Alex's Outlook

Friday, November 21, 2003

Good Guys 1, GOP 0

Congratulations to the 33 coastal Democrats, 6 Republicans and one independent (Jeffords) who defeated the Administration-backed energy bill today. The Bush energy bill would have been decent if all the concessions - the 8.5-billion-a-year ethanol mandate, $5 billion in biomass subsidies, and pet pork projects to bribe various wavering senators - could have been counterbalanced by any conservatism. There was not anything conservative about the bill, other than (arguably) targeted tax cuts for the energy sector.

Anyway, it was a good thing that this monstrosity died. The final tally in the Senate was 57-40, three short of the 60 votes needed to cut off the filibuster. Kerry and Edwards didn't vote, and I daresay they would have both voted against the bill. I don't see any of the six rebel Republicans - McCain (AZ), Gregg (NH), Sununu (NH), Snowe (ME), Collins (ME) or Chafee (RI) - as returning to the fold, no matter how much pork gets added. All the Midwestern Democrats have already been bribed by the ethanol tax. It would take some extremely adept backroom maneuvering for the GOP to get any more votes than it already has.

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