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‘All of the Above’: Obama Names His Failed Presidency

By Joe Romm

"‘All of the Above’: Obama Names His Failed Presidency"

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If we’re going to take control of our energy future and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year — when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world — if we’re going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we’ve got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.  Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more.

President Obama gave a speech at the University of Miami on Thursday discussing his energy plan — assuming that one can use the word “plan” to describe a strategy devoid of any judgment. Obviously, all-of-the-above = more of everything = more fossil fuels = Hell and High Water.

The president has come a long way from his 2008 declaration that this is “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Now it’s more like “Après nous, le Déluge” (see “JPL bombshell: Polar ice sheet mass loss is speeding up, on pace for 1 foot sea level rise by 2050“).

Just a year ago, “all-of-the-above” was actually a standard Republican talking point, so much so that Democrats routinely mocked it (see Markey slams oil-above-all” approach). It is certainly true that when the president says it, he means it, whereas the Republicans merely say it and then bitterly oppose all of the clean energy programs that Democrats put on the table.  I’m not sure future generations will notice the difference.

Obama’s all-of-the-above energy speech took a none-of-the-above approach to environmental problems: It ignored them all, including the most important of them all, global warming.

Obama is currently in the midst of a failed presidency from a historical perspective because of his abandonment of the climate issue, which is the only issue future generations are going to care about if we don’t act now, as I’ve said many times.

Obama will probably get only one serious shot at redemption, the grand bargain on tax and the deficit at the end of this year (see “Bipartisan Support Grows for Carbon Price as Part of Debt Deal“).  Speeches like this provide no evidence whatsoever that Obama even understands the stakes anymore.

Here are two other places in the speech where he repeats his new slogan:

OBAMA:  But over the long term, an all-of-the-above energy strategy requires us having the right priorities.  We’ve got to have the right incentives in place.  I’ll give you an example.  Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars subsidize the oil industry every year — $4 billion.  They don’t need a subsidy.  They’re making near-record profits.  These are the same oil companies that have been making record profits off the money you spend at the pump for several years now.  How do they deserve another $4 billion from taxpayers and subsidies?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Preach it, Mr. President!  (Applause.)

OBAMA: I said this at the State of the Union — a century of subsidies to the oil companies is long enough.  (Applause.)  It’s time to end taxpayer giveaways to an industry that has never been more profitable; double down on clean energy industries that have never been more promising — that’s what we need to do.  (Applause.)  This Congress needs to renew the clean energy tax credits that will lead to more jobs and less dependence on foreign oil.

The potential of a sustained, all-of-the-above energy strategy is all around us.  Here in Miami, 2008, Miami became the first major American city to power its city hall entirely with solar and renewable energy.  Right here in Miami.  (Applause.)  The modernization of your power grid so that it wastes less energy is one of the largest projects of its kind in the country. On a typical day, the wind turbine at the Miami-Dade Museum can meet about 10 percent of the energy needs in a South Florida home, and the largest wind producer in the country is over at Juno Beach.  Right here at this university, your work is helping manufacturers save millions of dollars in energy bills by making their facilities more energy efficient.  (Applause.)

Preach it?

This is politics over principle pure and simple. Cutting a few billion dollars to the uber-profitable fossil fuel industry is a great applause line, but it’d be like making your entire anti-smoking cutting subsidies to the tobacco industry.

Let me end with Salon’s Andrew Leonard on the speech:

However, on the single most important component of any long-term energy policy strategy — a comprehensive carbon tax or cap-and-trade system that would force investment away from fossil fuel exploitation and into renewable energy — Obama’s record is abysmal. One can argue that legislation aimed at restricting greenhouse gas emissions never would have had any chance at passing Congress, but that doesn’t change the fact that Obama dedicated zero political capital to the challenge. Quite the opposite: The longer Obama has been in office, the less he has mentioned climate change. In his speech at Miami, I didn’t hear him say the words once. Imagine that: a speech on energy policy that did not touch on the most important energy issue on the planet.

Obama launched some vigorous attacks at his Republican opponents in his speech, but his own record of simultaneously touting enhanced oil production while promising to cut subsidies to oil companies, promising long-term relief on gas prices while ignoring the long-term challenge of climate change, mocking the “drill, drill, drill” “bumper sticker” of the GOP while touting a we-can-have-it-all “all-of-the-above” energy exploitation smorgasbord, exposes his own energy stance as fundamentally political. His speech was nowhere near as gratuitously hypocritical as the blatant falsehoods spewed by his opponents, but he still proved himself unwilling to grapple with the real menace: High gas prices are not the problem. Higher temperatures are.

Preach that.

‹ Legal Case Against EPA Greenhouse Endangerment Finding: ‘Man-Made Climate Change Is Not Certain’

February 28 News: What Will Partial Build of Keystone XL Mean for Energy Politics? ›

63 Responses to ‘All of the Above’: Obama Names His Failed Presidency

  1. He stole that from the “none of the above” campaign in “Brewster’s Millions”

  2. John Tucker says:

    I cannot tell you how disappointed I am.

    Obama welcomes TransCanada plan for new pipeline ( http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2012/02/27/obama_welcomes_transcanada_plan_for_new_pipeline/ )

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Obama could not even imagine a Presidential campaign, or a Senatorial campaign or that for the local dog-catcher without pledging loyalty to the USA’s real ruling class, the rich. Every tragedy, every betrayal, every reversal was writ in granite long, long ago. Obama is merely the empty vessel through which the rich control affairs. If the rich like tar sands, so does Obama. He’s playing the old ‘You’ve got nowhere else to go’ trick, and, in capitalist politics, its the one time that he’s being straight.

      • Paul Magnus says:

        The guys got a family to look after you know…

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          He’s penciled in for a nice sinecure at Goldman Sachs after office (he’ll see all his old mates from his Administration there)and, what with other ‘business opportunities’ and speaking engagements, he could end up richer than Blair or Bill Clinton.

  3. Peter Bellin says:

    I get emails from Barack Obama’s campaign, asking for donations. They recently asked why I have not contributed. I responded that I would do so once he shows leadership in addressing climate change.

    I will vote for the man, but I will not contribute to a presidential contender who does not address this issue.

    • Leif says:

      Ditto Peter. I want to see this election be a walk away but Obama has to help. I donate >5 hours a day promoting progressive causes, as I know many others do as well. For free. Yet the DCCC wants $20 out of my daily $30 income. It ain’t going to happen. It is always a treat to get asked for my opinion and be given more than a “yes-no” option.

    • Walter Borden says:

      Thats what I wrote back as well!

    • Dan Ives says:

      Peter, Walter, and Leif,
      Do you honestly think Obama cares about the $20 each of you are withholding in the age of the Super PAC? Until they allow corporations and PACs to vote, all Obama cares about is your vote. So please stop pretending you are standing up to him for his failures on climate change if you intend to vote for him in the end. A vote cast enthusiastically or a vote cast reluctantly; it makes no difference to him. If you really want to hold Obama accountable for his innumerable failures on the climate, perhaps you should consider a vote for a candidate who actually does care about the issue.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        In the UK ‘Telegraph’ they have begun arguing that corporations should have the vote (I’m sure that they won’t be happy with just one, either). They already do in that ‘rotten borough’ that is the City of London. In other parts of that delightful failed state and open museum dedicated to the West’s ‘glory days’, the Right has also begun arguing that the poor and destitute be stripped of their’s, because they don’t pay taxes. ‘No representation without taxation!’ The neo-feudal state draws ever nearer.

  4. From Peru says:

    Recommended lecture:

    Capitalism vs. the Climate
    http://www.thenation.com/article/164497/capitalism-vs-climate?page=0,5

  5. ZS says:

    Only vote for Obama if you’re in a battleground state. Otherwise, vote for someone who actually cares about the climate.

    • Walter Borden says:

      Absitively!

    • Sasparilla says:

      I’m right there. President tar sands (1st two tar sands pipelines approved in 2009) is better than the GOP candidate, but no climate change is no climate change

      Only if my state is in play by the percentages shortly before the election would I vote for him, otherwise I will vote for the Green presidential candidate for the first time in my life.

    • Dan Ives says:

      “Only vote for Obama if you’re in a battleground state. Otherwise, vote for someone who actually cares about the climate.”
      Why not save a step and just vote for someone who cares about the climate, regardless of where you live? If Obama doesn’t care about climate change, and the GOP doesn’t care about climate change, what good does it do to keep one of the two in power?

  6. Wonhyo says:

    “This is politics over principle pure and simple.”

    Exactly. You can criticize Obama all you want for lack of leadership, moral courage, etc. The one explanation that explains all of his policy decisions and speeches is that he is a brilliant politician. By adopting all of the talking points and policies that were once espoused by Republicans, he is allowing the Republicans to move off the cliff to the right.

    Of course, one of the things that enables this humanicidal political strategy is the faithful allegiance of liberals. Liberals are apparently content with Obama on the basis that he’s not as bad as the Republican alternative. While this behavior ensures Obama will get reelected, it also ensures Obama will continue moving to the right.

    In today’s political world, the Republicans and Democrats are two branches of the same political movement. The Republicans are the ideological branch while the Democrats are the executive branch. Continuing to elect Democrats like Obama virtually guarantees the unopposed implementation of Republican policies.

    If they American People want to assert their democracy, they have to be prepared to look beyond the two parties, which have become subservient to wealthy individuals and corporations, who believe their riches will protect them from climate change.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      It’s the same confidence trick that we have been sold in Austr-failure for thirty years. The so-called ‘social democrats’ of the so-called ‘Labor’ Party move Right (the leaders who push for it are well rewarded on retirement with cosy sinecures and ‘business opportunities’)pushing the reactionaries further Right. Repeat over and over, pushed all the way by the MSM, the Murdoch pathocracy always to the fore. When crisis hits, always move further Right. Always. In the end, policies that would have been laughed out of court a few decades ago, even by conservatives,become commonplace, and the ideological zealots, no matter how often their religion fails to deliver its promised benefits, keep screeching ‘There is no alternative!’. And we all go, merrily, to Hell.

  7. Doug Bostrom says:

    Rummaging in the Stratfor documents for some insight regarding Obama’s evolving attitude to climate change is somewhat helpful, even with the limited stuff so far released.

    Ignoring for a moment the Stratfor folks’ espionage drag jargon and generally obnoxious attitude, they do seem to have bumped into some actual information from time to time, including stuff concerning opposing forces pushing climate policy hither and thither.

  8. Walter Borden says:

    News Corp is proudly 100% carbon neutral yet its WSJ& Fox News unit confuses and blur climate science while falsely reporting that workable policy and economic options aren’t realistic; that renewable energy means employment losses. What can be done to shame the News COrp Board? Is that even possible. I have to think so or I wouldn’t be reading and posting here. Saw Brulle suggest here last week that maybe a climate SuperPAc is needed. Maybe since the president choses to tunes his violin as the world burns. Unreal but that its just all too much so.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Shame!?Murdoch!!?? It’s not possible. Shame, guilt, conscience-all do not compute in Murdochistan. He even confused ‘humble’ with ‘humiliating’ after apologising to Milly Downer’s family.

  9. Raul M. says:

    thanks Joe,
    I might not have known that POTUS noticed and made a good point of saying in Miami that they are improving their energy situation. Just as Miami must know there is much more to be done so must the POTUS know that there is great change needed in the city to deploy, deploy, deploy clean energy.

  10. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Mulga sounds so bitter, so extreme. I wish I could say he was wrong. It is almost as though the lunacy we see on one side is only to make us feel good about what we do get.

    Four lost years. Are we to have four more?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      You’re right, Rabid. I’m bitter to have lived at just that time when the Evil Ones finally finished humanity off. I’m bitter that the children I see at play will live wretched lives because of human greed and malevolence. I’m bitter that Shakespeare, Beethoven and all the greats of human achievement will die a second and final time, far too soon, as humanity and its civilization vanish from the cosmos. And I’m bitter that I am extreme, and that so few others manage to open their eyes to what is happening.

  11. Tom King says:

    During the late 1990′s I found myself surrounded by so many PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) people that it almost drove me crazy. I saw them as blocking out vital information about their world. But now I find the global mood swing has gone too far in the other direction and is blocking out all the possibilities on the road ahead.
    The people on this website are the elite and our job is to create the future. And no, I am not deluded like the PMA’s were in the 90′s. I understand the world is full of both pitfalls and possibilities, but I refuse to be trapped exclusively in either camp.

  12. ltr says:

    I am deeply saddened but not the least surprised. This is President Obama, this is what Obama is about which is Democratic-clothed deception while being a wild conservative.

  13. ltr says:

    I will not support again nor vote again for President Obama. I do not care who is the opponent, I wilol vote against President Obama, I do not want a Republican in Democratic clothing in the Presidency.

  14. clays says:

    You will all be glad to hear, “all of the above” is meaningless rhetoric. Taxing the crap out of energy companies isn’t going to help energy prices. Blocking production on federal lands isn’t an “all of the above” stratagy.

    Yes, you’ll be glad to know its a fat lie by Obama simply to get votes.

  15. Sasparilla says:

    The irony of Obama doing this in Miami is so awful – Miami will be one of the first major cities lost to the sea during this century (not sure if 1ft sea level increase by 2050 will do that or we’ll have to wait till later this century when much of southern Florida will be lost).

    As many have commented here – I do not wish to vote for this President who campaigned on climate change action (as 1 of his 3 primary goals) but pitched it over the side (probably before even taking office as he approved the 1st two tar sands pipelines in the summer of 2009 just a couple of months into office). He truly, knowingly played us for dupes.

    That said – there is also more at stake in this election. The GOP is no longer the party it was when President Bush was in office (back when a chunk of them tolerated or even supported green energy or worked and voted in bipartisan ways on climate change) – those days are gone, things are much worse now (with regards to green energy / technologies let alone climate change).

    The worst outcome this year would be a GOP sweep of both houses and the Presidency – and while its hard to imagine things being worse than the last 3 years, something I’ve learned to accept in all this is that with regards to our situation on climate change it can always get worse – and if the GOP sweeps, it’ll get much worse on climate change and Green Energy in particular (Wind, Solar and Plug In Vehicle technology will be attacked).

    So I will vote for the Green presidential candidate unless my state is in play shortly before the election, then I will vote for Obama. The same philosophy will apply to my voting for House and Senate members (Green unless the seat is in play). JMHO…

  16. Lou Grinzo says:

    Sometimes I think the people on “our side” deserve to lose this war over the climate. We can be dumber than a sack of door knobs, and more infuriating than a stadium of deniers jacked up on Red Bull.

    When I vote this November, I will be voting for President Obama, for exactly one reason: Between him and the Republican nominee he will do by far the best job for the next four years.

    Who will the Republicans nominate? Romney, Mr. $100 in offshore accounts, the guy who was born on third base, thought he hit a single, and was then thrown out trying to steal second? Santorum — I can’t even begin to ridicule him and his pre-Enlightenment views without turning this into the longest post ever on this site. Newt? Ditto my Santorum comment.

    Should I vote Green to “send a message”? No! We need the strongest possible leadership in the Presidency, the House, and the Senate, and that means not just winning, but winning by large margins. I’m no more thrilled about Obama’s recent words and actions than is anyone else here. But compared to the “competition”, voting for him and Democrats in the House and Senate is an absolute no brainer.

    And who knows, if we get lucky and the Republicans are embarrassed enough, they might (finally!) tack more toward center, letting Obama and future Democrats shift so that they no longer look like a European hard right wing party.

    • SecularAnimist says:

      Lou Grinzo wrote: “Should I vote Green to ‘send a message’? No!”

      That decision depends in part on where you live. I live in Maryland which has gone Democratic in 7 out of the last 10 Presidential elections, and voted 62 percent for Obama in 2008.

      Unless it looks like a close election in Maryland, I fully intend to vote for the Green Party’s Presidential nominee to “send a message”.

      If it looks like a close election, then I’ll certainly vote for the lesser of two evils. But frankly, if the vote is that close in Maryland, then Obama is toast.

    • Mark says:

      I don’t care if my state is close or not, fatal slow cancer is still fatal. We’re facing a “clear and present danger to civilization” here. There are two, and only two, ways things can change in the USA.

      OPTION 1) When POTUS puts global warming on the top of the daily agenda, and talks like FDR talked Pearl Harbor the morning after

      OPTION 2) The really, really, hard and inevitable way.

      It doesn’t really matter how close my state is in 2012, I refuse to vote for Option 2 which is all Obama has offered thus far. You can vote for evil if you want…. just remember that the lesser of two evils is just that: evil. If he wants my vote, He needs to give a major presidential address on “Global Warming”, and we need to hear those words on POTUS’ lips every single day.

    • John McCormick says:

      Lou, thanks for that moment of truth. We can wail and flail against President Obama and drive more potential voters away. Then, we Americans will be hit with a political tsunami. When are we smart (someone called is elite) people finally going to get it.

      Obama’s second term, holding the Senate and possibly winning the House are the conributions we voters must make to our childrens futue.

      Unless, of course, we only want to dream of what could have been, what couild be.

      Enough threats against Obama’s re-election.

      And, Mulga is bitter and he has problems of his own with Australian politics.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Yes-you understand me well. I am very bitter, but realistically I think that not being rankled by living through one’s own species’ auto-genocide is madness. I’m used to it, however, so suffer no dyspepsia. As to politics, we suffer from a global politics these days with orders issued from Washington, so all of humanity has a stake in US politics. And, forgive my impertinence, but I’m certain Obama will be no different in his second term, and only marginally, and irrelevantly, less bad than Santorum, Gingrich or Beelzebub. I even feel that Romney just might surprise, positively.

      • Dan Ives says:

        John said: “Obama’s second term, holding the Senate and possibly winning the House are the conributions [sic] we voters must make to our childrens futue [sic].” – Personally, I want better for my children. They certainly deserve much better than what the Democratic Party has to offer. We gave the Democrats huge majorities and the presidency from 2009-2010. Did that save our children’s future? No, it continued the status quo. Why would you expect differently were we to do that again?

        John said: “Enough threats against Obama’s re-election.” – Whenever I’m met with a call to silence my criticism, I ask myself, “Who stands to gain from my silence?” It surely isn’t the climate or my children. This is a blog about climate change, an issue Obama has utterly failed at addressing. It is — and should always remain — fair game to question support for this failed President, whether it makes you uncomfortable or not.

    • Timeslayer says:

      You’re right Lou.

      I do hope that some of the people who claim that they may not even VOTE for President Obama come to realize how foolish and damaging that would be to our cause (and that it would be essentially an act of vanity and narcissism). They’ll have to realize it on their own, because they often seem deaf to cogent arguments like yours.

      TS

      • Dick Smith says:

        Thanks Lou. Heaven forbid that a CP purist should lose his or her political virginity by voting for Obama–even if it guarantees a Supreme Court like the one that gave us Citizens United for the rest of my life. I’m sure the virgins are right. How naive of me to see any difference between Obama and Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and Paul.

      • ltr says:

        I am not interested in the Obama scare tactics and will vote to defeat him simply because I refuse to tolerate a Democratic President who is really a Republican. Obama is a Republican and I would rather turn him out of office and work for another candidate.

        No way do I support this President, I( oppse him.

    • Dan Ives says:

      Lou said: “We need the strongest possible leadership in the Presidency, the House, and the Senate, and that means not just winning, but winning by large margins.” – News flash: we tried that in 2009-2010. Did it get us a climate bill? No. So why would we expect a different outcome by repeating that strategy?

      Lou said: “And who knows, if we get lucky and the Republicans are embarrassed enough, they might (finally!) tack more toward center, letting Obama and future Democrats shift so that they no longer look like a European hard right wing party.” – Once again, see 2009-2010. The 2008 election saw the GOP suffer a historic defeat, and what did they do? They tracked further to the RIGHT. Again, why should we expect anything different by repeating history? (Side note: the Dems retaining the Senate is a pipe dream, so this argument is moot).

      How does the saying go? ” Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

  17. Doug Bostrom says:

    It would be terrific if Joe’s invitations for free-form bitching about the only Democratic candidate we’re going to have were followed up with some positive suggestions for how to make that candidate better.

    You think there’s no difference between Obama and the other guys? Use your imagination coupled with facts, think harder.

    Failing Obama, we’re going to “enjoy” Romney, or Santorum or some other wholly-owned creature of the GOP. Inviting folks not to vote for Obama by feeding their discontent while not offering a pragmatic alternative or means of improving the actual candidate we have is stupidly self-defeating.

    • Dan Ives says:

      Doug said: “Inviting folks not to vote for Obama by feeding their discontent while not offering a pragmatic alternative or means of improving the actual candidate we have is stupidly self-defeating.”

      Rocky Anderson. There is your pragmatic alternative. He actually cares about the climate, unlike any candidate from the two major parties.

  18. Doug Bostrom says:

    Also worth noting that regardless of who ends up in the White House next January, without solid legislative support that person will accomplish little or nothing. 2010′s random dart-throwing election was what really killed any chance for dramatic progress on the part of Obama.

    Spend a little less time kvetching about Obama and a little more thinking about how to build legislative support for the kind of policies you want. Once you’ve thought of something to do, do it.

    • Mark says:

      Obama could have put everyone to work before the last elections, and elected all democrats, if he had gone “Apollo 11″ with clean energy related jobs, and thrashed climate deniers with science while he did so.

      “Enough kvetching?!” How about, “Enough apologetics”? POTUS’ utter failure to use the bully pulpit for global warming is why the dems lost congress. And these lesser evil arguments are why nothing politically meaningful will happen until basic physics takes a much more serious bite out of our grocery shelves. Please pass the kvetchup. Oops, that’s right. Tomato crop was a dead loss this year. Nevermind.

      • Doug Bostrom says:

        POTUS’ utter failure to use the bully pulpit for global warming is why the dems lost congress.

        Ask somebody else and they’ll say “failure to turn around the economy fast enough for the iPod generation is why the dems lost congress.”

        Both demands are equally reasonable.

        If only Obama’s magical powers were up to the task of distracting voters from the economic tailspin he inherited I’m positive you’d be correct.

        Failure to deliver on unicorns, that’s the problem.

        • Mark says:

          Unicorns, huh?

          Apparently, you think that the status quo from the current white house can prevent 800ppm and that we’ll manage ok at that concentration.

          Sorry, but I think that animal is in YOUR barn.

          • Doug Bostrom says:

            Sorry, but I think that animal is in YOUR barn.

            Good one!

            But here are a couple of simple questions:

            –What’ll the PPM be in 2020 if Romney is elected? Obama?

            –What’s better, higher or lower PPM?

            You know you’re not going to get perfection; we’re screwed on PPM regardless, were fatefully screwed in 2008 before Obama ever set foot in the Oval Office (or did I miss something, had we already created a functioning arc of public initiative and policy addressing C02?). Knowing that, what’s the right thing to do? Imagine a perfect President, or go with the blemished but not-actually-suppurating alternative?

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        I’m more with you Mark, than with the residual ‘Hope Fiends’. I understand their arguments and fervently hope that they are correct and I am wrong. But I doubt it. The fiendish brilliance of Plan Obama was to recruit, employ, launch into politics and finance a ‘Manchurian Candidate’, a highly plausible confidence-trickster who would deliver to the rich (as all US politicians, certainly Presidents, must do)while dudding the Hope Fiends. It took a real effort of enthusiasm to forget just how US politics are arranged, how it is impossible to elect any but employees of the money power, but people were repulsed by the excesses of the Bush regime and yearning for a change. Obama was just too good to be true-ain’t that the truth. So here’s hoping I’m a bitter and cynical fool, and a re-elected Obama will make good on all his promises (I’m sure there’ll be lots more and inviting, before the election).

  19. sault says:

    Look, I’ll grant that Obama handled the cap and trade fight poorly. However, you have to admit that House Democrats kind of sprung it on them out of the blue and the administration was focused on health care reform at the time. So yeah, 2009 – 2010 was a missed opportunity. Keep in mind, the stimulus had the biggest investment in clean energy EVER and fuel economy standards were raised in that time period.

    However, since the beginning of 2011, there has been EXACTLY ZERO chance of getting ANYTHING moving on climate. Look at House Republicans voting in virtual lockstep to deny climate change even exists! Look at the legislative contortions that were required to pass a watered-down health insurance reform bill EVEN WHEN THE DEMOCRATS HAD 60 VOTES IN THE SENATE!

    Look, all the idealists around here need to realize that EVERY politician’s job is to win elections FIRST. There’s nothing you can do to change that. If climate change is a losing issue that can’t produce legislative victories in the current session, then the President is NOT going to talk about it. Political capital is a real thing. Look at how spending it on Social Security privatization cost Bush II most of his.

    I agree, we need to MAKE the Obama administration focus more on climate. However, pouting and walking away because you don’t get to play with all the toys you want is as childish as it sounds. Casting protest votes is a waste at best and gets us a %100 chance of ZERO action on climate from the Romney Administration at worst. Given the fact that the Supreme Court might be in play too, that could potentially lock us in for a GENERATION of Citizens’ United-style travesties.

    So look, we need to give Obama the strongest majorities in the House and Senate as we can to open his second term. THEN, once it’s ACTUALLY POSSIBLE to get climate legislation through, THEN we make the Democrats act. Keystone-level protests all over the place and whatnot. As long as legislative action is %100 impossible, all the complaining, protesting and intentionally losing losing elections will accomplish NOTHING.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Your statement that politicians must get elected first, sums up our dilemma. Politicians must please their financial backers, because money buys power, in most cases. The electorate comprises not moral and intellectual paragons alone. Some have been known to vote out of greedy self-interest, bigotry, fear and paranoia. Telling untruths to be elected seems not to cause politicians much harm. Belligerence abroad, not necessarily beneficial to global amity and co-operation over matters like climate destabilisation, is seen as a positive for electability. The MSM is irredeemably Rightwing, with large swathes, like Fox News, quite deranged in its bigotry and obscurantism, and always ready for character assassination (a favoured technique in a polity where negative propaganda now far outweighs the positive, even in internal party primaries). I could go on, but it gets tedious.
      Meanwhile, the Chinese, who do not run a lowest common denominator polity where politicians routinely accuse their opponents of being aliens or friends of Satan, have managed to address the critical questions of climate destabilisation somewhat more effectively, certainly in contrast to the recent US record. Comparisons are odious, but what, really, in the current critical circumstances, are the advantages of ‘democracy?’

  20. Solar Jim says:

    “All of the above,” beside sounding like a child in a candy store, is more akin to the multi-trillion dollar criminal investment-bankster bailouts.

    Remember, the POTUS personal transport vehicle is a 747 climate change machine. His next stop: Keystone XL piece by piece as economic development (for the ecocidal plutocracy of the militant-investment complex).

  21. Paul Magnus says:

    Worth repeating…

    “Obama is currently in the midst of a failed presidency from a historical perspective because of his abandonment of the climate issue”

  22. michael allen says:

    Unlike the Republican Presidential candidates, Obama is not DUMB. He knows that climate change is real and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. And for this we should be THANKFUL.

    But unlike many environmentalists, Obama is realistic about what he is going to need to do (or not do) to get reelected in this economy and political environment. If the Republicans win the White House, Senate, and the House in 2012, we can all kiss planet Earth goodbye. Obama knows this and that is why he will not give the Dittoheads easy talking points about “jobs vs. carbon taxes”. It would be FOOLISH for him to put this issue on the table BEFORE the election. (However, should the hot drought continue in Texas this summer, adding climate change to the election campaign discussion might be advantageous. And if it is advantageous, Obama will take the advantage. )

    In 2008, Obama chose to put his effort behind the Health Care bill at the expense of Cap and Trade. Environmentalists see this as a strategic defeat, but I see it as a tactical move. Passing legislation to place a “Price on Carbon” and implementing a “Price on Carbon” are two very different things. History has shown us that a Republican Congress and President will rarely hesitate to cut taxes. And a “price on carbon” is a tax. So I think a Cap and Trade bill will only be successful if it can survive a future Republican White House. And I think the President realizes this as well.

    If Obama had passed Cap and Trade in late 2010 and then lost the White House in 2012, a new Republican President and Republican Congress could easily undo Cap and Trade in 2012. All the effort spent passing Cap and Trade would have been wasted. So the President put his effort into Obamacare, because Obamacare (unlike Cap and Trade) will be very difficult for a 2012 Republican White House and Republican Congress to repeal. (Obamacare is already reducing Medicare spending, reducing the deficit, and providing tangible benefits to many Americans.) Should Obama win in 2012, Obamacare will make Affordable Health Insurance available to almost all uninsured Americans in 2014. Big Promise Made and Big Promise Kept. This will dramatically increase the credibility of the President and the Democratic Party. And if you add to this a much improved economy in 2014, “Cap and Trade” should be easier to pass. Very few will be listening to the screaming and shouting of Fox News, the Dittoheads, and the Fossil Fuel industry.

    In 2004 it would have been BEYOND BELIEF to predict that in 2008 America would elect an African American President with a Kenyan first and last name, a middle name “Hussein”, and that this new president would pass a comprehensive Universal Health Care bill. But it happened. And today, most of us take this huge leap forward for granted. A lot can happen in four years: good and bad.

    I would pause before I condemned Obama’s presidency as a “failure”. Up to this point his abilities have and accomplishments have FAR EXCEEDED conventional wisdom of 2004-2007. Should he lose the 2012 election, yes this “failure” label may be justified. But should he win 2012, and perhaps increase the Democratic seats in Congress, I believe President Obama will add more accomplishments (such as a climate treaty, or a carbon tax) to his impressive resume. And yes, it would be better for Earth to accomplish this in 2010 than say 2014, but better late than never. And should Obama lose in 2012, NEVER is the most likely scenario.

  23. Mark says:

    To Doug and other Obama status-quo supporters:

    Doug asked,
    “What’ll the PPM be in 2020 if Romney is elected? Obama? What’s better, higher or lower PPM?”

    A=B, SO IT DOES NOT MATTER.

    Obama’s make-no-waves approach shows NO SIGN of preventing large scale carbon release due to feedbacks. The approach of both parties will take us far beyond the point of no return.

    Folks are still talking half-measures. The only thing keeping the president from galvinizing the nation’s attention on this issue is……. his choice to not do it.

    On present course, carbon cycle feedbacks are likely to swamp our puny mitigation efforts. PPM under GOP=ObamaStatusQuo=GOP, it is all the same.

    And that’s why a vote for the lesser of two evils is still evil. Last I checked (a month ago) the recent Pearl Harbor blockbuster was still on Youtube. We need an FDR or JFK of global warming. Anything less, and we might as well just let W run things again.

    Just suppose instead of unemployment benefits, DOE gave massive weatherization grants to help insulation startups, and retrained unemployment recipients as installers. Demand for recycling would skyrocket due to demand for cellulose. Equipment manufacturing would happen. And that’s just one example. How many people can we employ if we got serious about rebuilding the interstate electric grid? You can’t tell me these things can’t be done in a way that will pay for themselves many times over. And so there is no excuse for NOT doing them.

    “Art of what’s possible” piffle. Give me some moral courage and intellectual audacity for pete’s sake. Did anyone really care that the Russians beat us to space before POTUS and media made a big deal about it? Time for someone to grip the AGW bullhorn and do the same darn thing.

    • sault says:

      How do you know that CO2 emissions will be EXACTLY the same under a 2nd Obama administration vs a 1st Romney administration? Do you have some kind of crystal ball that can tell the future? Do you honestly think ANY Republican in this day and age would have increased vehicle fuel efficiency even 1MGP or invested even %10 of the money Obama has towards developing and deploying clean energy? Do you honestly think a Republican president in this day and age will nominate ANYBODY but corporate mouthpieces to the Supreme Court just like how all those Bush appointees gave us Citizens’ United?

      It must be so easy floating along in Fantasy Land since it looks like you never have to worry about how to solve REAL problems here on planet Earth…

      • Dan Ives says:

        sault said: ” Do you honestly think ANY Republican in this day and age would have increased vehicle fuel efficiency even 1MGP or invested even %10 of the money Obama has towards developing and deploying clean energy?” – Do you honestly think the Democrats, environmentalists, etc. would have allowed a Republican President to increase offshore drilling, reject ozone pollution standards, open the Arctic to drilling, and side with BP during the Gulf Oil Disaster? Obama did all of these things with barely a peep of dissent.

        Anyway, your entire comment just proves that Mark is right because all of those AMAZING accomplishments you describe still won’t divert us from our current Business As Usual emissions path. Obama has done nothing to get us off the track of catastrophic global warming, and Romney would do the same thing, continue the status quo.

        So who’s in fantasy land?

    • Dan Ives says:

      Great comment!

  24. Mark says:

    Apparently you don’t get it, so I’ll try again.

    Human emissions are not the bomb with the lit fuse. Instead, the bomb with the lit fuse is all the carbon in natural sinks waiting for release due to carbon cylce feedbacks.

    I’ll grant that human emissions under GOP polices carry a higher numeric value than under Obama status quo policies. SO WHAT? Because the fuse is still lit either way the carbon sink bomb will is starting to detonate, and will likely go at an exponential rate. That will be unstoppable, and its magnitude will be many times the difference in emissions between GOP and Obama status quo policies. The enormity of these carbon cycle feedbacks will make the GOP vs Obama-status-quo bickering look really silly.

    For example, take social security. I assume you know that as of right now the financial house of cards will crash and burn without some paradigm busting change, yes? Pretend one party has a plan to shave 1/2 of 1% from the admin overhead, and the other party’s plan would shave 3/4 of 1% from the overhead, and they go to war over these plans as if either one means a whit of difference. Pretty absurd, isn’t it?

    That’s what we’re looking at with carbon cycle feedbacks and the silly debate whether the GOP would allow so much more emissions than Obama’s status quo policies. BOTH CAN LEAD TO CARBON SINK RELEASE MANY TIMES THE DIFFERENCE IN THE PARTY’S EMISSIONS SCHEMES.

    And so, sure, you can argue about who has the lower numeric value, the GOP or Obama’s current programs, but only if you leave out natural feedbacks. Splitting the stats that way gives you an easy win, but it ignores the very real danger that the difference is meaningless since they both appear to lead to detonation of the much larger carbon feedback bomb.

    You wanna vote for that detonation, by my guest. But if we stick around, be prepared to explain to kids in the future why were were too dumb to see the forest despite the trees.

    • sault says:

      Oh, so now your crystal ball tells you where the Earth’s climate threshholds are! Wow, why don’t you start making some money with that kind of predictive power? Okay, so what PPM EXACTLY do these things kick in? Everybody around here is dying to know.

  25. Doug Bostrom says:

    Nothing like a little bloody fratricide to pass the time of day. Sigh.

    I’ve a feeling that the tone of the OP sets the tone of the “discussion.” Maybe some tuning could be done to avoid having all the furniture be smashed by the end of the day?

    Some gentle nudge in a positive direction before opening the kindergarten door?