06.09.2014 0

Obama’s Enviro Radicalism Dooms Reid’s Senate Majority

By Rick Manning

Majority Leader Harry Reid lost his majority last week.  It will just take five months to make it official.

Obama’s disastrous bungling of the Bergdahl trade, piled on top of a Veteran’s Administration scandal have helped put a fork into his last remaining claims of competence and credibility.  In a predictably low turnout 2014 election, all the President can offer his allies is access to his prodigious voter turnout operation and the money he raises from his far left contributor network.

But it is the global warming regulations that the EPA announced a week ago that have flat-lined Harry Reid’s chances of being Majority Leader again in 2015.

The election map was difficult enough for the Senate Democrats with three vulnerable southern Senators to defend: Pryor (AR), Landrieu (LA) and Hagen (NC), along with almost guaranteed Republican takeovers due to retirements in West Virginia and South Dakota.  When coupled with a Democrat seat in toss-up Montana that is occupied by a recent appointee, and an Alaska seat that never should have become Democrat, Harry Reid’s hold on power in D.C. has been considered tenuous from the beginning of this Congress.

While this challenge to hold control is formidable, many Democratic Party Senate candidates are now forced to run against Obama to survive.

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky  is the only legitimate potential Democrat pick-up opportunity, and Obama’s regs have wrecked these hopes.  Reid and crew recruited the candidate they wanted -Alison Lundergan Grimes.  They have been aggressively raising money for her and the polling showed Grimes in a near dead heat as the state appears ready for change.

Yet, after Obama’s EPA announcement of a new set of regulations that will effectively end the burning of coal as an electricity generation fuel source, Grimes has been forced to spend more than $100,000 running ads declaring,

“Mr. President, Kentucky has lost one-third of our coal jobs in just the last three years… Now your EPA is targeting Kentucky coal with pie in the sky regulations that are impossible to achieve. It’s clear you have no idea how this affects Kentucky.”

Grimes’ attempt to separate herself from Obama with Kentucky voters might work against an underfunded, unprepared neophyte opponent, but McConnell is anything but that.  While she is well-liked and respected, it will be impossible for her to separate herself from Obama’s anti-coal regulatory jihad.

Obama’s environmental war on energy is likely to haunt other Democratic Senators in increasingly difficult races.  In New Hampshire, Senator Jeanne Shaheen is fighting for her political life.

This past frigid winter, the state suffered from a natural gas shortage that spiked electricity prices and threatened the ability of the poor to heat their homes.  With this fresh in voter’s minds, Obama’s regulatory destruction of coal burning facilities could not come at worse time for Shaheen, a past outspoken supporter for EPA regulations designed to shut down coal burning utilities.  As temperatures turn colder in late October, Shaheen will likely be running as hard from Obama’s radical environmental agenda as her wannabe colleague Grimes is today.

Minnesota is another state where the Obama anti-resource development regime is likely to come into play.  While people outside the state think of Minnesota as being a combination of Mall of America, farmers and cereal producers, it is iron ore mining and the miners who do the hard work which form one of the core Democrat constituencies.  The hold of the national Democratic Party on the Iron Range in the northern part of the state slipped in the Republican sweep of 2010, when long-time incumbent Rep. James Oberstar was stunned by a Republican upstart.  While order was restored in 2012, the same off-year impulses are at work in 2014 as those which brought down Oberstar, and Democrat Senator Al Franken could be the victim.

Franken’s far left national agenda give him little wiggle room in terms of disavowing Obama’s environmental agenda – an agenda that cuts to the heart of the job security of those very Iron Range workers who he depends upon for votes.

With the Sierra Club actively attacking Minnesota utility companies, Franken is caught in a political vice over energy with the likely result being a cracking of his rural, worker voting base, and the end to this liberal fundraising powerhouse’s career.

In normal political circumstances, a President would hold off on announcing politically devastating new regulations until after his allies had survived their elections, but Obama is not playing by these rules.

Instead he has chosen to force the issue in an attempt to ensure his own legacy, while almost certainly ending Harry Reid’s Senate rein as a consequence.

While November is still five pages on the calendar away, Obama’s bad first week of June, is likely to be replayed continuously for voters like a bad recurring Democrat nightmare.  The only question remaining is how many seats will it cost them in a year already set up to sweep Harry Reid from power.

Rick Manning is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government

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