Monday, September 21, 2009

Sen. Lieberman Wants More Nuclear

lieberman Sen. Joe Lieberman [I-Conn.] wants you to know:

“I don’t think we’re going to [pass a bill] without bipartisan support,” Lieberman told POLITICO last week. “And without a nuclear title that’s stronger than in the House climate change legislation, we’re not going to be able to get enough votes to pass climate change.”

This being Washington, putting in such a title may sway some while putting off others and itself may not “be able to get enough votes.”

In an effort to resuscitate some version of the House climate change bill in the Senate, the Connecticut independent is trying to get Republicans and moderate Democrats on board by adding money for coal power and nuclear plants — changes that would infuriate many of the bill’s liberal supporters.

Lieberman calls his effort bi-partisan – Lieberman caucuses with the Democrats – but all the other Senators named as supporters in the article are Republicans. In any event, neither the story nor Lieberman’s Web site say exactly what the Senator has in mind for nuclear and coal – more of it certainly, but through loan guarantees, direct subsidies, mandates, what? We don’t know yet. Nuclear has done pretty well so far, so it’d be interesting to see where Lieberman wants to take it.

The only responses we’ve seen so far is a fairly blistering rebuke from Wonkette and a dismissive one from Think Progress – you can find those yourselves, but neither provides detail, just a blanket disapproval of anything Lieberman might do.

Without knowing details, we agree with Lieberman that a coalition of Republicans and Center/Right Democrats can get a bill together and passed (through Conference Committee and the White House are different matters), but bipartisanship has not been the order of the day so far. If he can swing it, that would be something, but let’s see what he really has in mind. File this under developing.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, pointing. We’re getting quite a collection of pointing politicians on this site.


Marcel F. Williams said...

There's no logical reason to burn more coal on this world but every logical reason to start building more and more nuclear reactors to start to undue the damage that coal has done to this planet!

gunter said...

What's logic got to do with Senator Lieberman looking to garner more nuclear PAC money?

The contingency of his support is based on a cash payoff.

DocForesight said...

@gunter - Why do you automatically assert nefarious motives and being a shill for "X" industry? Is it perhaps because you have no other intelligent substantive facts to debate so you fire your lone bullet - the ad hominem attack?

You are an example of why fewer and fewer Americans are taking your position seriously.

Brian Mays said...

Too funny, Gunter. Ever consider doing stand-up?

There are a lot easier ways to earn PAC money, you know. If grabbing special-interest money is your game, then nuclear companies should be way down on your prioritized list of groups to favor.

Looking at the list of top contributors in the past decade, which was compiled by, I notice that, by and large, the nuclear companies are absent. Sure, there's General Electric (a part-time nuclear vendor) at number 35, but judging from GE's most recent advertising campaigns, I'm willing to bet that this PAC money has been spent promoting publicly funded wind turbines and smart grids and other nonsense that makes NIRS go weak in the knees, rather than new nuclear plants.

If Liberman wants PAC money, he'd be much better off kissing up to teachers and teamsters and auto workers, not the nuclear industry.

David Walters said...

Brian is spot on with this comment. The "nuclear lobby" is so weak and divided it's hardly effective considering the many countervailing positions on energy. "Big Nuclear" often turns out to be "Big Solar" and "Big Wind". It's rediculous.

For those you who want some real anti-nuclear fun, check out Harvey Wasserman's latest bomb. Truly his funniest (hint: he charges French nuclear is "unpopular").

Ah! Hey, GOT to read this. It's so much fun. It's a Wasserman special delight. Really, you'll love it. You'll thank me:

gunter said...

Lieberman is the epitome of hypocrisy.

It is no surprise that his
effort to also insert big coal back into the climate bill is motivated by greed.

Like his cheerleading for new nukes, this effort has absolutely nothing to do with addressing climate change and everything about stuffing his coffers with PAC money for his political ambitions.

Mark Flanagan said...

Gunter -

This confuses people more than you think. After all, it behooves an industry - and advocates, too - to support candidates that back their positions. Lieberman's interest in nuclear (and coal) isn't new, so any support from Big Nuclear or King Coal roots from that.

You're on firmer ground when there appears to be a quid pro quo involved. That's where it starts getting nefarious - and a fair few Congress people end up in the clink for that. That's corruption under the current system.

But if you think the whole system of financing elections is a sewer of special interests - and many do - then virtually every politician is in someone's pocket and it's all equally hateful. Work to clean up the sewer, but don't then pick which pipes are bad - coal, nuclear - and which are good - wind, hydro - based on an arbitrary selection. That leads to hypocrisy.