Misplaced Priorities

If we don't pass a climate bill in the November lame duck session or with the aid of January filibuster reform, this will be Barack Obama's legacy as president: an extraordinarily effective lawmaker who knew how to get things done, but one who lacked vision and thus got the wrong things done. The greatest waste of potential in world history. As Climate Progress blogger Joe Romm said, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Tom Toles for thee!"

(If the image disappears after a few hours, as sometimes happens here, please click the link above for one of the best editorial cartoons I have *ever* seen.)

Tags: Climate Progress, Joe Romm, Tom Toles, Climate change, Environment (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

RE: Misplaced Priorities

Before anyone comments that the hcr and FinReg bills DIDN'T save their targets, let me point out that even if they had, they would still be pointless if and when climate change comes to bear, costing trillions and wrecking livelihoods and maybe even lives.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-07-26 03:55PM | 0 recs
It's not Obama's job to save us from oursevles

Nate,

The current national interest in environmentalism is zero. If the BP disaster had not happened, it would be even less than that.

I am an environmental engineer. I dedicated my life to improving the environment one tiny iota at a time. I spent 60 weeks on unemployment because of that choice.

The water is going to have to be at peoples' doorsteps before there is any awakening. President Obama can do a lot of things for us, but he can't make people care.

It's in our nature to look to Government for the answer. But Government can't drag an unwilling public along. When there is an ounce of social activism, when marchers for cap and trade activists are facing firehoses and dogs, I'll turn to Washington, but until then, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

I can only hope that people change their minds, and Barack Obama can sneak enough legislation in under the radar to help.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-07-26 06:45PM | 0 recs
RE: It's not Obama's job to save us from oursevles

This seems to be one of the main points of contentions between those that blindly support Obama no matter what, and those that want to pressure Obama to try to do more:

Some of us think that Obama has the ability to change public opinion to some extent. The universe of what is possible does not hit upon an upper bound based on what public opinion is at in the absense of Obama/Dems trying to sway the public.

In fact, it's one of the main reasons why I voted for him (and worked on his campaign) instead of Hillary. He seemed to have the ability and the drive. He seemed to recognize the possibilities himself by some of the things he said, like his assertions that Reagan changed the views of the country and therefore had a more profound effect on the country than just his policies.

So I thought that that was exactly what Obama would try to do. Instead, he's following Bill Clinton's model of trying to stay in the middle, and even adopting some right-wing talking points and ideologies, giving them more credibility instead of trying to change the terms of the debate.

But people like you keep insisting that Obama is necessarily bound by where public opinion is at the start, before any forceful coordinated attempts to change the minds of the people. And therefore, by definition, whatever Obama does is the limit of what he could do and there's no point in Obama swinging for the fences.  

It seems to me that this is the core difference between most of those who "stand by their man" and those who are profoundly disappointed in the lost opportunities by this Administration.

by jeopardy 2010-07-29 02:49PM | 1 recs
RE: It's not Obama's job to save us from oursevles

Andrew Revkin at the NYT had a great piece about everything Obama could have done but didn't to muster support for a climate bill. It might not have worked, but we'll never know, he didn't even try. A couple White House meetings and a lackluster speech? Yawn.

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/22/with-no-obama-push-senate-punts-on-climate/

by Nathan Empsall 2010-07-29 03:00PM | 0 recs
RE: It's not Obama's job to save us from oursevles

I just want him to try. If he really tries to change the debate, but it doesn't work, then so be it. But try. Don't steal Boehner's talking points and give them the support of the president.

by jeopardy 2010-07-30 02:10PM | 1 recs
I can tell this is a signature issue for you.

but a good energy bill was never in the cards. A good one didn't even pass the House, a satisfactory one did, one that, while pumped more money into green technology, did not ween us of off fossil fuels.

Florida will be underwater before anyone even remotely cares. For me, this was always an important issue, but talking about it either leads to people being resentful that I'm suggesting they want to destroy the earth or being called a liberal tree hugger who wants to tax people. 

You're asking Americans to sacrifice, they never will. Even if we were able to pass a good energy bill in the lame duck session, it really wouldn't matter, it'd be repealed or replaced by more money to fossil fuels by 2013 or 2017. We're just not the country to lead this movement. 

by DTOzone 2010-07-26 11:27PM | 0 recs
I would have been sad

but I am not!

 

I didnt have any expectations.

by Ravi Verma 2010-07-26 04:15PM | 0 recs
All things considered

Oh, I'm sorry. The diarist has restricted what can be considered. Considering all that is allowed to be considered, and doing so while keeping in mind the overall goal of blaming Obama for every legislative failure (and every "less than ideal" legislative success), I'll have to agree. Given the constraints, I find it pointless to disagree.

I love these discussions, that is, if I'm allowed to.Otherwise, I have the emotional reaction to them within the prescribed limits.

by QTG 2010-07-26 04:22PM | 0 recs
RE: All things considered

Wrong side of the bed much?

by Nathan Empsall 2010-07-26 04:32PM | 0 recs
RE: Bed?
(Volatile Worlds, Vulnerable Bodies) Confronting Abrupt Climate Change

The abrupt climate change thesis suggests that climate passes through threshold transitions, after which change is sudden, runaway and unstoppable. This concurs with recent themes in complexity studies. Data from ice cores indicates that major shifts in global climate regimes have occurred in as little as a decade, and that for most of the span of human existence the climate has oscillated much more violently than it has over the last 10,000 years. This evidence presents enormous challenges for international climate change negotiation and regulation, which has thus far focused on gradual change. It is argued that existing social theoretic engagements with physical agency are insufficiently geared towards dissonant or disastrous physical events. Wagering on the past and future importance of abrupt climate change, the article explores a way of engaging with catastrophic climatic change that stresses the inherent volatility and unpredictability of earth process, and the no-less-inherent vulnerability of the human body. Drawing on Bataille and Derrida, it proposes a way of nestling the issue of environmental justice within a broader sense of immeasurable indebtedness to those humans who endured previous episodes of abrupt climate change, and considers the idea of experimentation and generosity without reserve.

http://tcs.sagepub.com/content/27/2-3/31.abstract

I wouldn't be surprised or disappointed if a Republican could read that and say something like Obama FAIL! While it doesn't surprise me when you do it, it does disappoint me. 

by QTG 2010-07-26 07:48PM | 0 recs
RE: Bed?

You clearly missed my point and we are talking past each other. The crack about getting up on the wrong side of the bed was not about climate change, but about your overreaction to my saying it would be off point for someone to interpret this post about health care and FinRegs instead of climate change. And since we're back on that topic, since you implied I blame Obama for every less than perfect legislative success, please find the posts where I have done so and point them out to me.

My only point with this post is that the issue that faces a tipping point should have come before those that don't.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-07-26 10:52PM | 0 recs
RE: Bed?

And regarding climate change itself, we are not 100% sure what causes it. It might be a sudden and normal shift requiring adaptation, that's one theory, but there are many theories, most of them focusing on methane and carbon levels, tipping points, and feedback loops. If the theories that say we can't stop it are correct but we try to stop it, no harm done. If the theories that say we can slow or curb it are correct and we don't even try, epic and deathly fail.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-07-26 10:58PM | 0 recs
If we really want to "save " the environment...

...make renewables cheaper than fossil fuels at the same time you are fighting the obscene amounts of money that fossile fuel is throwing out to keep themselves alive.  Some of the recent Coal ads make me sick to my stomach...yeeck.  They WILL NOT go down without a fight and, I honestly believe, they may try to take the "civilized" world down with them when they fall.  Really.  They are that slef-focused.  People with that mindset really are willing to cut off their nose to spite thier face.

Want a sniff of it, just look over cnbc.com.  They have us right where they want us for the moment, and the Govt reflects the will of the people...hence indescision, stalling, and cutting deals while running for the exit.

Right now we are really stupid...you would think the vision to go forward would be worth it alone...but the drive to go forward is only on how to make more profit.

by Hammer1001 2010-07-26 11:56PM | 0 recs
by Hammer1001 2010-07-26 11:57PM | 1 recs

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