“I’m in this to Win,” Graham says of Senate climate bill

Sen. Lindsey Graham doesn’t sound like someone who’s abandoned the push to pass a global warming bill….

“I’m not playing the game to win 43 [votes],” he said, referring to the high-water mark of past Senate climate bill roll calls. “I’m not in this to make a statement. I’m in this to win.”

Lindsey Graham is tough to read, that’s for sure.

UPDATE:  E&E News (subs. req’d) interviewed Graham in which he said, “I could see myself being the 60th vote for an energy-independent, job creation, clean air bill.”  But he has doubts the bill will get the other 59 votes and wants to see how the oil disaster plays out.  See also Politico’s piece today, “Graham unlikely to fold on energy bill.”

He apparently will not be joining his climate bill compadres Kerry and Lieberman next Wednesday when they launch the climate bill.  And he has given a multitude of conflicting statements in the past few weeks:

But now Greenwire/NYT reports the unexpected remark above:

Standing in the Senate’s historic Kennedy Caucus Room, the site of hearings on the sinking of the Titanic and Watergate, the South Carolina Republican told a room full of environmentalists and Obama administration officials Tuesday night that he is still in the fight to enact legislation that caps greenhouse gases and expands domestic energy production….

During his remarks, Graham repeatedly praised Kerry and Lieberman for their work bringing the climate bill toward the center and including many industry demands, including drilling provisions that have proved unpopular following the BP PLC oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And he also stressed the importance of immigration, an issue that he first grabbed a leadership spot on in 2007 while working with then-President George W. Bush’s administration and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Graham’s office didn’t comment as of press time on his status in the climate negotiations, leaving many to guess where he officially is.

“I think it’s like the hokeypokey,” said Sen. Jon Cornyn (R-Texas). “You put your right foot in. You take your right foot out. I’m not sure where he is right now.”

It’s pretty clear the bill goes nowhere without him:

Chris Miller, the top climate aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said yesterday the climate bill probably won’t come to the floor if sponsors are not within striking distance of 60 votes, and that means more than just winning over Graham.

“Because of the way the Senate works these days, we can’t even consider moving to a bill unless you’ve got 60 votes,” Miller said, adding that it “might not be worth taking a bill to the floor at all just to see it fail” if it is shy of 60.

Well, that assumes you believe this is a politically losing issue — a view that remains conventional wisdom inside the DC beltway despite countless polls to the contrary:

7 Responses to “I’m in this to Win,” Graham says of Senate climate bill

  1. jcwinnie says:

    But, Lindsey, you already got approval of the nuclear power plants, what in the heck do you still want to win?

  2. MarkB says:

    “He apparently will not be joining his climate bill compadres Kerry and Lieberman next Wednesday when they launch the climate bill. ”

    So how can anyone take him seriously, especially when he’s saying stuff to appease a room of environmentalists?

    It’s pretty discouraging that the general public, by nearly ever poll and by healthy margins, supports carbon emissions reduction legislation, yet the Senate can’t get their act together.

    Of course, if Senate legislation passed by a a simple majority rather than requiring at least 60-40 support, this would have been done long ago. 60-40 is in the ballpark of public views.

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    So Reid has given up on the Constitution, and allowed 40 Republicans to terrorize the opposition. Maybe that kind of personality is one reason he’s in trouble for reelection. And this guy was a boxer?

    I still like Graham, but we need less drama and more steadfastness.

  4. James says:

    I think he still clearly cares about this issue, and I find the “drawing out negotiations to get “HIS” on nuclear” argument lacking in many respects. As much as congressional representatives are thought to traditionally be motivated by electoral concerns only, I think political science and the public too strongly downplays the importance of other motives like “pet issues”.

    Lindsey Graham is a policy entrepreneur at its finest, and as much as he has clearly played politics and used climate/energy to negotiate on immigration, he clearly cares a lot about this issue to have taken it this far and put so much energy into it.

  5. fj2 says:

    Can we hope that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is planning to be the true leader reinventing his party as reality-based returning the United States back to a true two-party highly-effective system — proving once more that Democracy is more than a mere bold experiment — capable of extraordinary governance in the face of the most daunting humanitarian and environmental crisis modern civilization ever has known?

  6. Leif says:

    We have 59 Democratic Senators and can not get anything accomplished. We get one GOP, who in normal times I would not give the time of day, and we swoon all over him like he was the second coming. Perhaps the GOP will, in the end, reap all the political benefits of a green energy transition in spite of their history of wrench throwing. I have been fighting this battle for 40+ years and it pains me to see the whole potential success rest on a few GOP votes.
    There truly is no justice in the world.

  7. mark says:

    why do they need sixty votes?

    This is not the time to be polite. There is no time for arbitrary rules, and traditional thinking.

    These people don’t get it. They still don’t get it.

    Too much time in expensive spacious, air conditioned offices, being tended to morning noon and night.

    They need to go out and see the world the actual world, the destruction, they don’t have to go far.

    Go to Nashville, bail out some homes. Look around at the real world.

    Then come back, ditch lindsay graham, and get something started and finished. now.