What team Obama has accomplished in its first month is nothing less than an unprecedented reversal of decades of unsustainable national policy forced down the throat of the American public by conservatives.
As but one example, has there been a single story in the traditional media about the fact that Obama, for the first time in three decades, has dramatically increased funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy R&D? Since Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, and slashed federal efficiency and renewables investments 80% to 90%, conservatives have blocked all efforts to ramp up funding in cleantech (see “Who got us in this energy mess? Start with Ronald Reagan” and “Why is our energy policy so lame? Ask the three GOP stooges.“).
The net result is that we lost market leadership in all of the major job-creating industries of the century — wind power, solar energy, and so on — since every other rich country in the world (and some developing ones like China and India) are not so ideologically blinkered (see below).
But much of the traditional media sees only the short-term partisan horse race, like some corporate CEO focused on the next quarter even as their company goes belly up. My favorite such misguided headline so far is from USA Today:
When are the media and the nation’s opinionmakers going to realize that the storyline of the decade — the storyline of the century — is not Dems vs. R’s or progressives vs. conservatives, but all of us vs. the 1,000 years of misery that is inevitable on our path of unregulated greenhouse gas emissions? (see Hadley Center: Catastrophic 5-7°C warming by 2100 on current emissions path and NOAA stunner: Climate change “largely irreversible for 1000 years,” with permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe).
Years from now, long after the economy has recovered, this may well be remembered as the time that progressives, led by Obama, began the climate-saving transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy built around green jobs.
Call me a cock-eyed optimist [OK, maybe more like a Spock-eyed optimist].
How has Obama jumpstarted the one true task of every U.S. President of the 21st century — preserving the health and welfare of the next 100 billion people to walk the Earth?