Back in late February, Tom Friedman wrote the following about our senior senator:
And for those Republicans who think this is only a loser, Senator Graham says think again: “What is our view of carbon as a party? Are we the party of carbon pollution forever in unlimited amounts? Pricing carbon is the key to energy independence, and the byproduct is that young people look at you differently.” Look at how he is received in colleges today. “Instead of being just one more short, white Republican over 50,” says Graham, “I am now semicool. There is an awareness by young people that I am doing something different.”
But today, we have the following release from some of his erstwhile young fans:
Youth Activists Demand S.C. Leadership on Energy and Climate Legislation
(Columbia, SC) – Responding to Senator Lindsey Graham’s withdrawal from federal energy legislation and the offshore oil disaster, youth activists in South Carolina have called on the Senator to renew his leadership.
“Students at Clemson were proud to stand behind our hometown Senator in pushing for federal energy and climate legislation,” says Gabriel Fair, co-president of Clemson University’s Student for Environmental Action. “Lindsey Graham’s leadership really encouraged the young people who are fighting to cut carbon pollution and create a clean energy economy in this state.”
Over the previous months, Graham has led in federal energy and climate legislation. In February editorial in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman quoted Graham saying, “I have been to enough college campuses to know if you are 30 or younger this climate issue is not a debate. It’s a value. These young people grew up with recycling and a sensitivity to the environment – and the world will be better for it.”
Senator Graham’s withdrawal from the federal energy debate has disappointed students across South Carolina. “We’d like to stand behind our Senator again and hope he comes back to the table and strengthens the bill further,” says Fair.
Students in South Carolina are looking for the jobs comprehensive energy and climate legislation would produce. According to Winthrop University student Lorena Hildebrandt, “Young people face the highest unemployment rates in this country right now. Like many of my friends, I’ll be graduating college soon and looking for a job. That’s why building a new clean energy economy is so important to young people. It’s absolutely necessary we pass comprehensive federal legislation to create a clean energy economy.”
Graham’s backing away from the process occurs at a crucial time for federal energy legislation.
In light of the unfolding oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Americans are reconsidering our country’s dependence on oil. Recent polls have indicated that the Deepwater Horizon explosion has actually bolstered support for federal climate legislation, while support for drilling is falling.
According to a poll conducted last week by Clean Energy Works, 61 percent of Americans now favor a climate bill that would cut carbon pollution. Meanwhile, CBS News reported this week that forty-one percent of Americans feel the risks of offshore drilling are too high, up from twenty-eight percent in 2008.
Students on the coast are worried about what Graham’s pulling out will mean for federal legislation on energy and climate. “We’re disappointed here on the coast that Senator Graham walked away from federal energy and climate legislation,” says Marissa Mitzner, Sustainability Coordinator at Coastal Carolina University. “Especially with the oil disaster in the Gulf unfolding and our own South Carolina coasts vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and the threat of oil drilling, we need Senator Graham’s leadership more than ever.”
Face it, senator: You’re not even “semicool” now, not with the kids.
As for what a cool guy like me thinks, well, I’d certainly appreciate a better understanding about why the Dems’ recent moves on immigration mean you can’t lead on this.
Oh, and kids — Tom Friedman didn’t write that in “and editorial.” It was a column. He doesn’t write editorial.