousness. There is,
    in fact, no proof that reducing carbon dioxide emissions would reduce
    global temperatures. Clearly, the most obvious solution to this threat
    to human civilization is being deliberately ignored in favor of some
    complex regulatory scheme which would destroy the economy.

    It is here that we get into the crux of the matter. The
    environmentalist lobby is not about saving the environment, but
    destroying Western industrial civilization. The Kyoto treaty, which
    was about reducing carbon dioxide emissions, was only aimed at Western
    industrial nations. This war on global warming is really a war on
    Western industrial civilization.

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  9. The key thing to understand is that Barack Obama does NOT want to sign this abortion.

    He knows that it will provide only a short-term benefit for his political cronies (for example, politically-connected businessmen in the “green energy” field who donate heavily to Dems, can have contracts thrown their way). In the long run, Republicans would very easily repeal it. First of all, it would help Republicans to get elected. Secondly, once they repealed it, then it would be gone. Kaput. Dead. Not coming back.

    On the other hand, if he can pass health-care “reform” to put in motion a “government option” that would compete unfairly (by selling below its cost and receiving bailout money), that will stick to America for the next 50 years, at least. A single-payer healthcare system would probably become a permanent fixture of America, with a huge number of Dem-leaning govt employees.

    Obama has ONE agenda, and that is socialism. That’s why he backs Hugo Chavez, and Chavez’s lackeys. That’s why he’s pushing for a “government option” that would drive private healthcare out of business. That’s why he DOES NOT want to sign cap & tax.

    He wants “crony socialism,” where the government plays a massive role in our economy, and the government is able to send benefits in the direction of his cronies (giving them contracts, etc.).

    Daryl Herbert (a32d30)

  10. Karl, I think that our boy Kirk voted for it based on his expected run for the Governor’s office.

    The only Republican from the Midwest voting ‘Aye.’

    “The 1990 Clean Air Act signed by President Bush established a cap and trade system to reduce acid rain that proved to be a great low-cost success. Much of the poisoned lakes in the east and New England have recovered from acid rain. In the coming Senate debate, I hope we can repeat this environmental success and aggressively back a national program to defund Iran and Venezuela by reducing America’s need for foreign oil.”

    steve (69730b)

  11. Five-Thousand Megatons….
    Well, we don’t want to drop the temperature by 84-degrees.
    How about we use 300, 1-Megaton bursts to deal with political infestations?
    Would that drop temperatures by five-degrees (6% explosion factor = 6% temp drop?)?
    How much rubble needs to be bounced?
    Who do we go after after DC, Albany, & Sacramento?
    Only need 297 more solutions.

    Seriously though, cap & trade plus the new float of a value-added tax, will destroy economic incentives, increase the costs of everything, to everybody, and result in the country looking fondly at the economic vitality of Japan’s Lost Decade.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e2c6d2)

  12. “…aggressively back a national program to defund Iran and Venezuela by reducing America’s need for foreign oil.”

    Which is pretty hard to do when you put further restrictions on the exploration and recovery of domestic energy sources, including nuclear.

    These people are either Morons, or have set out to deliberately destroy the greatest country in the World – but, it will solve the illegal immigration problem.

    AD - RtR/OS! (e2c6d2)

  13. If a Republican rep has to vote in favor of this idiocy in order to keep his seat, I’d love to know under what circumstances his constituents will allow him to vote Republican.

    In other words, who really cares? It’s just a letter behind a name at that point.

    Phil Smith (1cf25d)

  14. DMAC–I’ve heard that Dillard and Birkett are also going to run–would they be better in light of Kirk’s vote for

    I honestly don’t know – the GOP has become so moribund over the past decade that I neither know nor care who the alleged “standard bearers” of the party are at this point. The GOP melded with the Dem party here awhile ago in order to create the dreaded “Combine,” which is basically a giant Borg that’s as corrupt as the day is long. It doesn’t matter what party their candidates are from – the Combine will still get their payoffs and bribes in a timely manner, and they’ll continue to buy off any politico who has the temerity to challenge their rule.

    We had a fantastic Senator here (Peter Fitzgerald – R) who tried mightily to clean up the mess, and after having failed to do so, appointed an independent prosecutor (Patrick Fitzgerald, no relation) on his way out the door to go after the entire system. Both parties strived mightily to prevent Fitzgerald from gaining his position, and have continued to try to get rid of him. But he ain’t going nowhere, and his efforts may finally be bearing fruit. It’s our only hope at this point.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  15. I don’t know how many votes the Senate Democrats can get for this measure but I assume they have one more with Senator Franken.

    DRJ (cdbef5)

  16. Dmac, any chance of Fitzgerald coming back ? I heard a few rumors a few months ago. The Republicans in California are just about as bad. Hugh Hewitt was going on today about how he only supports Republicans and won’t tolerate any criticism of them like his rivals on another radio station have been doing. If everybody thought that, we are really doomed.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  17. There is, in fact, no proof that reducing carbon dioxide emissions would reduce global temperatures.

    First of all, from a purely political standpoint, it doesn’t help when there are Republicans like John McCain who are very squishy on “green” issues, or certainly AGW.

    Regardless of a person’s politics or party affiliation, nothing is more laughable than when a person is spooked by global warming on one hand, and yet, on the other hand, happily moves to and enjoys warm-weather climates, particulary a blast-furnace-hot state like where McCain comes from (ie Arizona).

    As for the science, how come none of the supposed experts on global warming ever specify the way that carbon dioxide affects areas of what meterologists label as high pressure?

    All I know is that in this part of the world (southern California), whenever temperatures soar — and people end up walking around sweaty and miserable — it’s almost always due to the “H” symbol indicated on a weather map. And when there are no “H”s anywhere near California, the need for air conditioning goes out the door.

    The last time I checked, those “H”s appear to exist and hover throughout the planet, regardless of the amount of manmade carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    Mark (411533)

  18. “Sen. Jim Inhofe thinks that Senate Democrats can muster only 34 votes for cap-and-trade. That might be an underestimate, but the signs to date point to Democrats falling far short of 60 votes in the Senate.”

    Karl, you’re great at researching things. Ever looked into when this whole ’60 votes are needed to pass things’ started becoming the standard? I know we’ve had filibusters in the past. But that was it: filibusters. Not waiting for 60 votes. When did that come about?

    imdw (0d02ca)

  19. Dmac, any chance of Fitzgerald coming back ? I heard a few rumors a few months ago.

    If only those rumors proved true, Mike – I have no idea whether or not he would even consider coming back, since he was a multi – millionaire before he ran for the Senate and was treated terribly by the members in his own party. What was particularly galling is that both Rove and Bush reportedly tried to prevent the Fitzgerald appointment, due to the constant pleading of the GOP honchos in IL. Disgraceful, and I can’t see why he’d be willing to do them any favors at this point, other than give them the big middle finger even if they asked him on bended knees. What makes me even more upset is learning that Paul Vallas (who served as head of education under Daley for a few years and did an excellent job before Daley decided he was getting too much press, so buh – bye) has just decided not to run for the County Board Presidency, preferring to remain in New Orleans.

    So it appears that no one with a shred of credibility will even touch our benighted state – pathetic.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  20. imdw, it takes 60 votes to end debate ie., a filibuster. So the Senate does faux filibusters these days.

    SPQR (26be8b)

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