Democratic Senate Majority Leader Reid’s Phantom Bill Came Out of Left Field

The New Yorker, October 11, 2010: THE POLITICAL SCENE:  AS THE WORLD BURNS

“How the Senate and the White House missed their best chance to deal with climate change”, by Ryan Lizza

In late April, 2010, US Senators Lindsey Graham (Republican), John Kerry, (Democrat), and Joseph Liebowitz, (Independent) had “spent seven months writing a comprehensive bill that promised to transform the nation’s approach to energy and climate change…

The senators had cobbled together an unusual coalition of environmentalists and industries to support a bill that would shift the economy away from carbon consumption and toward environmentally sound sources of energy.  They had the support both of the major green groups and of the biggest polluters.”

They were  about to introduce the bill after negotiating for months, and a series of events, one could even say a tsunami, scuttled it:  White House leaks to Fox News about “permits” was changed by Fox News to the unpopular “gas taxes”; White House initiatives undercut negotiations; and in a speech Majority Leader Reid said  “it was immigration first.”  Senator Graham was put in a terrible position and  withdrew from the group:  “he felt betrayed.”  This comes out of left field, he told reporters.”

The Senate debate expired this summer.

Out of left field is an idiom derived from the game of  baseball:  “It does not have a negative connotation in the literal sense.  Some of the best U.S. ball players have been left-fielders. However, the derivative form, especially the phrase “out of left field” implies a surprise, really a negative surprise, such as, “Where did that come from?”

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