The Widdershins

A confusing Monday…

Posted on: June 2, 2014

A wonderful Monday to everyone. For those tuning in and expecting the sage words of MB, she is traveling so I’ll be your guest host today. Since consistency is a virtue and the hobgoblin of small minds, I will be humbly serving a small portion of my virtuous mediocre today. As we say in the south, please sample with charity in your heart and minds.

Dancing Turtle

Have you ever seen a turtle do a happy dance? If not, today’s the day because this is the best day Mitch McConnell will have in his entire reelection campaign. In fact, this will be the day about which most red state politicians only dream.

Today the Obama Administration is unveiling regulations forcing existing power plants in the U.S. to curb the carbon emissions. Obama is using existing authority already embedded in the Clean Air Act. Quite ironically the Clean Air Act was the product of the Nixon Administration from an era where progressive policy wasn’t an anathema.

The proposed regulation, which must go through a public period of wailing and gnashing of teeth before being finalized, will set a national standard to reduce carbon emissions by 30% in 2030. It will offer states a panoply of options to achieve those cuts, from adding wind and solar power and energy-efficient technology to joining or creating state-level emissions trading programs called cap-and-trade.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. has a different take on the whole matter as do most Republicans especially those from coal-producing states. Wyoming is the nation’s top coal-producing state and Enzi said of the proposed regulation, “If it succeeds in death by regulation, we’ll all be paying a lot more money for electricity — if we can get it. Our pocketbook will be lighter, but our country will be darker.”

CO2 smokestackEnzi isn’t alone in his criticism. Every senator from a coal-producing state and every Senate candidate wanting to be a senator from a coal-producing state, whether democrat or republican, will be scrambling to the nearest microphone to decry this regulation as tyranny and executive overreach. For clown car chauffeurs in D.C., it will be a busy day.

From a policy standpoint, experts believe the regulation could lead to annual cuts of up to 500 million tons of carbon in the next decade and more than 1 billion tons of carbon annually in the following years. Expect Mitch McTurtle to introduce legislation as early as today to suffocate the Clean Air regulation before it draws its first breath.

This proposal is an election year is a Christmas present of immense proportions for Republicans. So with the Senate majority in the balance, why is Obama proposing it before the midterm election? As pitiful as it is to say, climate change regulation looks to be the domestic initiative of Obama’s second term by default. Gun safety, a jobs plan, overhauling the tax code, immigration reform, and a grand bargain on spending are essentially non-starters with this new brand of Tea Party conserva-NO-tism.

Obama is certainly employing his “leading from behind” strategy. He has commanded Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator, announce the proposal, while he boldly makes a phone call to the American Lung Association. A few hours later, he leaves for Europe where he will undoubtedly bask in the glow of being a “climate leader.”

Smoke Stacks

For the life of me this seems like little more than “box checking.” This regulation nationalizes this midterm election — the last thing senate candidates what to see happen. It looks as if Obama has: (A) Given up on the Senate; or (B) Hopes to change the subject from Obamacare with an even bigger anger-making issue; or (C) Doesn’t really care one way or the other; or (D) Is coming out of the closet as an undercover Republican; or (E) All of the above.

Climate change is too important an issue to be nonchalantly “box checked.” The problem is real, the stakes are enormous, but checking a box to meet the expectations fostered by a campaign promise is not leadership.

Perhaps I’m too thick to understand the three-dimensional chess about which the Obama fanboyz always breathlessly pant, but this half-baked strategy turns the Clean Air Act into the “Cleaning Obama’s Clock Act.” Unless this is window-dressing for this European trip, I just don’t get it.  Personally, I’m confused on this fine Monday.

Your thoughts? This is an open thread.






8 Responses to "A confusing Monday…"

I honestly believe that Obama would have been a Javitz Repub had he been born earlier.

@1 I agree Chat. The crazier the republicans become, the more socially moderate conservative people will drift over to the democrats, forced out by the republicans purists.

Hmmmm I am not sure this will hurt in the midterms as much as we may believe. In Florida green energy is moving forward as we in Gainesville reap the high cost benefits of Biomass. With a cap and trade we may be able to shed some of this cost to other utilities that do not have carbon neutral plants

We need a new Guv for that, Fuzzy,

I apologize for being beyond late to the party. I decided to upgrade my laptop to Win7 from Vista and between that and some intermittent internet outages, I’ve been hamstrung plus frustrated. Grrrr….

I have to say that like Prolix, I’m confused about the timing of this announcement. It certainly sounds like he wants to go ahead and give away the Senate majority.

Of course it could be a boon to the La economy since we’re producing tons of natural gas (of course through fracking), And in La, the main energy company generates most of its power with natural gas and some nuclear. The company says it only generates about 10% of its power from coal plants. Still it will be another thing for the Repubs in the state to complain about and see Mary Landrieu as the personification of Obama. You can’t convince them that in the national scheme Mary is hardly a “liberal” so it probably will affect her.

Still, one wonders if this might have been better timed in January 2015/

@6, Chat exactly. The regulation is going to take time to promulgate — waiting until January 2015 would have been politically smart IMO.

In today’s Lexington Herald, the largest paper in Kentucky in terms of circulation and reach, almost the entire front page was dedicated to the EPA proposed regulation — editorially, they support it. A big deal for Alison Grimes’ chances as well as over in the WV senate race as well. This proposal could flip the Senate.

This proposal could flip the Senate. True.

Exactly. And yes to chat’s statement.

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