Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Command Performance by McConnell

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, on the show last night, illuminated his unyielding opposition to the cap-and-trade bill now being debated in the Senate. He hit all the right notes. Overtax. Overspend. Over-regulate. Central planning. Command-and-control of the U.S. economy. All in the name of a dubious global-warming theory. A bill that would wind up costing consumers and businesses a small fortune. A bill that would drive up electricity prices and gas prices at the pump, reducing American competitiveness and damaging the economy.

It was a very impressive presentation of the conservative opposition to this crazy bill.

Right now Sen. McConnell is trying to put forward a bunch of amendments that would be poison pills to Democratic leader Harry Reid — including a provision to allow large-scale off-shore drilling for oil and gas. I might add that Mr. McConnell was heavily armed with facts and figures for this most impressive presentation on the program. If there’s any tougher conservative in the Senate, I don’t know who that is.

We also talked some about the importance of 41 Republican votes to stymie Democratic plans in a number of areas. Of course, Mr. McConnell’s crystal ball for November is not perfect. But he made a strong case for electing Republicans to stop the threat of a three-house Democratic sweep.

He also talked about stopping the union agenda — which is very much a part of Obama’s campaign. Especially the card-check bill, which would end the secret ballot for union organizing in businesses. This bill was stopped once last year, but it will come up again if Obama wins.

I also asked McConnell how he would deal with John McCain’s support of cap-and-trade. McConnell said he had no idea if McCain supported the current Democratic bill. But he said his Republican members are opposed to this bill.

Steve Moore of the WSJ editorial board called in this morning to remind me that both Obama and McCain have critical cap-and-trade votes in front of them. I call it carbon politics. Think Kentucky. West Virginia. Pennsylvania. Ohio. These could be very important states in November.

John McCain has an out by citing India and China, countries that of course will not be subjected to a U.S. congressional bill. That dodges the bigger points about the flaws of cap-and-trade, but it could give McCain an excuse to vote nay.

Obama also comes from a coal state, so carbon politics are in play for him too. The fact that these coal states went for Hillary (not Illinois, of course) in the primaries doesn’t mean they’ll stay in the Democratic column come November. The public is totally against paying anything more in energy costs. And the Senate Democrats are making a huge mistake forcing this vote. I don’t think the stock market wants cap-and-trade either.

But circling back to McConnell, let me repeat: He is one smart savvy conservative leader. A very impressive man.