Where is Barbara?

Matt Klink
President, Klink Campaigns

To paraphrase White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, "Never let a crisis go to waste."  

Clearly, Barack Obama agrees with his chief of staff’s philosophy.
Last week during his first Oval Office address, President Barack Obama
spent a significant part of it trying to convince the American people
that in the wake of what’s happening in the Gulf, now is the time to
implement radical energy and climate reform legislation – which for
Barack Obama and some of his Democrat supporters, means a so-called
cap-and-trade system…or a national energy tax.

To "move" this economy-changing legislation through Congress – a feat
doubted by many in his own party – Barack Obama needs the United States
Senate to act legislatively…and that "action" will require 60 votes to
stop a filibuster.  Sensing the timing may be right, or, in truth, that
the legislative calendar for the year is nearing its end and Democrats
need to rush home to campaign for November’s elections, the President
will soon call a group of Republican and Democrat Senators to the White
House to discuss this so-called energy and climate "reform" effort.

The focal point of any and all U.S. Senate action on the Barack Obama’s
national energy tax, masquerading as energy and climate legislation,
should be the Chair of the Senate’s Energy and Public Works Committee,
who happens to be California’s Barbara Boxer.  But, where is Barbara?

Senator Boxer has been conspicuously absent and noticeably silent from
recent press coverage on energy and climate legislation.  Shouldn’t the
chair of the Senate’s Energy Committee take a leading role in moving
this key component of President Obama’s agenda through the Senate?  The
answer is yes…but Boxer tried and failed to do so last fall.  In short,
it appears that Senator Boxer has been cut out of the legislative
process or marginalized because she’s too polarizing a figure and
incapable of bringing her fellow senators (even Democrat ones) to
consensus.

A quick look at Senator Boxer’s heavy-handed tactics on last year’s climate change legislation demonstrates this reality.  

Last September, Boxer pushed a 950-page piece of energy legislation through her Committee using what the New York Times
called "a rarely used exception to customary committee rules" to cut
off debate and stop any changes to her controversial bill.  Her bill
"passed" with no Republicans present in the committee hearing room and
with one Democrat – Max Baucus (D-MT) – voting no…and was effectively
dead upon passage.  After this occurred, the Senate’s Democrat
leadership spread Boxer’s workload on climate change among six other
committee chairmen.

Boxer’s heavy-handed, hyper-partisan approach should surprise no one.
She is an unrepentant liberal who is hell-bent on moving a progressive
ideology regardless of its consequences.

The cap-and-trade legislation she supports – similar to a very liberal
House-passed version – would be disastrous for America and for
California.  Politico
pointed out that it contained "397 new regulations."  Worse still, with
California facing 12.5 percent unemployment, according to Americans for
Tax Reform, the Boxer’s legislation would cost California hundreds of
thousands of jobs and would cost America 2.5 million jobs by 2035.  At
the same time, the cap-and-tax legislation she supports would increase
taxes on American families by $3,100.  Gas prices would soar and
utility prices would skyrocket.  Ultimately, these increases would hurt
middle and lower class families.

As all of Washington rushes through its rapidly shrinking legislative
agenda to return to home, it’s no wonder why many Democrats are
cautiously pessimistic about cap-and-trade’s future.  Its lofty
rhetoric, when translated into real public policy, would decimate many
states’ economies, hike taxes, raise prices and do little, ultimately,
to stop greenhouse gas production worldwide.

When Barbara Boxer returns home to campaign for what she has termed a
very competitive election, she will almost certainly trump her
committee chairmanship to California voters and will attempt to "woo"
them with moralistic global warming arguments.  What hopefully will be
discussed will be her plans to create private sector jobs, stimulate
the economy and create lasting economic growth – all of which are
absent at present.  At the end of the day, Senator Boxer will be forced
to run on her 18-year U.S. Senate career in a year, where entrenched
incumbent status is a negative, even for a Democrat running in
left-of-center California.  November should be very interesting.

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