Tom Steyer gives $50 million and all he gets is a lousy all-nighter.
March 11, 2014 THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Democrats control the Senate with 55 seats, and on Monday night into the wee hours of Tuesday they staged a talkathon on climate change on the Senate floor. Majority Leader Harry Reid led the band of 28 or so Democrats in this grand political commitment. "We're not going to rest until there is action on the most pressing issue of our time, which is climate change," declared freshman Democrat Brian Schatz of Hawaii, in remarks typical of the long evening.
But the issue is apparently not so pressing that they could rally the rest of their Senate majority to show up. And it isn't so pressing that Mr. Reid plans to bring any legislation to the Senate floor to address this looming calamity and hold Senators accountable.
Mr. Reid won't do so because he knows he would lose in humiliating fashion. This is the same Harry Reid who in 2010 yanked a cap-and-trade bill from the Senate floor when Democrats had 59 seats and the House had already passed a similar bill. That was about the time West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin was literally putting a bullet through the "cap and trade bill" in a TV ad. Mr. Manchin wasn't there Tuesday morning, and neither were Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Kay Hagan (N.C.) or Mark Begich (Alaska). The latter four are running for re-election this year and they know that a vote on cap and trade, or a carbon tax, or any other measure to raise energy prices would be a career killer.
The all-nighter is best understood as a donor maintenance exercise. Hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer has pledged to raise and spend $100 million, including $50 million of his own money, to elect Democrats this year and he cares deeply about climate change. But who knew he was such a cheap date?