Markey’s odd politics of apparent conviction

Colorado’s surprise Democratic Representative for the conservative 4th Congressional District, Betsy Markey, is no party-line voter and she won’t be swayed, it seems, by obvious political strategy considerations. Her vote for the Clean Energy Act Friday was more evidence that she is being lead by her own lights. Her swing-vote position with the majority makes her a disproportionately powerful first-term member of Congress — and therefore maybe the best possible choice in 2010 for clear-headed 4th District Republicans.

Markey’s seat has been targeted by official and unofficial Republican candidates since she won election in November. But she’s no easily tarred tax-and-spend liberal, so far.

She defied Democrats by voting against Obama’s 2010 budget, citing the need for greater fiscal responsibility, and by joining with Republicans to ask Obama not to reauthorize the 2004 federal ban on assault weapons. In voting for the Clean Energy Act, she drew criticism immediately from state GOP leader Dick Wadhams.

In response to the attack, she said she voted for the bill “proudly,” making no bones about and backtracking not in the least from her vote.

In embracing green policy, she makes her case on economic and national security grounds — a hard case to argue intelligently against. Colorado is a leader in the new-energy economy, and Markey says she wants to capitalize on that position and bring more wind and solar and ethanol jobs to a district already fairly rich in those sources of power. In other words, the economic potential is wide open whereas the battle the fossil fuel industries will be fighting with regulators will only end with the era of fossil fuel.

If you’re a hawk on national security and an America First-er, how do you argue for continued dependence on and entanglement with the Middle East and for extending the greatest transfer of wealth, from the U.S. to the Arab states, in the history of the world!

Finally, how do you argue for replacing Markey with a hard-edged freshman Republican that no one in D.C. will listen to and then watch your district fall off the congressional map?

Square State posted the proudly green email Markey sent out after voting for the Clean Energy Act.