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There's only so much bandwidth our system can take before crowding out begins and you start sacrificing one issue over others. Due to the nihilism taking hold in the House and reality that the democrats are divided on this, the chances of anything passing are zero.

So what he needs to do is use the bully pulpit to pave the way for the next Democrat who has a favorable congress to feel the urgency that Democrats felt in 2008 for healthcare reform. By 2008, healthcare reform became a rallying cry of the democratic party to the point where all its institutions and representatives were on board, even those who didn't like the idea to begin with like Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson and Evan Bayh still felt the pressure to be with the party on this issue.

Because we didn't do this with climate change, we ran into a brick wall with Democrats in 2009. Make no mistake, it was democrats in 2009 who killed the cap and trade bill. Obama takes some responsibility for prioritizing healthcare once it became obvious a choice had to made in the summer of 2009. But lets not forget that it barely passed the house by 2 votes despite HUGE majorities, and most people knew there were at least 10 democrats in the Senate who wouldn't be for anything resembling climate change legislation.

Even what barely passed the most liberal House in a generation required significant compromises to the point where the cap and trade scheme in Waxman-Markey bore little resemblance to the scheme in the Obama's 2009 budget. Permits were no longer being auctioned and there were tons of carve outs, primarily for Coal. The reason this happened is because it wasn't made a democratic rallying cry to the point where that last 20% of democrats who would normally be opposed to an issue felt compelled to join. So to basically buy off rural and conservative democrats, most of what industry opposed had to be watered down. That still was not enough for some 40-50 democrats.

Where Obama does deserve blame is for making this problem worse by basically staying silent since the Cap and Trade bill fell through and letting a sense of malaise take over the country and its political class. When this malaise takes over on certain issues, like climate change and gun control, the only person who can bring it back on the agenda is the president, and he failed. In fact, he didn't even try. Thats what needs to be remedied in this second term. Make it a high profile issue, inject it into the political noise, make democrats rally around it so that even Conservadems feel they have to support it. The fruits of this will not be borne by Obama, but by the next Democrat. That should be his mission now though.

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