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Of all the agendas that will be addressed in the next two years, the environmental one has the potential to be the most contentious. The Obama administration, despite all evidence to the contrary that it doesn’t work, will continue to pursue “green jobs” and some sort of tax on fossil fuels.
It won’t matter that Spain lost over two jobs for every one created in its now-abandoned march towards green energy. Nor will it matter that anything resembling cap and trade will impose huge cost increases for energy on Americans already struggling to make ends meet. Like health care and immigration, this will be yet another attempt to put more of the private sector under the control of the federal government.
The reason it will be so contentious is that this administration has already demonstrated its willingness to bypass Congress completely and allow the Environmental Protection Agency to implement policy. And that’s when Democrats had a majority in both houses.
Thus, Barack Obama has already indicated that he will test the limits of executive power and allow the EPA to both write and enforce rules both entities consider necessary to “save the planet.” Whether Republicans in Congress can stop that from happening is unclear (legislation disallowing the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide is a possibility), but the bet here is the same kind of lawsuits being filed by individual state Attorney Generals with regard to the health care bill’s individual insurance mandate will be filed against a “capricious” EPA using “now-discredited” global warming science to implement its agenda.
All of the above reveals much about the president’s take on the issues. But far more telling is the president’s abrupt change of tone in the space of eight days. The president’s current desire, as evidenced by Wednesday’s speech, is to have “an honest and civil debate about the choices that we face.” That is markedly different from something he said in a radio interview with Univision last week. In an attempt to rally his Latino supporters, the president offered this:
“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies, and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us’–if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election–then I think it’s going to be harder. And that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2nd.”
The key word there is “enemies,” and Mr. Obama knows it was the wrong thing to say. “I probably should have used the word ‘opponents’ instead of ‘enemies,'” offered Mr. Obama on another radio interview this week. The key word here? “Probably.”
Both words reveal much. “Enemies” reveals the mindset of a man who, despite all the talk of being a post-partisan, post-racial president, may be the most divisive Chief Executive this nation has ever elected. As columnist Charles Krauthammer so brilliantly pointed out, “This from a president who won’t even use ‘enemies’ to describe an Iranian regime that is helping kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.”
But the word “probably” may be even more damning. It probably wasn’t a good idea to refer to Americans who disagree with your agenda as enemies, Mr. President? How about “definitely” or “unequivocally”–followed by a sincere apology?
There will be no apology. Nor is there likely to be much notice given to the hypocrisy of a president who is suddenly “eager to hear good ideas wherever they come from, whoever proposes them”–enemies included, presumably.
Is he really eager to do this? Mr. Obama may have provided the answer during Wednesday’s speech when he suggested that he saw no reason to “spend the next two years re-fighting the political battles of the last two.” Those would be the two years in which Democrats went from ruling the roost in Washington, D.C. to a 62-seat loss in the House, a 6-seat loss in the Senate, and a Republican takeover of several state legislatures and governorships around the nation. All of which amply demonstrates that, despite the president’s dismissal of such an idea, the electorate is more than willing to “re-fight” those battles.
Barack Obama is not Bill Clinton. He is a man thoroughly convinced that the overt disaffection demonstrated by voters is nothing more than “people …frustrated…with the pace of the economic recovery.” These are the same Americans Mr. Obama previously characterized as people who “cling” to guns, religion, and anti-immigrant sentiments, people who are “hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared.” The Republican party is one which can “come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”
Are those the words of a man looking to move towards the center? Hardly. Mr. Obama will double down on double down.
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