There's political reality, and then there's reality reality.
Both are impossible to ignore, it can be argued. A lesson in the differences were on display during negotiations over the nation's energy policy, which Democrats, newly in control of Congress, had touted as an antidote to global warming, foreign oil dependence and windfall oil company profits.
First, let's consider reality reality, in three bite-sized portions:
The average land temperature this year is likely to set a new record.
Oil companies have been raking in record profits for years now.
And now, political reality, in three hard-to-digest nuggets:
At the behest of Republicans, Senate Democrats already jettisoned a renewable energy portfolio that would have required utilities to generate a modest 15% of electricity from renewable sources like the wind and sun.
Today, Democrats also agreed to keep intact $13 billion in oil and gas subsidies, instead of applying that money toward renewable energy research and development.
So who controls Congress?
Here's how Friends of Earth Action President Brent Blackwelder put it:
Its clear that Democratic capitulation isnt limited to Iraq. When the Republican leadership and the polluter lobby have blocked important legislation, Senate Democrats have been all too willing to move in their direction. The result is that the two most positive provisions of the energy bill a clean energy mandate and a tax package reining in handouts for fossil fuels and promoting clean energy are being removed, while detrimental provisions, such as a radical five-fold increase in unsustainable biofuel use, remain. ...
This is the wrong approach. Instead of capitulating, the Senate Democrats should show some backbone. If Republicans want to block progress on clean energy and global warming, they should be forced to mount a real filibusterfor weeks if necessary. If President Bush and Republican senators persist in their obstruction, Democrats should pull the energy bill from the floor and make it an issue at the ballot box instead. Lets be clear. What the Republicans are doing here is morally repugnant. They are jeopardizing our childrens future in order to help corporate polluters make more money. The American people have signaled that they want a different direction, and Democrats should not yield to this obstruction."
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