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View Diary: NY Times reporter asks President question that NY Times deems not newsworthy (116 comments)

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  •  Candidate Obama in 2007 (6+ / 0-)

    Hadn't had 4 years where every idea he endorsed was opposed by every Republican, and where for 2 years even the most basic legislation couldn't pass (farm bill anyone? Disaster relief?  etc)

    The man is who he is.  His statement reflects how little congress wants to deal at all with climate change.  Our lawmakers don't give a rats ass about it, no matter what happens with the weather, the arctic or anything else.

    So he's looking for an argument to make climate change legislation tie into improving the economy or "competitiveness", so it is politically possible to actually pass some legislation.  And he isn't there yet.

    Hence his statement.    

    It matters very little what Obama thinks of climate change.  He really can't do very much about it without help from Congress (and even with help, it'll probably be tiny and inadequate).  He's having trouble even having the conversation, because nobody with a megaphone (ie money or a congressional vote) wants to talk about it at all.

    Unless that changes, Obama is going to be reduced to efforts like the attempt in 2011 to get the Rs to bend on tax increases, even a tiny bit.  If he can just get the votes for even a token effort, it changes the mainstream conversation from "Climate change is a hoax" to "It's real, but it is hard to pass anything that will help".

    More likely though he'll have little success unless we get an 99%/1% type reframing that sound-bites the issue in a way that gets traction.   Which will most likely require some combination of more disasters and massive protests of some kind.

    •  Obama is a utilitarian (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SolarMom, wonmug, SpamNunn, mightymouse

      He is only going to expend effort on things if, in his head, he sees his effort able to push the needle on an issue across the finish line (of course he'll take any gifts that come his way as well).  

      Closing Guantanamo?  Met too much resistance, didn't want to get bogged down in it, let it go.
      Single payer health care?  Insurance companies would spend too much money opposing, no way.  Public option?  Sacrifice it if you can get a deal through.  
      Climate change?  He'll give a speech, but big oil and coal still has a lot of clout - he's not going to do anything radical, and he's going to keep talking about clean coal and increasing drilling on public land for oil.  
      Gay marriage?  Wait till the polls move more in his favor, or till Joe Biden forces his hand.

      Obama isn't a LBJ who can force deals through Congress, and isn't an FDR that can take his case directly to the people to go over Congress's head.  He's very much a Clintonian triangulator, and the last election campaign finally saw the inevitable warming in the relationship between those two Third Way/Blue Dogs/moderate conservatives.  

      This is all speculation, but I think in his heart, Obama once wished he could be a Reagan - a great communicator that can change the national conversation from right wing frames to left wing frames.  A transformational leader, as it were.  Sometime around his election to the White House, though, that dream died.  Now he's happy/resigned to be a technocrat, winning small victories (but sadly losing the war as the right wing frame marches ever rightward - see the great celebration over adopting a Heritage Plan health insurance scheme).  

    •  Sigh ... (5+ / 0-)

      Not willing to go through the record, but Obama sat back in 2009 and let the opportunity for climate legislation slip through the cracks of history.

      The climate knowledgeable members of the Administration (such as Hodren, Lubchenco, Chu ...) look to be operating under orders not to speak forcefully in public.

      Etc ...

      There are tremendous "R" opposition issues -- the R climate deniers are the true enemies of humanity -- but this does not hold President Obama blameless.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:53:05 PM PST

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      •  House passed cap and trade (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, MichaelNY, notagain

        died in senate, for the usual reasons of the 2009-2010.  

        (health care took a year and a half, instead of 3 months, financial regulation ate up too months and after that we were in election 2010 season.   Endless procedural delays pretty much kept the Senate from doing more than one thing at a time)

        He's not blameless, but he gave it a shot, just like Immigration reform, which also died in senate.

        The voters took away any second chance in 2010.   If either pass, it'll be because of movement-based politics, because the Rs are in complete denial and the dems see zero political benefit to climate change legislation that isn't somehow tied to a jobs program.

        •  "He gave it a shot ..." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          misstates what happened in 09/10 re climate issues.

          And, staying essentially silent for so long is far from leadership.

          RE Obama's silence

          As to political gain, it is there for the seizing.  For example ...

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:36:36 PM PST

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        •  And during that time, (4+ / 0-)

          during all that time, I never once heard the President tell the simple truth: That the Senate REPUBLICANS were blocking all that good legislation that was coming out of the house.

          Those "endless procedural delays" you refer to were nothing but REPUBLICAN filibusters and holds.  

          That's the word that Obama refuses to utter: REPUBLICANS.  He likes to blame "Congress" but does not speak the R-word.  

          He seems pathologically afraid of calling them out on their obstructionism.

          Even in today's presser, when Nancy Cordes brought up the familiar bullshit line of the Republicans that mean ol' Barry wasn't being Bipartisan enough:

          But when it comes to your relationships with Congress, one of the most frequent criticisms we’ve heard over the past few years from members on both sides is that you haven’t done enough to reach out and build relationships. Are there concrete ways that you plan to approach your relationships with Congress in the second term?
          the POTUS replied:
          Look, I think there’s no doubt that I can always do better. And so I will, you know, examine ways that I can make sure to communicate my desire to work with everybody, so long as its advancing the cause of strengthening our middle class and improving our economy.
          [...] And I don’t exempt myself from needing to, you know, do some self-reflection and see if I can improve our working relationship.
          Really, Mr. President?

          You think you might maybe have mentioned REPUBLICAN Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's remark to Heritage that "our top political priority ... should be to deny President Obama a second term"?

          You think you might maybe have mentioned the meeting at the Caucus Room restaurant on fucking INAUGURATION DAY, reported on by Robert Draper, in which high-level Republican office-holders and operatives including Corker, DeMint, Ensign, Kyl, Sessions, Ryan, McCarthy, Lungren, Hoekstra, Cantor, Hensarling, Gingrich and Luntz, basically agreed on a strategy to sabotage Obama's entire first term; if possible to mortally wound him?

          And then you think you might maybe have thrown that asinine question back in Nancy's face and ask: So, Nancy, how exactly do you "reach out and build relationships" with people who have sworn a blood oath to destroy you?  Why don't you ask them, Nancy, what they have done to reach out and build relationships across the aisle?

          This President just won't go there.  He won't tell the truth.  During the hostage situation of summer 2011, first over the debt ceiling, and then over FAA funding, when the Republicans held the country's finances and the FAA hostage, the President repeatedly blamed "Congress" for not dealing with the problem.  As if it were a bipartisan issue.  Giving credence to the insane meme that there are "extremists on both sides" who are just "too partisan" and therefore can't "work together" to "get things done."

          If he refuses to call bullshit on "questions" like Cordes's, then he'll continue to get bullshit.  And until he confronts Republican obstructionism, he'll continue to get Republican obstructionism.  If it were just a cute little board game played by people in Washington, that would be one thing, but this refusal to face and name facts affects every single person in this country (and well beyond our borders as well).

          Sorry.  Unless he (and you) are willing to tell the truth about the reason for the block, for those "endless procedural delays", then I'm not willing to credit him with "giving it a shot."  

        •  the WH may have sunk the bill (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TJ, A Siegel

          See As the World Burns: How the Senate and the White House missed their best chance to deal with climate change from the New Yorker.

          The basic story is that Senate negotiators were holding out some plums in return for GOP votes for cap and trade. The plums were expanded off-shore drilling and one other thing I can't remember right now.

          Obama went around the Senate negotiators and gave the plums away for free, thus sinking the cap & trade bill.

          It is convenient to always blame Republicans, of course.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:50:41 AM PST

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    •  Yes and no (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel, elwior

      He can do a lot, namely by keeping coal and tar sands in the ground.  Block the Powder basin coal port and the keystone XL pipeline to start.

      The big action requires congress, which in turn requires us.   It is time to tell at representatives at town halls.  

      This has been a golden age for confirmation bias. - David Brooks

      by Mindful Nature on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:59:14 PM PST

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