It would seem that if ever there was an opportune time to pass aggressive energy reform and climate change legislation--large Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate, a major drilling catastrophe--it would be sometime between now and November, and yet significant doubts remain over whether it will happen.
To try to push things over the edge, a liberal coalition is putting up $11 million for a multi-state ad campaign praising some senators and criticizing others. To put that in context, $11 million is enough to win a Senate race in some states, though not a competitive race in a big state with expensive media markets.
The pro and con ads take markedly different approaches: in offering praise, the groups link energy reform to troops coming home from Iraq; in offering criticism, they compare senators who have received oil-company donations to oil-soaked wildlife in the gulf.
The Service Employees International Union, VoteVets, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club launched the campaign this morning with an initial $2 million buy. They're praising Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill (MO) and Harry Reid (NV) and criticizing Republicans Richard Burr (NC) and Mike Johanns (NE) and Democrat Ben Nelson (NE).
See two of the ads below: