"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will bring a sweeping energy and climate bill to the floor as early as the week of July 26, including a controversial cap on emissions from power plants," environmental reporter Darren Samuelsohn writes today in Politico.
Except that Reid -- like Sens. John Kerry (D.-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) -- won't call a spade a spade.
"I don't use that," Reid said, referring to the term cap-and-trade. "Those words are not in my vocabulary. We're going to work on pollution."
For years, so-called progressive politicians clamored for cap-and-trade -- the Kyoto Protocol, the McCain-Lieberman bill, the Lieberman-Warner bill, the Waxman-Markey bill, etc.
No longer. Thanks to the educational efforts of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, National Taxpayers Union, American Conservative Union, FreedomWorks, the Heritage Foundation, National Center for Public Policy Research, and other free-market/limited government organizations, the public came to understand that cap-and-trade is a hidden tax on energy. By the end of 2009, cap-and-"tax" had become a political liability, and this year proponents fear even to speak its name -- especially as the November elections approach.
So what's a poor progressive politician to do? Why, dissemble, obfuscate, and prevaricate to fool the voter.
The problem with this strategy -- beyond the sheer dishonesty of it -- is that people aren't as dim as progressive politicians assume. Most people do not spend their time monitoring Congress, but they don't need to. Numerous watchdog groups are ready to pounce on every ploy to steal our liberty and prosperity, and in the Age of the Internet, information travels fast.
Reid and company are fooling themselves if they believe rebranding cap-and-trade as "pollution limits" will blunt public opposition to energy taxes.