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President Bill Clinton spoke at the Netroots Nation conference 13 August. (Parts 4 and 5 in this discussion ... for the rest.) While too many Americans have their ears shut when they hear his name, he speaks thoughtfully and has continued serious service post his Presidency. His comments, undoubtably discussed elsewhere multiple times, about how he ended up pursuing a post-Presidency path with non-governmental organizations and the impacts of the Clinton Global Initiative were both interesting and worth watching.

Considering that, just a short time ago, I wrote on the intertwining and similarities of health care and energy challenges, his comments about health care and climate change were sparking my interest and had me sitting up in my seat. His comments about health care seemed to be heading toward a similar balancing and interconnection conversation ... This didn't occur so let's take the President's remarks and draw the very clear parallels that his discussion implied.

When it came to Health Care, President Clinton outlined that accomplishing reform on health care is difficult for three basic reasons.


  1. This is "16% of the economy", very complex, it effects every single person.

  2. It is "hard to cost out health care issues, we know what the costs are but are uncertain as to the benefits .... "  We know that we will get better care with lower cost, but it is hard for the traditional analysis to show these benefits while the costs are far clearer. Thus, the costs are being quantified and not the benefits.

  3. Machievelli wrote about how hard it is to change the status quo.

    There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.
    Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (1532)

    "Nothing is harder than to change the status quo ... People who've got it are certain of what they'll lose and those who don't got it aren't sure of what they'll get."



After this, President Clinton tranistioned to a discussion of how President Obama has laid out, clearly, the case for health care reform, including that "the worst thing of all is sticking with the status quo."

Considering Climate Change

Think about the above words and put in, instead, energy and climate change in your thinking rather than health care. Do not these words ring true, isn' t this a reasonable discussion about the challenges to moving forward toward a low-carbon future. And, as with health care, when it comes to our energy situation,

the worst thing of all is sticking with the status quo.

Note: A short discussion of President Clinton's efforts re climate change.

Originally posted to A Siegel on Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 07:58 AM PDT.

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