Back in mid-April, I wrote this piece for the Weekly Standard on that very topic. The following bears repeating now:
[The process of passing HCR] revealed a president and a congressional leadership that in concert have shown more callous contempt than any in history for the will of the American people, the safeguards against the tyranny of the majority built into the Constitution, and the parliamentary rules by which Congress operates. And there’s every indication that, if need be, the same will be true of cap and trade, immigration reform, or whatever else Obama, Pelosi, and Reid may deem the next morsel they plan to cram down the recalcitrant throat of the American public.
It is this stench of tyranny on the part of Congress that is very new and very noticeable, even to ordinary Americans who usually don’t pay a particle of attention to the arcane rules of the House and Senate
Obama may try to freshen it up and disguise the smell with an overlay of perfumed talk. But, like those little pine tree air fresheners that hang in cars, or the sprays people spritz into a stinky room, it fools no one. It only serves to add an additional nasty odor on top of the first, so that we now have two smells instead of one.
But the Democrats do not appear to be so concerned with fooling people any more. They are concerned with enacting their own agenda, and if the people don’t like it, let them just try and stop them. Madison described the process rather more elegantly:
Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.
Whether this effort will ultimately be successful depends on how many members of Congress are willing to demonstrate some sort of integrity come that fateful lame duck period of November through January (this entire scenario assumes, of course, that Republicans are granted control as a result of the November elections; otherwise, the present Congress will not be a lame duck, and such haste will not be required). And, since a version of the cap and trade bill was already passed by the House almost exactly a year ago, all that needs to happen is for the Senate to pass the same bill, or some version that can be reconciled by whatever hook or crook the leadership deems possible and necessary.
Not only is the bill unsupported by the majority of the American public, but the conclusions of researchers that provide its main empirical rationale have become more dubious since the House voted for cap and trade back in June of 2009. In the interim, Climategate has reared its ugly head. But scientists such as MIT’s Richard S. Lindzen have also increasingly made a separate case that the science behind predictions of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is hardly the settled and self-evident truth that politically driven proponents would have us believe.
If the unpopular cap and trade bill is passed by the Senate and ultimately manages to become law, and with Obama continuing as president until at least 2012, he can veto any repeal that a Republican-controlled Congress might attempt, assuming (as is likely) that Republicans will lack enough votes for an override. If all of this pans out in such a manner, it will be very interesting to see whether any Democrats in the Senate who are up for re-election in 2012 will activate their own remaining instincts for self-preservation and vote with Republicans to override the president’s veto.