Who really is a bigger “threat to our basic way of life” — President Obama, as Gingrich claims, or Newt himself, backed by Big Oil and special interest polluters?

President Obama issued a call to arms to progressives yesterday ahead of the midterm elections. Obama told a cheering crowd of 26,000 at the University of Wisconsin, “We cannot sit this one out. We cannot let this country fall back because the rest of us didn’t stand up and fight.” “[P]rogress is going to come, but you’ve got to stick with me. You cannot lose heart,” he implored.

Whatever else you can say about Obama, he is no extremist, nor has he lacked for achievements. He has governed from a center-left position and has enacted a set of policies that have eluded progressives for decades.

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Yes, despite pushing through a variety of clean energy and CO2-reducing strategies that make him the greenest president to date, he has utterly failed on his crucial campaign commitment of passing comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation. In part this is for lack of serious trying by his White House, but mostly because of the disinformation campaign pushed by Big Oil and corporate polluters and because the Republican Party has been captured by Big Oil, Big Polluters, and the Tea Party extremists, who themselves are backed by Big Oil , as discussed here.

The radicalization of the Republican Party is exemplified by the disgraced former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who back in 2007 was actually described as the “move to the pragmatic center on climate and energy,” by one NYT reporter. Now, he has become just another Tea Party extremist backed by dirty energy, as explained in this Think Progress crosspost, “TenMillionVoters.Com: Newt Launches Tea Party Campaign To Stop ‘Radical, Secular Socialist Machine’ “:

With the incendiary claim that the Obama presidency is the greatest threat the American people have ever faced, Newt Gingrich has launched a massively funded effort to mobilize ten million conservative voters this November. In an online video promoting the “Power of 10” campaign by his American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF) 527 group, Gingrich rails against the “genuinely radical, secular socialist machine” of the “Obama-Pelosi-Reid team” who “simply run over the beliefs and values of the American people.” Images of Tea Party rallies and the right-wing enemies list “” Michael Moore, Sean Penn, and Katie Couric “” scroll by as Gingrich pleads for “we the American people” to “go all out”:

You know, I don’t remember any time in American history where we had such a threat to our basic way of life: A genuinely radical, secular socialist machine ramming things through with no regard for American values or the beliefs of the American people.

American Solutions for Winning the Future is bankrolled by a cadre of the right-wing billionaires and oil and coal companies who put George W. Bush into office and destroyed the national economy.

Here is a Rogue’s gallery of ASWF’s dirty bankrollers, from Salon:

  • American Electric Power: Michael Morris, the CEO of this Ohio-based power giant, gave $100,000 last year. Along with generating lots of electricity, the company operates the nation’s largest power transmission network, operating over much of the East Coast and Midwest.
  • Plains Exploration and Production Co.: This Houston-based oil and gas company that operates in the Gulf gave $100,000.
  • Devon Energy: A huge Oklahoma-based oil and gas production company, it has given American Solutions $250,000.
  • Arch Coal: Based in St. Louis, Arch boasts it provides 16 percent of America’s coal supply from 11 mining complexes around the country. That makes it the second largest coal producer in the country. It gave Gingrich $100,000.

Read more about Newt Gingrich’s ASWF at the Wonk Room.

The stakes in this battle between mainstream, clean energy progressives and dirty energy extremists could not be higher.

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Here is a transcript of the video above:

You know, I don’t remember any time in American history where we had such a threat to our basic way of life: A genuinely radical, secular socialist machine ramming things through with no regard for American values or the beliefs of the American people.

When you look at case after case, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid team are determined that they’re going to drive home change in America no matter what you and I think, no matter what every American thinks. Polls say people oppose them. They oppose issue after issue: They don’t want big tax increases, they don’t want the labor unions to eliminate the secret ballot in organizing, they don’t want to see government control of health care, they don’t want to see the Arizona law challenged on immigration.

And yet, again and again this administration and its allies simply run over the beliefs and values of the American people.

And that’s why these 45 days are so important. Now, I look at what’s going on, and I’m frankly worried. Oh yeah, the polls look pretty good. There’s a lot of happy talk, but I’ve been here before. We haven’t yet seen the full power of the presidency. All of the elite news media biased against us, the labor unions pouring out every penny. Trial lawyers writing their big checks. The left-wing celebrities out there raising money.

October’s gonna be tough, and for us to win after their counterattack, we have to have laid out careful plans, we have to have trained our candidates, and we have to have mobilized our voters. Because we’re up against a machine that’s gonna be desperate. They know the country’s angry. They look at every poll that tells them that on issue on issue we the American people are rejecting them. They know we’re determined to defeat them. So they’re going to go all out. The question is: Are we willing to go all out too?

So I’m asking you one more time, in this 45-day period, help us before the end of September to get the resources to stop the Left and get America back on the right track. I’m confident we will win, and our children and grandchildren will have a dramatically better future.