Mike Tomasky writes about Artur Davis, who you’d ordinarily expect to be an easy “yes” for health care, but who’s instead a hard “no” because of his quixotic quest to become Governor of Alabama:
The district he represents is quite poor, average income around $27,000. I don’t know where to find uninsured by congressional district. I’ll look. But if the national average for uninsured is around 15%, then Davis’ district has to be 25 to 30%, maybe more. And under-insured or provisionally or shakily insured would take us considerably higher.
But by cracky, he’s going to make a special trip back to Washington to vote against the interests of his constituents and show all those white voters around the state that he can’t be suckered in by that Obama socialism. Disgraceful.
I understand his political concern. But why didn’t he resign the office in December or January when it became evident that this was how things were likely to play out? And why didn’t Pelosi or Big Bad Rahm make him resign?
Critics of Obama and the congressional leadership often speak in very vague terms about things that allegedly could have been going better with more “toughness” and “fighting” or else “reaching out” or “connecting” or “focusing” on this or that. And I think that’s more-or-less all bunk. To find valid criticisms of the White House, this is the sort of thing you need to look at—granular, specific points where change could have been affected. National leaders could have said to Davis that they would help him with his gubernatorial fundraising if and only if he conducted the campaign in a way that didn’t sabotage national priorities—maybe that means voting “yes,” maybe it means resigning in a timely manner, whatever.
I’m told Davis’ district has a 23.6 percent poverty rate. 32.4 percent of the children in his district are poverty.
– “This bill is still going to wreak havoc with the manufacturing sector in some parts of the country.”
– “The Senate, for example, is not considering cap and trade. The cap and trade provisions are the ones that frankly would damage the manufacturing sector short term and have a lot of other unpredictable consequences on our economy.”
— “When we’re in the midst of a deep recession, we need to make sure we’re not making a dramatic change that could cost us jobs in the short term, because many states simply can’t afford to lose more jobs.”
– “This is the wrong time for cap and trade, this is the wrong time to impose a renewable electricity standard on the Southeast.”
Davis is wrong. In fact, the Senate is continuing to work on cap-and-trade legislation for passage this fall. Furthermore, Davis seems not to understand that states like Alabama need the clean-energy economy to recover from the Bush-Exxon recession.
A Clean-Energy Economy Will Create 29,000 Jobs In Alabama. The Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), the EPA found, will “create strong demand for a domestic manufacturing market for these next generation technologies that will enable American workers to serve in a central role in our clean energy transformation” and “play a critical role in the American economic recovery and job growth.” A report from the Center for American Progress and the Political Economy Research Institute “finds that Alabama could see a net increase of about $2.2 billion in investment revenue and 29,000 jobs based on its share of a total of $150 billion in clean-energy investments annually across the country. This is even after assuming a reduction in fossil fuel spending equivalent to the increase in clean-energy investments. [EPA, 4/20/09; PERI, 6/18/09]
Waxman-Markey Directs Billions Of Dollars To Energy-Intensive Manufacturing. The Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) includes cost containment provisions, allowances for worker assistance and training, investments in clean energy technologies, a new clean energy deployment agency, and billions of dollars in direct assistance to trade-vulnerable and other industries. [Committee on Energy and Commerce, 6/9/09]
A Renewable Electricity Standard Would Reduce Costs In Alabama. The Energy Information Administration projects that a renewable electricity standard of 25 percent by 2025 — much stronger than the one in the Waxman-Markey legislation — would drive electricity costs down by more than 10 percent in Alabama and throughout the Southeast, as utilities move away from increasingly expensive coal to renewable biomass. [EIA, 4/09]
Alabama Is Especially Susceptible To Global Warming Damages. As a coastal state, Alabama is highly vulnerable to the devastation of hurricanes, which will increase in intensity as the oceans warm and sea levels rise. Rainfall is expected to decrease, increasing the rate of devastating droughts like that of 2007. By the end of the century, Alabama will have deadly heat waves over 90 degrees for more than four months every year. [U.S. Global Change Program, 2009]
Davis claims to support clean energy reform, but he opposes any effort to limit the carbon pollution responsible for global warming. Like the House Republicans, Davis is in denial.