After health-care defeat, petulant Republicans threaten to scuttle the earth

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 14:   U.S. Sen. Lindsey G...

What's that, Lindsey Graham? Image by Getty Images via Daylife

It’s a sorry enough state of affairs that we live in a nation where two precious Senate seats are occupied by the likes of James Inhofe (R-Ok), who invokes his peculiar God to deny climate change, and Tom Coburn (R-Ok), who would sooner see misfortune befall a colleague than help millions of Americans acquire health insurance.

We were hoping it was just an Oklahoma thing. This is a state, after all, that wants to publish personal information about women who get abortions.

But now even the most reasonable members of the Republican Party are behaving like spoiled children, burning down the house because Santa didn’t bring them a Wii.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is the lynchpin vote for the U.S. to pass a law limiting greenhouse gas emissions next year. He and Joe Lieberman agreed to play along only after Democrats accepted concessions promoting nuclear energy, offshore oil drilling, and oxymoronic clean coal.

A U.S. law limiting carbon emissions, meanwhile, is crucial to an equally fragile international effort to keep the planet from overheating.

That makes Lindsey Graham far more important to life on earth than any one man ought to be. Which should make us all concerned when he starts stomping his feet on the playground. Here he is dropping hints to Larry King Sunday night:

The bill I’m looking for is to find gas and oil here in America. Every barrel we find at home we don’t have to buy overseas, to create a renaissance in nuclear power and clean coal and control carbon emissions, put a price on carbon so the green economy will come. To me, it’s about jobs, not about polar bears. It’s about national security. But at the end of the day, I want to work with this administration.

But this health care proposal has made it very hard for Republicans to sit down at the table with these guys because of the way they’ve run over us.

via CNN.com – Transcripts.

And here he is quoted by Lisa Lerer yesterday:

It makes it hard to do anything because of the way this was handled,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Graham didn’t elaborate, but he didn’t have to — the fierce partisan fights during the past few weeks have torn away at the Senate’s clubby decorum, raising temperatures, fraying nerves and creating what one Democratic senator has called a “very high” level of distrust among members.

via GOP warns of harsh climate on energy bill – – POLITICO.com.

Lerer registers more blatant petulance from three other Republicans who, in some dreamers’ hearts, might have been expected to support the new clean-energy economy in return for sufficient compensation for the old dirty-energy economy: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Richard Lugar of Indiana.

It will be an ironic history whenever some surviving species evolves sufficiently to write it: Sorry, America, you got one procedural vote closer to health care for all your citizens, only have the planet pulled out from under you.

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