Following up on my last post, the upcoming climate change fight is yet another really good reason why we simply can’t afford to have a 60-vote requirement to pass anything in the Senate. If a simple 51-vote majority was all that was needed to pass cap and trade, then Nelson, Bayh, Landrieu, and as many as 6 other members of the Democratic caucus would be welcome to take their brave stands for denialism, preen a little in front of the cameras, and take their intransigence back to their districts for the midterms. Meanwhile, everyone else could work on, you know, governing. It’s win-win!
It makes me wonder if there’s a backroom deal to be cut over the filibuster, using climate change legislation as the cudgel. Perhaps a coalition of Democrats eager to tackle both Senate reform and climate change could go to the Blue Dogs and moderate Republicans like Snowe and tell them that the Senate would be doing both over the next year, in that order. If the centrists from both parties support the elimination of the filibuster, then they can oppose cap-and-trade legislation all the want, and maybe even extract a pound of flesh or two in committee; but when push comes to shove, the bill will still pass, and they can still go home crowing that they voted against it.
Of course, this would only work if Harry Reid–whose own reelection prospects look kind of grim–has the stomach to tell a swath of the caucus that the filibuster and climate change are the next two things on the agenda no matter what happens and mean it.