Yes, my sources say the White House communications shop muzzled the Office of Science and Technology Policy from offering a robust defense of climate science after Climategate. And yes, Obama has utterly failed to offer a strong, coherent message on climate science and related energy policy (see “Obama calls for massive boost in low-carbon energy, but doesn’t mention carbon, climate or warming“).
I’ve been as critical of Obama about this as anybody, and like you, have come to the conclusion that he doesn’t appear to get the dire nature of the situation we’re in. But, in ‘fairness’ to the President, it must be pointed out that the White House sucks at messaging in general.
Look at their signature health care initiative. Please tell me what their message is? (see “Can Obama deliver health and energy security with a half (assed) message?“) Yet, health care is an issue that everybody in the White House cares about, unlike, say, climate, which beyond Obama and Holdren and, formerly, Browner, is of little political interest to almost all other senior WH staff.
Based on my discussions with leading journalists, as well as current and former Administration staff, this White House is the worst at communications in the past 3 decades. Indeed, the Obama WH is the worst of both possible worlds. They are dreadful at messaging BUT they think they are terrific at messaging, so much so that they shut down anybody else in the administration that might actually be good at messaging.
And that brings me to Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus and her op-ed today, “President Waldo: Barack Obama is often strangely absent from the most important debates.” Here are some highlights (lowlights?):