We refuse to accept the argument that the United States cannot lead the world in addressing global climate change. We are also convinced that we have found both a framework for climate legislation to pass Congress and the blueprint for a clean-energy future that will revitalize our economy, protect current jobs and create new ones, safeguard our national security and reduce pollution.
Our partnership represents a fresh attempt to find consensus that adheres to our core principles and leads to both a climate change solution and energy independence. It begins now, not months from now -- with a road to 60 votes in the Senate.
It's true that we come from different parts of the country and represent different constituencies and that we supported different presidential candidates in 2008. We even have different accents. But we speak with one voice in saying that the best way to make America stronger is to work together to address an urgent crisis facing the world.
Say what you will about bipartisanship, but this is great news. With luck, John McCain and Lamar Alexander will follow suit. Climate change legislation must pass this year - this is the one issue where Jack Bauer's ticking time bomb actually exists. To pass a bill before that bomb goes off, we will need Republican votes - there is no budget reconciliation for the environment, but there are Democratic nay-saters. For every Evan Bayh, we will need a Lindsay Graham.
On a related note and in the interest of disclosure, I will be starting a part-time job with Repower Nebraska - the local affiliate of the climate change advocacy group Repower America - later this week. They won't be paying me any money, but I will be working there as part of another program (the Episcopal Service Corps) that does pay me. I will stick such a disclaimer after the jump on all future environmental posts.
Brief recap: When it looked like John Kerry might become President, the Massachusetts state legislature changed the Senate succession law so that the Republican Governor, Mitt Romney, would not have the power to fill Kerry's seat. The new law states that a special election must be held 145-160 days after a vacancy, but contains no provision to keep the seat filled during those 160 days. A week ago today, news broke that Senator Ted Kennedy had sent a letter to state leaders asking them to give the Governor the power to appoint someone to fill the seat until the election could be held, on the condition that that appointee not run for the office him/herself.
So here's the news: Governor Patrick said today that he supports Senator Kennedy's request. State Republicans will, of course, try to paint this as a power grab, never mind the fact that the appointment is just for 145-160 days and that Massachusetts voters need to be heard on issues from cap-and-trade to budget issues. From the Boston Globe:
"I'd like the Legislature to take up the bill quickly and get it to my desk and I will sign it,'' Patrick said in an interview with the Globe, reiterating in his strongest terms what he had been saying throughout the day, as the state and nation absorbed Kennedy's death and what it would mean for Massachusetts, and for the chamber he served for a half-century.
Patrick's public statements add to growing momentum for Kennedy's plea, which he made last week in a poignant letter to the governor and legislative leaders. Kennedy said that while he supported the state's current method of filling vacant a Senate seat through a special election, Massachusetts could not afford to go without two senators at such a critical time.
Kerry, Harry Reid, and Vicki Kennedy have both been lobbying state leaders to make the change. House Speaker Robert DeLeo has said nothing publicly but seems to support the change privately. Senate President Therese Murray has been more reluctant but her opposition seems to be softening.
I would be remiss if I did not end a post on Ted Kennedy, however, by again expressing dismay. This New York Times op-ed from former staffer Adam Clymer (whose biography of Kennedy should arrive from Amazon tomorrow) is one of the better tributes I've seen.
From July 20, 2008 through today, during the "post surge" period (U.S. troop strength at 150,000), there were 135 U.S casualties and 3 U.K. casualties in Iraq, a total of 138 "coalition" deaths in a 252 day period (.55 average per day).
During the month of January, 2009, there were 16 U.S. casualties.
During the month of February, 2009, there were 17 U.S. casualties and 1 U.K. casualty.
During the month of March, 2009, there have been 7 U.S. casualties (a welcome and significant decline to "only" one U.S. casualty in Iraq every 4 days).