This is how Warner (R-Va.) is ending three decades in the Senate: with a potentially historic, but possibly fruitless, drive to pass a national law on greenhouse gases. A recent convert on the issue, he is trying to sell colleagues on a bill that would reduce emissions over 40-plus years.
The bill has enemies among both environmentalists and business interests. But so far, allies say, Warner's conservative credentials and willingness to make deals have helped give the bill momentum. On Wednesday, it passed a Senate committee, the first greenhouse-gas bill to make it that far.
That's great news from Sen. Warner. In part, "Warner...decided that the U.S. military might face new and dangerous threats if the world were disordered by the weather." He "began to think, 'This thing really does impact on national security,'" and soon thereafter decided, "you've got to get off the bench and get in the ballgame."
Sadly, other Virginia Republicans remain stuck in their old, outdated, and seriously destructive ways of thinking. Just yesterday, EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN MEMBER of the Virginia House delegation voted against a historic energy bill that would set "a new direction" in U.S. energy policy away from dependence on fossil fuels. In voting against this bill, here's what Virginia Republicans -- including so-called "moderate" (what a laugh!) Frank Wolf -- opposed:
*Weaning our country off of its dangerous dependency on oil from unstable countries that hate our guts.
*Reducing the need for the United States to maintain a continuous, counterproductive, costly high-level military presence in Middle Eastern oil producing countries.
*Cutting the flow of "petrodollars" to terrorist groups and state supporters of terrorism. For instance, we purchase a great deal of oil from Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of the 9/11 hijackers PLUS Osama bin Laden. Saudi Arabia takes our money and spends some of it to support a network of Islamic fundamentalist "madrasas" around the world, teaching anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred to millions of young Muslims around the world. In addition, money flows from wealthy Saudis, including members of the extended royal family, to Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Finally, Saudi Arabia allows thousands of "jihadis" to enter Iraq from its territory and to kill Americans. THIS is the country that Tom Davis, Frank Wolf et al. apparently want to keep funding with our oil addicted money forever. That's completely contrary to U.S. national security, and that's an absolute disgrace.
*Beginning the long path towards slashing our carbon emissions and heading off catastrophic global climate disaster. This year, the warning signals went from "loud" to "ear splitting," not just with the Nobel Peace Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but also with definitive reports indicating that the situation is now dire and requires immediate, dramatic action. Unfortunately, Virginia Republicans, including supposed "moderates" like Frank Wolf and Tom Davis, are completely AWOL.
*Paying for protecting U.S. national security and the planet from disaster by cutting absurd subsidies to Big Oil, which continues to rake in profits greater than any companies in the history of mankind.
*Doing something about $90 per barrel oil prices, which are driven largely by demand. The fact is, America has a tremendous, latent "oil power;" namely, if we cut our oil consumption, the price will fall. The more we cut our consumption, the more it will fall. If we do that, we not only save OURSELVES money, we also deprive Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and other unsavory state AND non-state actors with fund to spread anti-Western ideologies and movements.
In sum, Virginia Republicans yesterday voted to do NOTHING about three of the greatest threats facing us: 1) terrorism; 2) global climate catastrophe; and 3) wars fueled, at least in part, by our "addiction" (as Bush himself said) to oil. Unfortunately, although John Warner gets it, the rest of the Virginia Republican delegation remains in lockstep with "The Decider." Needless to say, that's a really bad decision to make.