Senate Democrats Pretend to Filibuster, Hope Donors Notice

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 11 2014 9:25 AM

Senate Democrats Pretend to Filibuster, Hope Donors Notice

Last night's #Up4Climate speech-a-thon, in which Democrats used witching-hour floor time to talk about the need for action on environmental law, was a uniquely Washingtonian combo of inspiration and cynicism. Absolutely, most Senate Democrats want to pass a climate bill, and absolutely, they fumbled the chance away in 2010 when they failed to come up with a companion to the House's cap-and-trade bill that could survive a filibuster.

But the origins of last night's protest, as Ed O'Keefe reported, were at a fundraiser with Tom Steyer. The billionaire is planning to spend $100 million in 2014 to cancel out the damage of Republican-backing ads, and needs to be convinced not to spend it against vulnerable Democrats like Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.* (She appeared on a who-to-target-next quiz on Steyer's site. So far, she has not been targeted in the way Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor was over gun control.)

Advertisement

The protest also boosted Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, who was appointed to the state's open Senate seat in a bit of a surprise (Hawaii hadn't sent a white male to the Senate ... well, ever), immediately drawing a primary challenge. Schatz has created a reputation from nothing, taking point on climate and money-in-politics issues, courting progressives at events like the annual Netroots Nation conference.

So: no climate bill. But a nice shine on the reputations of some Senate Democrats.

*Correction, March 11, 2014: This post originally misstated that Tom Steyer plans to spend $100 billion in 2014 to help Democratic congressional candidates.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.