Liberal warrior

By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  April 10, 2013

And the senator, himself, acknowledges that his push for major climate change legislation is going nowhere for now. He calls his public pronouncements on the issue an attempt to keep up morale on the left and "bring the day, earlier, when things change — and suddenly what was impossible is now possible."


END GAME

Whitehouse's partisan broadsides, then, which can seem so loud and immediate — so of the moment — are really a long-term play, a slog. Heroic in the eyes of his liberal supporters, perhaps, but of indeterminate value.

And if the Republicans do eventually come around, says analyst Jennifer Duffy of the Washington-based Cook Political Report, Whitehouse will face a crucial question: having staked out such strong positions on these core issues, is he willing to compromise?

There is reason to believe he is. Rhode Island's junior senator, for all his party-line advocacy, has found opportunities to work with Republicans on a few issues: cybersecurity, for instance, and a push to protect the oceans.

And when I asked him if he'd be willing to compromise on what may be the most important issue on his plate — climate change — he said "yes." But you've got to have your sticking points, he added.

Carbon pollution has a real price, he said, and we've got to require payment. We've got to impose a carbon tax. That's non-negotiable.

It's hard to see the GOP accepting that as a starting point any time soon.

David Scharfenberg can be reached atdscharfenberg@phx.com. Follow him on Twitter @d_scharfenberg.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
  Topics: News Features , Washington, Sheldon Whitehouse, GOP,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIBERAL WARRIOR  |  April 10, 2013
    When it comes to his signature issues — climate change, campaign finance reform, tax fairness — Whitehouse makes little secret of his approach: marshal the facts, hammer the Republicans, and embarrass them into action.
  •   AT BROWN, A WIN FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVISTS  |  April 11, 2013
    A key Brown University oversight committee has voted to recommend the school divest from coal, delivering a significant victory to student climate change activists.
  •   HACKING POLITICS: A GUIDE  |  April 03, 2013
    Last year, the Internet briefly upended everything we know about American politics.
  •   BREAK ON THROUGH  |  March 28, 2013
    When I spoke with Treasurer Gina Raimondo this week, I opened with the obligatory question about whether she'll run for governor. "I'm seriously considering it," she said. "But I think as you know — we've talked about it before — I have little kids: a six-year-old, an eight-year-old. I'm a mother. It's a big deal."
  •   THE LIBERAL CASE FOR GUNS  |  March 27, 2013
    The school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut spurred hope not just for sensible gun regulation, but for a more nuanced discussion of America's gun culture. Neither wish has been realized.

 See all articles by: DAVID SCHARFENBERG