The Senate remained in session through Monday night and into this morning. The yield of this all-nighter was … nothing. Which was predictable. There never was any legislative point to the exercise. It was for show. The kindest possible description would be that the senators wanted to raise awareness of global warming/climate change which, of course, has hardly been mentioned at all in the great ongoing public conversation. The least kind description would be that the purpose of the all-nighter was to raise cash.
As Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post reports, Majority Leader Harry Reid said, in his remarks:
“We have the capability and the responsibility to act. But we must do so before it is too late," adding that the issue is "a question of our own survival.”
Curious, then, that Reid hasn’t introduced any climate-related legislation since he and the Democrats took over the Senate. Maybe he just isn’t that in to surviving.
Of course, it is easier being a Democrat speaking out about climate change when you aren’t running for reelection. Which would explain the absence, during the all-nighter, of such conspicuous Senate Democrats as:
Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.),
Still, those who did make it through the night hope their stamina will be rewarded and:
… believe that focusing on the issue will help them. They cite national polling that shows Americans are increasingly concerned with the issue and generally believe that changes in the globe's temperatures and weather patterns are man-made. The party is also receiving an injection of cash being spent by outside groups backed by wealthy environmental activists.
One of those activists, billionaire businessman Thomas Steyer, thanked Democratic senators for hosting "a real conversation on this critical issue."
"The dangers of climate change are real, and our country can no longer afford to be held hostage by politicians who deny basic science."
Steyer has committed $50 million of his own fortune and plans to raise another $50 million to help Democratic candidates in this year's congressional elections -- support that Democrats are eager to have as conservative political groups are already spending millions of dollars attacking them on television in battleground states.
Such, these days, are the ways of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.