Chuck Todd, the NBC political director, is incensed by a Center for American Progress Action Fund update on the clean energy jobs bill being marked up by the House energy committee. The update described Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) as “moderate Democrats” who announced their support for the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), driving Todd into a tizzy:
Did I read this right? Did CAP call John Dingell and former black panther Bobby Rush “moderates”? . . . Maybe on the energy issue, as far as CAP’s concerned, Dingell is a “moderate” since he’s always been on the side of the auto industry on key emissions votes. But should CAP really call these two moderates? Stuff like this in official press releases can immediately cost folks credibility with readers of said releases.
“Perhaps ‘fence-sitting Democrats‘ or ‘Democrats who are moderate on climate’ might have been a tad better,” Joe Romm points out on Climate Progress, “but this press release hardly deserves the harsh attack from Todd.” Dingell and Rush are two of the 18 committee members who the trade publication E & E News identified as undecided on Waxman-Markey. In fact, E & E News senior reporter Darren Samuelsohn described Rush as a “moderate” last week:
Even as Waxman said he could pass the bill out of his committee, at least a half-dozen moderate and conservative Democrats held back in declaring their support for the climate bill, including Reps. Rick Boucher of Virginia, Bobby Rush of Illinois, Diana DeGette of Colorado, John Barrow of Georgia, Baron Hill of Indiana and Melancon.
Both Rush and Dingell have voting records on energy issues that put them to the right of most Democrats, according to Oil Change International:
In fact, Dingell has not been merely “moderate” on energy issues, but practically indistinguishable from Republicans. Dingell, who has received millions of dollars from polluting industry, “has been one of the great obstructionists of action on making our automobiles more fuel-efficient and less polluting.”
Todd continues to read “tea leaves” to make prognostications about the prospects for climate change legislation. To maintain his credibility, perhaps he should pay more attention to facts and better reporters instead.