The Midmorning Refill: Wish they all could be California voters

Today’s Flickr photo

Flickr photo by 350.org.

If you read on thing today . . .

If there was a silver lining Tuesday for progressives, it might be found in the results of California’s Proposition 23 ballot measure. Texas oil refineries pushed the measure to repeal California’s aggressive curbs on greenhouse gases, saying Prop 23 would create jobs.  But as the L.A. Times’ Greenspace blog tells it, a broad grassroots coalition, backed by Hollywood heavyweights and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, helped environmentalists pull off a stunning victory.

No environmental campaign in U.S. history can boast the level of activism in California this year: Prop 23 opponents mustered 3,200 volunteers, made 2.8 million phone calls to voters, sent out 3.4 million pieces of mail, made 379,676 on-campus contacts with college students, and operated a sophisticated computerized outreach program that identified and contacted 481,000 voters, and showered voters with 900,000 get-out-the vote phone calls and text messages in the last three days.

National environmental leaders, smarting from the defeat of federal climate legislation in Congress this year, expressed awe. “It is the largest public referendum in history on climate and clean energy policy,” said Fred Krupp, president of the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund. “Almost 10 million Californians got a chance to vote and sent a clear message that they want a clean energy future. And this was in an economic downturn. There has never been anything this big. It is going to send a signal to other parts of the country and beyond.”

Overheard:

This is a story the Washington Post probably writes every two years but that doesn’t it make it any less compelling. Many of the new members of Congress ran against Washington and business-and-usual but now that they’re here, they will find it very difficult to remain true to their idealism, Marc Fisher writes in the WaPo. As an example, he cites new Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith who remarks the only thing he’s looking forward to about living in D.C. is, perhaps, going to a Redskins game. David Bass, a Republican political insider, says Griffith will have no trouble getting tickets.

“He might find himself in a couple of nice skyboxes before too long,” Bass said. “These new members who ran against Washington will play Mr. Smith for a while, but there is a structure, a way of doing things that has to be respected. New friends will be very important to them.”