Theres No Better Friend Than a Despised Enemy

Who’s going to be the next to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over its opposition to climate change legislation?

Will it be Toyota?

How about McAndrews & Forbes Holdings (which, admittedly, we had never heard of but is billionaire Ron Perelman’s company)?

Maybe  members of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which includes chamber drop-out Apple and heavyweights Google and Microsoft?

It may seem like inside baseball, but it’s actually the primary driver of positive publicity for cap-and-trade legislation. The longer the dispute between the Chamber and its member companies drags out, the better the prospects of climate change legislation get.

Let us explain.

The defections began as a simple exercise in business ethics, buttressed by the dissident companies’ analysis that they would profit from a cap-and-trade bill or not see much harm.

Exelon CEO John Rowe’s announcement of his company’s departure called the group out for its “stridency” in opposing carbon reduction legislation. Other power companies and Apple followed.

Instead of taking a “we’re big-tent group, let’s discuss this” approach, Chamber head Tom Donohue has been gleefully removing the remaining tent poles.

His comments, “We don’t have regrets about our position, and we don’t intend to change it,” have painted the group into a corner, practically forcing his members to make some declaration of where they stand. The Chamber’s position, in full, is here.

How do you think Prius drivers will react to Toyota being part of an organization that opposes climate change legislation?

Progressive outlets like the National Resources Defense Council and Mother Jones are positively giddy at the prospect of a drawn out battle with the chamber. They have set to work, trying to take down the chamber.

So far, we’ve learned that the group sets policy without consulting its committees, its claim of 3 million members may be grossly inflated and a senior Chamber official has called for “a Scopes Monkey trial on the science behind global warming.”

After that trial, maybe we can finally get some answers on President Obama’s “birth certificate,” huh, guys?

All of this strident talk about global warming has brought the chamber more in line with a right-wing fringe.

This at a time when prominent Republicans, such as Lindsey Graham, are signaling their willingness to compromise on key legislation.

The more the Chamber protests, the more we learn that many of our favorite companies and major energy companies who would be most affected by climate change legislation actually support it.

You can’t pay for the kind of good publicity these defectors, and the climate change legislation they support, are getting by opposing the Chamber.