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It’s understandable that congressional Democrats would go ahead with an energy bill that raises auto fuel-efficiency standards to 35 miles per gallon, after conservatives filibustered bolder renewable energy provisions.

They had worked extremely hard just to win support for that tiny baby step, and they figured: passing what you can pass is better than passing nothing.

But yesterday’s White House actions show the pitfalls of playing footsie with forces that do not negotiate in good faith to advance the public interest.

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