One would never know George Bush’s poll numbers were in record lows. Usually such unimpeded legislative victories are reserved for popular presidents.

But today, the president won a historic victory for Mr Cheney’s long sought energy bill. A bill that will do more to change the US economic landscape than any in  generations. The relatively mild deregulations that brought Enron to Califormia in the 1990s pale in comparison. This bill is set to take Enronization nation wide.
A Requiem For An Era

What FDR’s New Deal, Public Utility Holding Company Act did seventy years ago was prevent large corporations from gaming our national energy supply. As a natural monopoly with a “captive” consumer base, it was recognized that the energy market was prime for exploitation. That our very survival, economically and physically, required reliable, stable, and affordable energy. And that allowing energy to be traded as just another commodity was a severe threat to our very way of life.

This was not just because of the captive monopoly factor, but because energy is not just another commodity. It is the singular driver of the production of all other commodities. Without energy, we produce nothing.

So today marks the passing of an era. We now go from almost a century of stable energy prices based on a healthy blend of market forces and strong consumer protections, localized and accountable oversight of utility companies, and a general, personal and economic security in always knowing where your next kilowatt is coming from, to a veritable free market wild west. The Thatcherization that has destroyed so many economies in the Third World has now begun full scale here.

Today also marks the moment in history when it may be said that the decrepit, corporate decay that has plagued the Democratic party for the last two decades became terminal. And as a lifelong, multi-generational Democrat, I don’t say that lightly.

Of course, hardly anyone will know it. As with the last time I wrote on this subject, I Google News-ed the Public Utility Holding Company Act or PUHCA and only a handful of newspapers in the world have mentioned it in the last day. And then, with most, only in passing.

This despite the fact that the repeal of PUHCA is by far the most critical piece of this most corrupt and cynical legislation. As Kelpie Wilson points out, a “trillion dollars worth of utility assets are about to be deregulated and no one knows about it.”

No one knows about it? Pretty much. Aside from the veritable press blackout on the issue, there have been few mentions in the blogosphere either. Other than Meteor Blades’ post which was frontpaged by Armando (thanks Armando) the energy bill has almost been ignored. Or perhaps drowned out by the almost Michael Jackson-esque obsession with Rove-gate.

Over Our Heads?

Perhaps there is just a barrier as to how far the blogosphere is willing to go on specific policy issues. Russ Feingold’s post today suggest that he seems to think so. I surely cannot be sure, but he told a friend of mine that PUHCA repeal was one of the main reasons he opposed the bill. Yet he doesn’t mention it here. I wonder why.

Or perhaps it’s that, in spite of our loathing of it, we still take our cues from the main stream press. I’ve often mused at the irony that while we relentlessly bash them for their bias and incompetence, possibly 95% of what we blog comes from corporate owned news outlets.

But if nothing else good comes out of this energy give away, we should use it to take a long hard look at the way we interact with and keep watch of the Congress. That a piece of legislation (PUHCA repeal) of such historic magnitude can fly through without hardly any notice from the press or the blogs should be a blatant reminder of how far we have to go in using this new technology of political communication and organization.

While we were almost obsessively focusing on every drip of news from the vastly interesting and important Plame affair, the powerful energy lobby were drinking umbrella drinks on the beach.

No Excuse

But while we took our eye off the ball, there was one powerful group that knew exactly what was going on: the Senate Democrats. Even if some could claim that their first vote, in June, was out of ignorance, their vote today certainly was not. This is because we emailed and wrote letters to every one begging them to vote nay.

I personally emailed every Democrat senator at least once. Fellow Kossak, Doolittle, even created a petition. There is no excuse.

As Meteor Blades pointed out in the only post to make it on the front page here (thanks to Armando), the Public Utility Holding Company Act took control of our national energy sector out of the hands of the Robber Barons like Sam Insull and J.P. Morgan and gave it to the American people.

Today, they gave it back.

Here are the Senate Democrats who voted for Big Money, Big Energy and against you.

Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dayton (D-MN)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Nelson (D-NE)
Obama (D-IL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Stabenow (D-MI)

Here are the Senate Democrats who first voted for the Energy Act last month and then voted against it when it was sure to pass anyway. Nice try.

Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Boxer (D-CA)
Carper (D-DE)
Clinton (D-NY)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Leahy (D-VT)
Murray (D-WA)
Reid (D-NV)
Sarbanes (D-MD)

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