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Want a strong Illinois GOP? Don't wait up.
Progress Illinois headline, 7/21/09:
Think Progress headline, 7/22/09:
The least surprising part of that last bit: "Greater demand for renewable electricity will put upward pressure on the demand for biomass and provide an added source of farm income."
So you've got a moderate Republican from a moderate district in a big-ag state that also happens to be home to an exchange that stands to generate lots of money from cap-and-trade. Also, your party is totally screwed on state and national levels.
Now, per Matt Taibbi, there are reasons to be skeptical of a private carbon market, but as a purely political play this seems completely obvious. I don't think Republicans are going to win digging their heels in on climate change. I do think that a moderate Republican going around the state telling farmers and city dwellers that they stand to spend the glorious green 21st century rolling around in ethanol-soaked* piles of money could stanch the bleeding in a blue state.
One of the intelligent things that Democrats have done since the '06 midterms - and Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos deserves a ton of credit for this - is go strategically soft on ideology in places where it makes sense to, and then actually wait to win contested reach elections before trying to beat party pols into line.
Perhaps the state GOP will figure out that Kirk is probably their best candidate for anything and that at this point they really can't afford to get pissy about a stance that's really not very popular in the first place. If not, they might be casting about in the wilderness for some time to come.
*Yeah, I know. Just saying.