Lindsey Graham: “It’s not a global warming bill to me.”

Today’s Greenwire (subscription required) includes an edited transcript of an interview with Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that recalls Bill Clinton’s famous line, “It all depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

Graham was at pains to explain his position on the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill. On the one hand, he asserted that, “I’m in this to win.” On the other hand, he pulled the rug out from under Kerry and Lieberman two weeks ago when he backed out at the last minute from a press conference at which the bill was to be unveiled, and he is not expected to join them when they introduce the bill next week. Sen. John Cronyn (R-TX) aptly described Graham as the hokey pokey man: “You put your right foot in. You take your right foot out. I’m not sure where he [Graham] is right now.”

Although the bill includes a cap-and-trade program for the electric power sector, which is to be extended over time to other sectors of the economy, Graham is still asserting that it’s neither a cap-and-trade bill nor a global warming bill. He stated: “It’s not a global warming bill to me. Because global warming as a reason to pass legislation doesn’t exist anymore.” He also explained: “There is no bipartisan support for a cap-and-trade bill based on global warming.”

Permit me to translate Graham’s Clintonese: “We want capntrade even if the original and central rationale is no longer credible, and oh, by the way, we’re not calling it capntrade anymore. I’m in this to win but I’ll be a no-show when Kerry and Lieberman introduce the non-global warming, non-capntrade, global warming-capntrade bill.”