As the Democratic Party is licking its wounds from last week’s election day massacre, you’d think they’d have learned one simple lesson: Stop betraying the principles upon which your party is based.

Sadly, the circular firing squad is loading up to shoot itself yet again, and this time it might put the final nail in its coffin.

Joan Walsh explains the problem at Salon in a piece titled “Mary Landrieu’s sad final act: Why her Keystone gambit should fail.

Only Democrats do this. Only Democrats chase voters they will never win with actual, serious policy concessions, not merely cultural gestures – take Sen. Rand Paul praising the “romance” of Latin culture while opposing immigration reform. Or empty promises – like eight years of George W. Bush promising federal action to overturn Roe v. Wade and outlaw abortion, but doing next to nothing in the eyes of angry anti-abortion groups.

Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is trying to get her party to force President Obama to OK the Keystone XL pipeline this week. And while the DSCC pulled the plug on her race financially – ads by challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy outnumber Landrieu ads 24-1 — some Democrats are joining Landrieu to demand Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid give Landrieu’s proposal a vote in the Senate. “The Senate has reached an agreement to debate and vote on Senator Landrieu’s Keystone bill,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson told the National Journal on Wednesday.

But this gambit is unlikely to help Landrieu. The pipeline doesn’t even come through Louisiana – it stops at Texas. The jobs it creates are mostly temporary; an otherwise favorable State Department report found the pipeline would ultimately create 35 permanent fulltime jobs. Even worse politically, the House legislation is sponsored by her opponent, Bill Cassidy, which should offset any potential political bump for Landrieu there. Her tiny chance of winning the runoff relies on motivating and turning out Democrats, and there’s no evidence pushing a Keystone vote will do that.

What Keystone does is let Landrieu poke a sharp stick in the eye of Obama, much hated by her white constituents. Any points Landrieu got for politely pointing to the role of race in Obama-hate are swept away by this craven move.

And the final note she sounds

It won’t get her re-elected. But it’ll help get her a job as a Big Oil lobbyist. It’s a sad footnote to her career.

So why would the Democrats go along with this lame, political Quixotic quest on her part? Your guess is as good as mine.

I can’t imagine the newest member of the Democrat’s Senate Leadership team, Elizabeth Warren, would go along with it… Hopefully we’ll hear from her on this hair-brained idea before Harry Reid sacrifices the future of the party for someone who’s not worth the risk.

I spoke with the Green News Report‘s Desi Doyen about the latest scrambling over KXL, the ramifications of the 2014 elections on efforts to ameliorate the damage from climate change, and the new deal struck by President Obama with Chinese Premier Xi on the show this morning.

Bill McKibben of 350.0rg weighed in on the deal with this open letter that’s worth reading:


Last night, just weeks after the largest climate mobilization ever, the world’s two biggest polluters — the United States and China — announced their most ambitious climate action yet. That is not a coincidence: it’s a sign that our pressure is working, and that we need to apply much more.

Here’s my take on what the just-announced plan from President Obama and Premier Xi is, and isn’t:

1) It is historic. John Kerry was right to use the phrase in his New York Times oped announcing the deal: for the first time a developing nation has agreed to eventually limit its emissions. This is a necessity for advancing international climate negotiations.

2) It isn’t binding in any way. In effect President Obama is writing an IOU to be cashed by future presidents and Congresses (and Xi is doing the same for future Politburos). If they take the actions to meet the targets, then it’s meaningful, but for now it’s a paper promise. And since physics is uninterested in spin, all the hard work lies ahead.

3) It is proof — if any more was needed — that renewable energy is ready to go. The Chinese say they’ll be using clean sources to get 20% of their energy by 2030 — which is not just possible, it should be easy. Which they know because they’ve revolutionized the production of solar energy, driving down the cost of panels by 90% or more in the last decade.

4) It is not remotely enough to keep us out of climate trouble. We’ve increased the temperature less than a degree and that’s been enough to melt enormous quantities of ice, not to mention set the weather on berserk. So this plan to let the increase more than double is folly — though it is good to see that the two sides have at least agreed not to undermine the 2 degrees Celsius warming target, the one tiny achievement of the 2009 Copenhagen conference fiasco.

5) It is a good way to put pressure on other nations. I’ve just come back from India, which has worked hard to avoid any targets of any sort. But the lesson from this pact is, actual world leaders at least need to demonstrate they’re talking about climate; it makes the lead-up to the global negotiations in Paris next year more interesting.

6) It is a reason projects like Keystone XL and fracking make even less sense than ever. If President Obama is serious about meeting these kinds of targets, then we need serious steps; the surest way to undermine this commitment would be to approve new pipelines or authorize other new fossil fuel developments like fracking. If you pledge sobriety and then buy a keg of beer, people are going to wonder.

7) It is another reminder that it is past time to divest from fossil fuels. The burgeoning divestment movement has been arguing not just on moral grounds, but also making the point that the future will inevitably lead to a downsloping curve for the old energies. This is another warning — for anyone who looks more than a few quarters out, the writing is on the wall that the fossil fuel era is on its way out.

8) It’s not, in any way, a stretch goal. These numbers are easy — if you were really being cynical, you could say they’re trying to carefully manage a slow retreat from fossil fuels instead of really putting carbon on the run. The Germans, for instance, will be moving in on 60% of their energy from clean sources by the mid-2020s, when we’ll still be cutting carbon emissions by small increments.

9) It is — and this is the real key — a reminder that movements work. President Obama first endorsed the 80 percent by 2050 goal he enshrined in this pact when he was running for president in 2007, a week after 1,400 demonstrations around the nation demanded that goal. This comes seven weeks after by far the largest global climate demonstrations in history, and amidst ongoing unrest in China about the filthy air in its cities.

10) It isn’t, in other words, a reason to slack off one bit in the ongoing fight for a livable climate, a fight we must continue at all cost. If we want this to be a start, and not a finish, we’ve got to build even bigger and more powerful movements that push the successors of these gentlemen to meet what science demands.

Today is an achievement for everyone who’s held a banner, signed a petition, and gone to jail — and a call for many more to join us going forward!

Thank you so much for everything you’ve done, and for everything you will do next.


Also weighing in on the Democrats’ disastrous plan to hold a vote on the KXL pipeline in the senate was our friend @Rousseau_ist from Twitter, who’s working with others to stop it. He suggests following the hastag #DemClimateBetrayal for more info.

And finally, we began the show today with Brad Friedman of BradBlog for one final post-mortem on the 2014 midterm elections (we think), this time exploring how the right’s voter suppression tactics (including the polling place photo ID restrictions), and the unverifiable electronic voting machines effected the outcome.

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up the week as we do each Friday, with the latest news and info of the day, and segueing into the weekend with musical Flashback Friday segment, radio or not!