I'm going to take issue with Joshua Green's complaint about the climate/energy bill and recent disasters in the Gulf of Mexico and West Virginia:
In Washington, environmental disasters come with a silver lining...Historically speaking, then, a disaster like the one unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico would seem tailor-made to jump start a legislative process that has broken down amid partisan recriminations. And that certainly describes Washington. For months, a group of senators -- Democrat John Kerry, Republican Lindsey Graham, and Independent Joe Lieberman -- worked to craft an energy and climate bill that fell apart last week before it could even be introduced. Then came the Deepwater Horizon oil rig collapse. This should have prompted the Senate to look anew at the energy bill, which steers the country toward a cleaner, safer energy future (emphasis added).Putting aside whether the bill is or is not a good idea in the first place: no, the oil spill and the mining disaster should not have prompted the Senate to look anew at the energy bill. It's not as if anyone believed that oil spills were impossible, let alone that mining accidents were impossible. So these things really don't, or at least shouldn't, change the debate. It's as foolish to change your mind about oil after this spill as it is to change your mind about climate change because it snowed.
I'm not against using such things (cold days, oil spills) to try to gain rhetorical advantage; that's what pols are going to do, not to mention partisan hacks who host talk shows. But really, do we have to criticize people for acting like grownups?
If the climate/energy bill was a good idea last month, it's a good idea now. If it was a bad idea last month, it's a bad idea now. The substance of the issue has not changed, and so there's no reason to expect Senators to change their views.
(Update: The general consensus from comments is that I'm goofy on this one. I'm not going to concede, but I do recommend that everyone look at the comments -- perhaps they're right!).