In congressional fights over energy, Michigan's John Dingell won some early symbolic victories on behalf of polluters. But Democrats are starting to abandon the increasingly unpopular "Dean of Congress."
Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., smiles in his office on Capitol Hill. He recently faced down his fellow House Democrats' attempt to require a boost in fuel efficiency standards. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
"Hey, sweetheart," drawled Republican Leader John Boehner to Steny Hoyer, his Democratic counterpart, as Hoyer emerged from the weekly Democratic Caucus lunch with a bigger-than-usual grin on his face.
Boehner had good reason for his sarcasm, and Hoyer had good reason for his glee: after a summer of Republican victories on issues like Iraq and trade policy, House Democrats are finally sticking it to the GOP.
Lately, I've been inundated with phone calls from venture capitalists, private equity guys, and hedge fundistas. They're coming to me because I'm their environmentalist friend and they all want to know one thing: how they can make a buck off the surge in interest in combating global warming.
In a way, that's a sign that the environmental movement has finally arrived. After decades of struggling to convince the titans of finance that protecting the planet and making money weren't mutually exclusive, the tycoons are now coming to us.
Last week, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton showed that despite efforts to build support with progressives suspicious of their close ties to corporate America, when it comes to real decisions and real votes, big business will often come first. This was reaffirmed when the two senators voted for an amendment to the energy bill offered by Montana Democrat Jon Tester that would have provided $200 million in grants and $10 billion in taxpayer loans for projects to turn regular old solid, black coal into new, shiny liquid coal to power cars and trucks.