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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Not-So-Clear Skies for Bush

As the heir of a long line of debtors, from a state founded as a debtors’ prison, I was genetically unhappy with today’s Senate passage legislation tightening grounds for filing bankruptcy.But there was better news on a more celestial issue this week: the Bush administration’s lame-o “Clear Skies” air pollution proposal got stopped again in the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, and may be dead for the year. (It’s too complicated to get into in one blog post, but the biggest problem with “Clear Skies” is its avoidance, contrary to a 2000 Bush campaign promise, to impose any limits on the most dangerous greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.)And even as the administration lost an environmental battle on earth, it’s not exactly storing up treasure in heaven. Leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals spent much of today in Washington working on a statement endorsing strong action on global climate change. They were addressed by Joe Lieberman, who with John McCain is cosponsoring the most prominent proposal for capping carbon dioxide emissions and guiding the U.S. towards something like a parallel track with the Kyoto process that Bush unilaterally abandoned. The small remaining band of moderate Republicans (exemplified by McCain and by Lincoln Chafee, who helped stop Clear Skies in the Senate) is already in revolt against the administration’s retro environmental policies. If a slice of politically active evangelical Christians get a little greener as well, we could finally see the end of a long period of gridlock on environmental policy, and a stretch of better weather.

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