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GOP Insiders Daring Dems Over Climate Change

January 27, 2013

Don't hold your breath for bipartisan consensus on climate change just yet -- at least not if National Journal's Political Insiders have something to say about it.

Asked whether it had become a winning issue for Democrats, nearly 9 out of 10 Republican Insiders said no, with a little over a third of Democratic Insiders agreeing that climate change was not among the issues on which Democrats can capitalize.

Has climate change become a winning issue for Democrats?

(101 votes)
(92 votes)
Yes 64% 12%
No 36% 88%

Many on both sides cited the continuing sluggishness of the economy trumping the climate change issue in Americans' minds.

"People want jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Um, should I say it again? Jobs," one Republican said.

"Far too many more-important issues. Republicans should be happy if Democrats go out on a limb on global warming ... and saw it off," another said. Yet another snarked: "Americans still prefer affordable energy over pie-in-the-sky, Al Gore-inspired happy talk."

At least one Democrat too cautioned his party not to get ahead of themselves: "Democrats, don't get distracted! People care about jobs and improving the economy."

Yet another GOP Insider noted that the time was not yet ripe for climate change, but that could change one day: "Not yet, but it will be in five years. The country is still hungry for jobs."

Some pointed out that the American people, even if convinced of the dangers of climate change, were not ready to adopt painful measures to address the problem.

"Even those who believe we have a climate-change problem can't abide Obama's climate-change solutions. No matter how many hurricanes, floods, or tsunamis, it will not be a winning issue," one Republican said.

"Not until we have an alternative that isn't 'cap and trade,'" a Democrat added.

Some Democrats nevertheless expressed optimism that the politics of climate change were quickly changing and would ultimately benefit the party.

"Every public poll on the issue has demonstrated the American people support action on climate change, like the EPA, and want the U.S. to take action. People are starting to believe their eyes instead of the deniers," one Democrat said.

"Acceptance that the climate has changed -- regardless of what you think has caused it -- has altered the public's attitude about what must be done. As long as Democrats continue to appeal to the sensible center, we'll win more than we lose," another added.

A third compared climate change to another rapidly-evolving issue: "Just as with gay rights, the train has left the station on the politics of climate change."

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