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I'm with stupid...

I'm not sure an appearance by Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe was really needed to ensure that the U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen ends in failure. The delegates seem to be perfectly capable of taking care of that inevitability on their own.

Inhofe is an idiot and his consistent misrepesentation of climate science is disreputable, but I have to say that he made some good points here in his Copenhagen press conference:

In the U.S. Senate, a senator or group of senators can block legislation through what's called a filibuster...Breaking a filibuster requires 60 votes. As is obvious, McCain-Lieberman supporters, even with a bill full of holes and exemptions-in other words, a pale shadow of its former self-didn't even come close to crossing that threshold." They needed 60, they got only 44.

Here we are six years later, and nothing has changed: cap-and-trade failed in 2003, it failed in 2005, and it failed in 2008. As we look ahead, an economy-wide cap-and-trade bill stands no chance of passing. I want to be sure the 191 countries understand this: again, an economy-wide cap-and-trade bill stands no chance of passing.

Mind you, Inhofe is crowing about this situation, not bemoaning it. And then he follows with a bunch of misleading claims about "ClimateGate," almost of all of which were demolished by this "exhaustive" AP investigation.

I think he's also wrong in claiming that there is "no chance" the Senate will pass some sort of cap-and-trade bill. I think there will be a bill at some point next year.

That said, it just might get so watered down in the process of getting to 60 votes that it becomes a meaningless exercise. A lot of folks who follow the climate-change issue closely say: that's fine, let's just get SOMETHING passed and we can always ratchet the caps down later. But if the narrative becomes that the last bill didn't "work," so why bother passing legislation that might hurt the U.S. economy without saving the planet, then that strategy will backfire.

AXEL SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

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