Anointed Nevada Senator Dean Heller has met the enemy, and he is the Administration’s nominee to head the Department of Commerce. Predictably, Senator Heller is perturbed because John Bryson, a former California energy executive, is ideologically impure. [Sebelius] Worse still, Mr. Bryson supports Cap and Trade carbon emission control legislation!
Republican outrage over Cap and Trade proposals is interesting, especially since Cap and Trade was a “free market” solution to emission control once favored and promoted by leading Republican lights, until President Obama submitted a Cap and Trade plan in February, 2009. [TWI] For reference, there is a political history of Cap and Trade proposals nicely summarized here.
Senator Heller is also disturbed by Mr. Bryson’s leadership in the Natural Resources Defense Council — which is an international advocacy group concerned with global climate change. The Senator has apparently joined the Climate Change Deniers Flat Earth Marching and Sloganeering Society: “In a recent tele-townhall meeting Dean Heller railed against the pesky EPA as only a climate change denier could. The Tea Party budget Mr. Heller brags about takes retributive aim at the EPA for impeding the goals of commerce. What else matters?“ [NVSpectator]
We may assume that “impeding the goals of commerce” can be translated to any regulation that in any conceivable way, shape, or form, restrains the ability of large multi-national oil corporations to maximize their profits — and the consequences be damned. Senator Heller likes big things, such as Big Oil and Big Banks.
However, there is a bit more to this saga. Forty-four Republican Senators have vowed to filibuster the confirmation of Mr. Bryson unless the President submits Free Trade Agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea for Senate ratification. [NatJournal] The Administration would like to have the Congress reauthorize the Trade Adjustment Assistance program which concerns mitigating problems for incumbent workers, while the Republicans contend that FTAs such as NAFTA etc. should remain in their current formulations. [TP]
Meanwhile, Senator Heller is again singing from the Republican Daily Song Sheet which this week includes “Nominee Bryson Is A Radical Environmentalist.” [Slate] This posture is ever so much more comfortable than having to explain why an ex-executive of Boeing, Disney, and Edison International is “unacceptable” because the GOP clearly doesn’t want to discuss the subject of displaced workers under current FTA provisions.
And, speaking of Boeing — the questioning during Mr. Bryson’s hearing could be a bit touchy when Senator Lindsay Graham’s (R-SC) hobby horse rides on stage. Senator Graham is carrying water for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and her attempt to get the National Labor Relations Board to rule in favor of Boeing in the corporation’s dispute with its South Carolina employees. [Nation]
We’re now treated to the spectacle of Nevada’s newest Senator enthusiastically singing along with the latest GOP talking point, promoting the interests of Big Oil, and conveniently adding his opposition to John Bryson’s confirmation because at least 44 Republican Senators want to use Bryson as a political hostage to get FTAs signed with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. This isn’t a pretty picture.