It was hard not to chuckle when I learned that blooper-prone Vice President Joe Biden, thinking he was out of earshot of the cameras when President Obama signed the heath-care legislation today, told the prez: "This is a big f–king deal!"
But crying is more in order if you listen to what Obama said at the bill-signing in remarks about what's next. Why? Because it ain't climate legislation. Here's what our surpreme commander had to say about how he's going to use the health-care win to push Congress on other fronts (italics are mine):
"We all know our journey is far from over. There’s still the work to do to rebuild this economy. There’s still work to do to spur on hiring. There’s work to do to improve our schools and make sure every child has a decent education. There’s still work to do to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. There’s more work to do to provide greater economic security to a middle class that has been struggling for a decade."
Notice the emphasis not on what would surely be a hard fight to pass climate legislation, but rather on something (almost) everyone can agree on: Escaping this precipice where countries that hate America control something so vital to our well-being.
No, Obama doesn't risk offending anyone with that sentiment.
Here's how the situation was sized up in a note to clients and other contacts by Capitol Hill veteran Frank Maisano of the lobbying firm Bracewell & Giuliani (yes, that Giuliani!), whose clients include a number in the energy business:
"The process used by Democrats (to pass helath care) will make things increasingly difficult for energy/climate issues according to most analyses…
"As for specific energy issues, there is much discussion of different strategies including the continuing Kerry, Graham, Lieberman (KGL) process, a scaled-back energy-only process and perhaps even a fade to black on climate because of the testiness of the health care procedure/debate."
So, as for prospects for legislation to what's shaping up as the biggest longterm threat to our civilization: Pretty soon we can probably apply that same four-letter Anglo-Saxon curse employed by Biden, replacing his "-ing" with our "-ed."
— Robert McClure