The green trade press outlet “ClimateWire” has a story today (subscription required) about President Obama’s presumed new Chief of Staff, Peter Rouse, with some information useful to framing the debate.
“This is the second time Rouse will lead Obama’s team. In 2004, when he signed on as Obama’s Senate chief of staff, Rouse helped coordinate energy roundtables to get the rookie senator up to speed, one former Senate energy adviser said….
“He’s very green,” said Eric Washburn, who helped write the energy bill of 2002 as Daschle’s legislative director.”
Therefore it would seem that this is the guy who educated Obama enough on his erstwhile priority of cap-n-trade to be literate enough on the economics of the issue — and economic literacy is not Obama’s long suit — to admit to the San Francisco Chronicle the truth, and the point, of the enterprise.
That is important to keeping things alive in the discussion that, far from tacking centrist (which does not to this observer seem to be something he could pull off), Obama has for example tabbed as his new CoS the guy who coached him up on how cap-n-trade would cause “electricity rates [to] necessarily skyrocket”, “bankrupt” politically disfavored businesses, and “raise billions of dollars”.
The ClimateWire headline is “Emanuel’s replacement might calm the climate debate”.
This can only prove true, in practice, if the piecemeal approach announced by greens recently — to break the effort into what Obama described to Rolling Stone as “chunks”, building constituencies step by step to lobby for each next step critical to bringing their goodies to fruition — will be cast as moderation.
No change in the desires and the scheme except it is broken into smaller parts. And there are also enough Republican senators from, say, Tennessee eager to ‘do “something”‘ — not that anyone claims it would do anything, climatically, as is its ostensible purpose — but who were offended by the administration’s thousand-page effort and its ham-fisted approach to just trying to peel off a Lindsey Graham or one of the ladies from Maine.
That was their problem, if statements to the press this week, projecting what next year might look like, are any indication. They weren’t offended by the idea of an energy rationing scheme, designed to regulate out of existence a reliable energy source of which we have centuries worth of supply (“energy security”, anyone?), and which the Europeans say has been such a success and boon to their competitiveness that they’ll start a trade war against us if we don’t do it to ourselves, too. But what’s all that when confronting the tantalizing opportunity to say you ‘did “something”‘? I mean, then the enviro lobby will be nice to me…right?
With all of that said, here’s the Daily Beast on the same matter:
With his liberal-baiting chief of staff leaving, Obama could copy Clinton and govern from the center. Peter Beinart on why he’s more likely to revive his 2008 lefty mojo and bash the GOP.