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FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

How to Kill a Crazy Idea Your Base Demands Your Support On.

It seemed last week that President Obama woke up with a problem. It wasn’t in Iran, it wasn’t in Iraq and it wasn’t anything that recently happened among his pals in Chicago. President Obama’s problem seems to be that his friends on the leftward fringe of his party have hijacked a piece of environmental legislation and turned it into a stalking-horse for the radical overregulation of the economy.

This leaves the president in a serious quandary. How can he make The Waxman-Markey Anti-Global Warming bills vanish to the same place that the warming trend it’s intended to combat now resides? Perhaps the recent NOAA report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, is one of his most brilliant jujitsu moves since he took down the Clinton’s after last year’s South Carolina Primary.

He has released a report that “favors” Global Warming Science in such a ridiculous fashion that the American people are now laughing at it. Perhaps this is exactly what President Obama wanted to see happen to a terrible idea he can’t politically afford to openly oppose.

The report comes at a time when the economy has taken on water and listed badly for the past two years. The Democratic polling firm Greenberg, Quinlan, and Rosner, has released a memo advising President Obama of the following bad news.

Americans are not yet engaged in the issue and are susceptible to the
argument that the progressive proposal amounts to a big energy tax. And the
language that clean energy advocates use is often confusing or meaningless to the public.

More explicitly, the memorandum offered President Obama the following advice regarding his energy policies.

Use global warming only as a supporting story, not as the primary frame. Awareness about global warming is broad, and some in the public are
seriously concerned about it. But almost no one in our groups expressed
such concern; for most voters, global warming is not significant enough on
its own to drive support for major energy reform.

A less diplomatic interpretation of this would be that Al Gore only scares people when he threatens to run for office again. Global Warming is no longer a boogey-man most of America willingly dances to. Like Nuclear Winter and the China Syndrome before, this is an environmental scare story that no longer has enough power to herd the ignorant sheeple into their intended regulatory pen.

The memo continues to deliver the President bad but timely news that he needs to react to.

Drop “cap and trade”; replace it with “clean energy incentives.” “Cap and trade” is worse than meaningless to voters: it actually conjures up a range of
negative images.

That was about as blunt and honest as a paid lackey will ever get. “Cap and Trade” is to the current energy debate what “The Central Scrutinizer” was to public perceptions of Al Gore’s wife, Tipper. As Barack Obama attempts to argue that he wants to regulate with a “Light Touch”, the entire Cap and Trade proposal reminds people of Sarbanes Oxley.

Finally, the memo touches on the exogenous factors that make Cap and Trade a harder sell and a potential political detriment to the Democratic Party.

Drop “green” and “government investment.”“Green” is meaningless or
confusing—the term “clean” resonates with voters. And in the wake of the
bailouts and growing deficits, voters are not responsive to government
“investment”…

As the American people wake up from their 2008 delusion and wonder how close we are really getting to becoming a command and control economy, the rhetoric supporting Cap and Trade sounds increasingly like the rhetoric supporting the GM and Chrysler nationalizations. I think the memo meant to imply that voters are very responsive to “government investment.” The term makes them want to grab pitchforks, matches and accelerants.

Thus, Barack Obama has a base constituency to which he promised the moon. He took their donations and rode high on their support. He made use of these people to a fare-thee-well. Now, at the worst moment possible, they demand political remuneration.

The Waxman-Markey Act would reduce US GDP by $9.6Tr by 2035. It would also drive energy costs through the budget lines of many middle class Americans. Paul Driessen of Investors Business daily lays out the expected annual costs to American families.

Compared to no cap-and-tax regime, Waxman-Markey would cost the United States a cumulative $9.6 trillion in real GDP losses by 2035, concludes a study by the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. The bill would also cause an additional 1.1 million job losses each year, raise electricity rates 90% after adjusting for inflation, provoke a 74% hike in inflation-adjusted gasoline prices, and add $1,500 to the average family’s annual energy bill, says Heritage.

The Congressional Budget Office says the poorest one-fifth of families could see annual energy costs rise $700 — while high-income families could see costs rise $2,200. Harvard economist Martin Feldstein estimates that the average person could pay an extra $1,500 per year for energy. And those are just direct energy costs.

Inflicting this sort of negative externality on every family in America could awaken the mob. Democrats could lose like they lost in 1994 over this disastrous bill. Yet President Obama cannot disown a large and wealthy block of his own political base.

To solve this conundrum, Barack Obama remembers well the contempt these people feel for the intellect of the average American. He allows them to write up any stupidity, any exaggeration, any lie they felt fit to print. He gets Jim Hansen to walk all the way to the tip of the limb. Then, gravity takes over, “The Denialists” butcher the report for the propaganda exercise that it is, and President Obama washes his hands of the entire fiasco.

If this has been Barack Obama’s devious intent, I’m happier with the man than at any previous point in his presidency. If he just set Benjamin Santor, Alan Robuck and the rest of Al Gore’s Climatistas up to display their rabid enstupidation, in a publically irredeemable fashion, than a righteous wind blows at our President’s back, and no Beano is required to prevent recurrences of the breeze.

If Barack Obama wanted environmental sadism to diminish at least until the economy somewhat revives, he has done well by every American. This, finally, is change we can all believe in.

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