Lindsey Graham is quite angry that the Democrats (or Harry Reid, at least) want to push immigration reform before the midterms and before climate change legislation. He's so angry, in fact, that he wants to ditch the bipartisan effort at a climate change bill that he's been working on with Sens Kerry and Lieberman. He also doesn't want to cooperate on immigration reform. While his response may be a bit childish, I can't blame him for being angry. In fact, I'm not particularly happy with this decision.
Climate change legislation has passed the House. Sens Kerry, Lieberman, and Graham have put a lot of effort into crafting a Senate Bill. This is probably the best chance there is to get a climate change bill done. The closer we get to the midterms, the less likely it is that Senators will be willing to take a tough vote on a climate change bill. After the midterms, when the Dems are virtually certain to lose a number of Senate seats, I don't really see any chance of passing a major climate change bill.
So why do the Democrats want to bump climate change? It's pretty simple, and Graham is right. The Dems think it's an issue they can cudgel the GOP with. The Dems want to rile up their Hispanic base against the GOP by forcing them to take on immigration. Conservative ideas on immigration have more to do with stopping it. Dem ideas are far more palatable to the huge Hispanic population in the country. This could particularly help Harry Reid, in heavily Hispanic Nevada. This is good politics, in other words. But in my opinion, it's bad policy. Climate change legislation is just more important, and much closer to do-or-die than immigration reform. I just hope John Kerry is right, and this effort isn't dead yet.