Reacting to news the Obama administration wants to postpone a vote on "Cap and Trade" in favor of immigration reform, Times columnist Tom Friedman despaired on Sunday's Face the Nation: "This is a disaster...This is a travesty. Basically, we were about to send the first bi-partisan legislation for radical move toward more green energy, more green jobs and putting a price on carbon..."
Now, he fretted, "in Beijing, they're high-fiving each other. 'Oh, yeah, baby, this means the Americans are going to be paralyzed on green tech, okay, for another couple of years.' China is already leading the world now in wind production, China's already leading world in solar production."
Friedman has previously showered praise on Communist China on Sunday talk shows and in his columns for the ability of the "one-party autocracy" to get major projects done.
While he chastised Democrats and Obama for putting the "raw politics" of trying to save Harry Reid ahead of the energy bill, he saved his real disgust for how only one Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, was willing to help promote "green energy," charging: "Shame on the Republican Party. There's one Republican for advancing green energy in this country? One Republican Senator dare step out?"
In his Sunday column, Friedman urged a new direction for the Tea Party movement, a "Green Tea Party" which would declare "the most effective way to advance America's national security and economic vitality would be to impose a $10 'Patriot Fee' on every barrel of imported oil."
From the Sunday, April 25 Face the Nation on CBS:
BOB SCHIEFFER: Tom Friedman, I want to ask you about this business now that the administration has decided to postpone bringing up the climate change bill. I know you write a lot about that. What do you make of what's going on here?
TOM FRIEDMAN: This is a disaster, Bob. This is a travesty. Basically, we were about to send the first bipartisan legislation for radical move toward more green energy, more green jobs and putting a price on carbon. It was all set up for Monday. We had Lindsey Graham, Kerry, Lieberman. Industry was coming down.
The administration for its political reasons decided it wants to elevate immigration. Lindsey Graham is completely isolated on the Republican side. I think he freaked out a little bit here at the end. And the result is, Bob, right now in Beijing, they're high- fiving each other. "Oh, yeah, baby, this means the Americans are going to be paralyzed on green tech, okay, for another couple of years." China is already leading the world now in wind production, China's already leading world in solar production. Where an industry goes, okay, research goes. You don't even need an immigration bill, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: Well, help me here. You say the administration for its political purposes. What political purposes?
FRIEDMAN: Well, I think they're worried that Harry Reid is going to lose in Nevada where you have a big Hispanic vote. Hispanics are very concerned about an immigration bill that will bring some legality to illegal immigrants here. Barbara Boxer is vulnerable in California. The President has done and talked a lot on green energy, but I think there are a lot of people in the White House who prefer to talk about that, keep us distracted, shiny object over here. But basically they're interested in the raw politics of this. The raw politics isn't unimportant-
SCHIEFFER: Larry Summers says they can do both.
FRIEDMAN: You can do both? Well, first of all, good luck. Immigration is probably the most hotly divided issue in the Senate and we already had the House pass an energy bill. It was waiting in the Senate. We have an energy Senate bill. There is no immigration bill anywhere. This is about politics. On both sides, okay? Lindsey Graham, shame on the Republican Party. There's one Republican for advancing green energy in this country? One Republican Senator dare step out? So he's completely isolated and the Democrats are worried about Harry Reid. Have a nice day.
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter.