If the Republicans take the Senate in November, they should send roses to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). His comical obsession with the Koch brothers and persistent opposition to pro-growth, pro-jobs energy development is a gift for Republicans.
It is not merely that he says blatantly false things, although he and his PAC do plenty of that. More important, he is helping to elevate an issue that hits the most vulnerable Democrats the hardest, the Detroit News reports:
Republican Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land is unveiling two new Internet ads that criticize her rival for opposing the Keystone XL pipeline and tying him to a billionaire.
Land is trying to make the opposition of Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, to the controversial pipeline that would carry oil from the Canadian tar sands to U.S. refineries, a campaign issue. Her ads cite media reports that Peters attended a Feb. 19 event with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and former Vice President Al Gore at the San Francisco home of Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager who has vowed to spend tens of millions in favor of candidates who oppose the pipeline.
“Gary Peters — working for billionaires not Michigan,” say the two ads from Land. “Steyer could make millions by killing the pipeline by investments in Keystone’s competitor.”
Yowser. In the battle of the billionaires, the Reid-Steyer team seems to be on the wrong side of the issue. As the Hill notes, “The Republican National Committee (RNC) released a memo on Wednesday that accused Senate Democrats of blocking the Keystone XL pipeline because of Steyer’s promise to spend heavily on political races this fall. . . . The RNC memo painted Steyer as a hypocrite for touting the harmful effects of carbon emissions, despite the fact that he made money off a fund invested heavily in oil and gas companies, including a Keystone competitor.”
Today the National Republican Senatorial Committee is targeting another Democrat. Embattled Mary Landrieu (La.) failed to make good on her promise to find 60 votes to break her own majority leader’s chokehold on the Keystone vote. (Perhaps a different majority leader would allow her to make good on her promises to support the pipeline.) So in an e-mail blast the NRSC argues, “Mary Landrieu has been telling anyone who will listen how influential she is after being named Chairman of the Energy Committee, but it turns out that Landrieu isn’t influential at all. The Keystone delay simply reinforces how ineffective, powerless and without influence Senators like Mark Begich, Mark Pryor, Mark Warner and Kay Hagan are. Democrats like Mary Landrieu who stand loyally by Harry Reid’s side are responsible for this failed Keystone outcome that hurts middle-class families and workers throughout the country.”
Climate change is a great issue for left-wing fundraisers, but with the Senate in the balance it is a huge in-kind gift to the GOP. On the bright side, for those Democrats who survive, a GOP Senate majority leader would almost certainly arrange for a clear up-or-down vote on the pipeline.