Climate Change Bill: Disillusioned Environmentalists Turn on Obama as Compromiser

Is the bill, compromised as it is, better than nothing?

The Climate Bill has passed the House. It still must clear the Senate where the coal, gas and oil lobbyists hope to make still better for them. There are those who blame Obama for not spending more of his still considerable political capital on this. This permitted enough of the House Democrats to cave to the lobbyists to make the opening for the traditional polluters possible. As usual, the Republicans were with coal, oil, gas and nuclear from the start.

Getting the bill through the Senate is very tough because 60 votes are needed to beat the inevitable filibuster. The Democrats don’t really have 60 votes although they now have 60 seats. Due to illness, Democratic Senators Edward Kennedy and Robert Byrd are almost never there to vote.

One idea is that getting a bill on the books is a start. It can be strengthened later. Perhaps. This has happened with many other bills, but often as not Congress just moves on figuring they have dealt with that issue. There are so many more on their plate.

Story in the New York Times. Disillusioned Environmentalists Turn on Obama as Compromiser. By Leslie Kaufman.
Additional. Senate Democrats Begin Drawing Road Map to 60 Votes on Climate Bill. By Darren Samuelsohn of ClimateWire in the New York Times.






  1. relentless Avatar

    The President knows that the only way to effect real change is through compromise. You are correct that this is just a start. Look, I’d like to have a much tougher bill, but it would be dead in the water.

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Obama starts at the compromise, then works his way right from there. The bill exempts one of the most significant sources of emission pollution (Big Ag) – good political play, bad policy play. We thought Obama had the skill of oration enough to frame & galvanize public support behind bold moves that would marginalize corporate political obstructionists and move into ambitious solutions in fitting with the real scope of the problems. Instead, he has doused the flame that propelled him to office by legitimizing, hedging to the same old regressive political reactionaries before even sitting down with them to pound out the compromise – a move that secures those reactionary regressives have a more significant imprint on the policy than the coalition of progressives who ignited his ascent.

    The cynics told us so – he’s just another politician – “pragmatic” is the standard – the name of the game. Too bad, the contorted “pragmatism” with these industry chearleaders in the Republican party (& even the Blue Dogs amongst the Big ‘D’s) twisting & mutilating the goal-post of the term isn’t enough.

    His limp noodle speaches don’t inspire hope anymore – they don’t aspire. They solicit an almost apologetic justification for more of the same – he’s looking to be seen as competent in this wayward political context – that projects reverence for a system that has no room for his campaign of hope.

    I don’t buy the line that McCain, or any others, are forcing his hand with political obstruction of appointments or anything else. A leader with courage would put the light on it, could kill hold-over policy & rule with administrative direction that bypasses procedural obstruction & he could hold a press conference leaning on his strong-suit of populist rhetoric that puts the right people on guard. He could leverage too, and with his mastery of words sideline & expose individual obstructionists as the endemic flag-barers of the old-guard politik for the problem that they are & were when he was running, when he brought convincing repudiation of that old-guard at the polls. Instead, it’s as if his handlers have decided that campaign style to be a liability. Maybe it is – but then, who did we vote for ? What did we vote for ?

    Instead we get an impotent Climate Bill with a convincing display that he knows how to play their game so masterfully – that all that set him apart has become irrelevant. “Legitimacy” ?


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Ralph Maughan