The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The Insiders: The Democrats’ disconnect on global warming

The divergence between Democrats and voters over global warming is reaching new heights. Last night, Senate Democrats actually stopped all other business to talk about climate change in an all-night session – even though they have not introduced any actual climate change legislation they can talk about specifically. They wouldn’t dare. As The Post’s Ed O’Keefe points out, there have only been 35 instances in the past 100 years when senators have kept the Capitol open through the night to debate an issue. The futility of the Democrats’ exercise was made more obvious by the fact that four of the most endangered Senate Democrats – Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) – were no-shows for the talk-a-thon.

It’s not clear who the Democrats were trying to reach with this stunt. Certainly not stressed, overtaxed American workers who don’t want to pay more for their electricity at home. Certainly not American businesses, whose bottom lines are already under attack because of Obamacare requirements and which can’t withstand more gratuitous regulations and forced higher costs for energy.

Over at the State Department, Secretary John Kerry sent out a surreal message to American diplomats around the world, saying, “I’m counting on Chiefs of Mission to make climate change a priority for all relevant personnel and to promote concerted action at posts and in host countries to address this problem.  I’ve also directed all bureaus of the Department to focus on climate change in their day-to-day work.”

Kerry, who probably has the highest personal carbon footprint of anyone in the Obama Administration (and that’s saying something), is telling our diplomats to lecture their host governments about “speed[ing] the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.” He provides seven action items to guide American diplomats in their harangues to foreign governments — and he wants them to do this every day. I hope this doesn’t diminish the time allotted in our diplomats’ day-to-day work for preventing terrorism, enhancing national security and promoting American business.

Politically it seems like Democrats should ratchet back their global warming fantasies and come up with a more credible, serious approach to climate change instead of doubling down on the tiresome lectures and pointless, expensive programs. Given what we know about the technical science and the political science of climate change, Democrats need to get this out of their system or risk alienating more voters before the elections.

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