Home Energy and Environment Obama’s About-Face & Ramified Pessimism

Obama’s About-Face & Ramified Pessimism


President Obama’s recent about-face on new national ozone standards demonstrates again how beholden he is to special interests, not the interests of the American people. One could even argue that President Obama is betting on winning over the “independent” vote by following through on such business friendly policies, let alone the business community itself. But it seems clear that the so-called independent American voter is a conservative wrapped in non-partisan political garb. President Obama has been unable to appease these individuals and it appears that whatever steps he takes, it won’t be enough to win over this bloc of voters.

The fact that President Obama caved in to the misleading rhetoric of big business leaders is as much a disappointment as it is a further confirmation of the myth that shrouds environmental protection and economic growth. Yes, in the short term environmental protections and regulations will cost serious capital for some businesses. But in the long run the returns will mostly outweigh the costs in financial terms. In human health terms, the gains will absolutely trump any costs that are incurred to clean up America’s business act.

Americans came to expect such short-sightedness and lack of political courage from the last U.S. president. Even though President Obama has been less than perfect in his environmental record, many liberals and progressives still hoped and believed that he would soon return to the proper course of policy action. Instead, the president has ensured that Americans will live with preposterously unhealthy air for at least another year. How many lives will be lost as a result? What value can possibly be placed on these losses?

The American dream of an economically prosperous utopia of individual freedom and benevolent consequences has become a cynical nightmare symbolized by severely damaged bodies of water, audacious levels of air pollution, continuous nonrenewable energy problems, broken unions, racism, and other forms of bigotry and parochialism. It is a country where Karl Rove has become a hero of the left relative to the Tea Party buffoons. A country where politicians like Rick Perry can even be seriously considered for the most powerful political position in the country. Not much seems right-side-up anymore, and the pessimism that follows may jade an entire generation of Americans, if not more. If so, who can begin to predict what the ramifications will be of an America wary of the future and self-conscious about its progress as a nation?

  • I’ve just got say, your use of the word “ramified” is extremely impressive! Did you get a perfect score on your SAT English section or what?!? 🙂

    As for the diary, I’m still digesting what happened yesterday with Obama’s announcement regarding EPA clean air regulations, but so far I haven’t been able to think of any upside to it whatsoever.  I mean, after what we’ve been seen the past 3 years, does ANYONE in the Obama Administration seriously believe they can win over the Republicans/Tea Partiers/etc., the ones who have said over and over and over that they want Obama TO FAIL?!?  If so, then they are beyond naive, into utter self-delusion.  More broadly, do they REALLY think that adopting nonsensical, heinous Republican framing and messaging (and values?) will help them in any way, let alone help the country?  I’m really at a loss right now, although I overwhelmingly believe that a President Perry would be far, FAR worse than Obama or any other Democrat (or even a few Republicans, like Jon Huntsman), and that we must work as if our lives depended on it to prevent that from ever becoming reality. Still…WTF?!?

  • See here:

    tighter ozone regulation would actually have created jobs: it would have forced firms to spend on upgrading or replacing equipment, helping to boost demand. Yes, it would have cost money – but that’s the point! And with corporations sitting on lots of idle cash, the money spent would not, to any significant extent, come at the expense of other investment.

    More broadly, if you’re going to do environmental investments – things that are worth doing even in flush times – it’s hard to think of a better time to do them than when the resources needed to make those investments would otherwise have been idle.

  • commentator1

    I think Obama knows he won’t get anywhere with this with the current balance of power. The House will just do their dirty trick of refusing to fund any enforcement. Obama  really has almost everything stacked against him.

    I am somewhat disturbed about how Obama is getting blamed for a lot of things over which he has no control. I think many people who supported him in the last election haven’t really come to terms with the fact that he has very little power with the climate in the House and the misused of the filibuster in the Senate (meaning he needs 60 votes for everything). Add to that the commitment of the opposition to make him fail.

    I am a little concerned that in some cases people want Obama to ‘make’ things happen, to somehow overpower the opposition. I keep hearing friends say he should fight, no specifics, just fight. I’m not sure whether that means call out the National Guard or do a lot of yelling. He has done plenty of yelling already (View the debt ceiling speeches he made the week prior to the July 25 speech). When he yells the pundits say “Who would want to work with him?” When he is not yelling they don’t want to work with him either.

    Sometimes I wonder if we became so accustomed to the way Bush walked over the other branches of government and the Constitution that now we want an all-powerful Democrat to do the same.  

  • kindler

    …the poverty of the WH communications operation is demonstrated by the fact that the WaPo, in yesterday’s headline story, had to revert to something akin to Kremlinology to try to interpret the meaning of this decision and what it reflects about the administration’s regulatory policy.

    In another context, a two year delay like this may have gone unnoticed. But this action at this time does continuing damage to Obama’s message — what is he trying to say, to whom, how and why?  Is he adopting Republican logic, making case by case decisions, giving up, what?

    As long as people are left scratching their heads about all of this, Obama will continue to drift dangerously lower in the polls.  We need a clear, powerful message for 2012, and then we need the White House to avoid stepping on it.  

  • kindler

    …slams the decision here — including calling it illegal. Wouldn’t be surprised to see an environmentalist lawsuit on this.