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Don’t Go All Wobbly on Us George!

A few days back Peter related a private conversation that a skeptical liberal of some promience held with Bush recently at the White House. As I understand it, Bush told this person that one of the things he had changed his mind about was the environment, though no further details were forthcoming. Rumors are starting to swirl around Washington that Bush is soon going to do something large and dramatic "to take global warming off the table" as an issue in the 2008 presidential election, though why he would want to do this is beyond me, unless he supposes this will prevent Al Gore from running, and thereby deliver the nomination to Hillary, who will be easy to beat in November. (So goes the conventional wisdom on Hillary, even among many Democrats.) Is it all another Rove plot?

Comes now this report from Mike Allen in Time, with this tantalizing tidbit:

Previewing the final quarter of Bush’s presidency, officials disclosed to TIME that the Administration is formulating a huge energy initiative designed to "change the whole nature of the discussion" and challenge the G.O.P., Democrats, the oil and electricity industries, and environmentalists. An adviser said Bush’s views about global warming have evolved. "Only Nixon could go to China, and only Bush and Cheney--two oilmen--can bring all these parties kicking and screaming to the table," the adviser said.

Discussions - 21 Comments

Oh, nothing he would do at this point would surprise me. Just like his daddy, he seeks to "do good." Neither of them seem to consider unintended consequences.

Well, after spending so much additional money and swelling the size of the federal government, perhaps he is going to make a promise to spend as much money it takes to "end global warming as we know it."

Although this is pretty late in coming (wasn’t there an energy bill already?), I’ll be interested to see what it holds...but I’m not holding my breath for anything meaningful. My guess is that there is a high probability that it’ll be a lot of words, and a lot of money, swirling around very little substance, hence the remark above about this ""take[ing] global warming off the table" as an issue in the 2008 presidential election".

Steve, it isn’t just the environment that he is going "wobbly" on. The relentless criticism has battered him, and he has a nature that prevents him from getting out there and articulating his case, his policies, persuasively, powerfully, compellingly. He lacks passion for the job, or if he has the passion, it’s well concealed. Thus, we have before us an executive branch without Hamilton’s desired "energy." During a war effort that lack of energy and passion will play havoc with poll numbers. That’s what we’re seeing. And instead of getting out there and making his case, his staff conjures gimmicks designed to garner better poll numbers.

We see again in this thread a prideful rejection of the idea that on the merits and on the politics Republicans would do well to take certain environmental issues seriously -- above all, taking real steps away from petroleum dependence. The foreign policy arguments are alone compelling to me.

Rumors are starting to swirl around Washington that Bush is soon going to do something large and dramatic "to take global warming off the table..."

Didn’t Bush take McCain’s Campaign Finance Reform issue "off the table" by signing that hideous piece of crap?

Hey, Dubya, howabout takin’ Iran off the frickin’ table? Good grief, all liberals gotta do is bitch loud enough enough and conservative bow on bended knee and eat their blessed crap. I’m so damn tired of this s...

OK, Steve, let’s say you are right. What do you think can be usefully done at the Federal level to "take environmental issues seriously?" Just interested (seeing as how Kyoto pretty much folded on its own...they can’t blame Bush for THEIR failure to comply, after all).

dain - For starters, keep gasoline prices high. The dread word is higher excise taxes.

Second, promote nuclear power.

Third, recosider what can be done about global warming, with the assumption that it is a real problem. Forget "Kyoto."

Wait, there is an environment? I thought there were only undeveloped stores of capital?

Steve...nuclear power! The econuts would go...nuts! Even if you copied the French (standardized every plant), the environmental lobby would (probably successfully) block this.

Higher gas prices? And the brave politicians who crank up the taxes to the necessary level to deter consumption (probably require a buck or more) do you propose they stay in office long enough to get the job done?

On nuclear power, there’s been some softening among environmental advocates. There is no single environmental lobby.

On gas prices, yes, there has been a populist outcry, but it is the job of leaders to get us from here to there. (Yes, I know: how quaint.) I also know this is a particularly bad time for bipartisan truth-telling.

I don’t agree with your buck or more, and I don’t know what "deter consumption" means. Present price levels (around $3) will accomplish a lot through steady adjustments in the maketplace. Change of course takes time. The Bush administration could start by repealing Cheney’s aphorisms about conservation.

Concerning gas taxes:

I read somewhere a couple of months ago that someone proposed that the government ought to tax gas enough to pay for its expenses in protecting oil production and the like. This would include military presence in the Gulf, paying corrupt regimes, etc. (but would not include Iraq I suppose). Since Americans do not see the real cost of gas (in terms of total cost) when they buy it, it leads to overconsumption, and results in the externality that the government has to pay more than it otherwise would.

I’d like to see windfarms dotting Cape Cod. And maybe the Hamptons, too.

I’m with louie.

dain - Me too.

He should embark on the construction of about 150 coal to oil facilities. And within a few years, America would become an oil exporter. Just think of the strategic implications if we were supplying Japan with all of it’s petroleum needs. If Britain and Australia, as well as Brazil were being supplied by us, instead of OPEC.

What all of the OPEC countries are to crude, the United States alone is to coal. And we have the technology, NOW, not tomorrow, but right now, to take that coal and to turn it into refined product. And we can do it cleanly. There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t undercut the House of Al Saud, and their friends in OPEC. We could easily deprive the Arab/Persian powers of about 500 billion in windfall petro profits, per annum.

And that’s a STRATEGIC objective, as well as an economic. Just imagine the boon to our stock markets and economy by providing all of our energy needs on our own. Just imagine the numbers of jobs created in the coal industry, the railroads, construction, the enhancements needed for our energy infrastructure. This should have commenced immediately after 9/11. This isn’t some hydrogen program, where all the technical details are yet to be worked out, and may not be thrashed out ten years hence. The know how for this exists now, and should be exploited now.

Such inaction by the Bush administration, in a time of war, when our enemy is WHOLLY RELIANT upon profits from crude, damns his stewardship of this country’s security. Absolutely damns it. And this is a guy with insight into the Oil industry. I confess myself perplexed by their passivity, irritated by their half-measures, appalled by their communicative bumblings and fumblings, insulted by the repeated insults they’ve delivered the English language, and thoroughly angered by their earnest courtship of powers profoundly hostile to the American experiment in ordered liberty.

LBJ, and now GWB. I think it’s going to be an awful long time before this nation ever turns to a Texan for national leadership again.

Yes, I know he’s been under withering attack for quite some time. But part of that avalanche of criticism is due to the fact that he didn’t immediately respond to it. He allowed it to get thoroughly out of hand, instead of responding sharply, with facts and logic, and where called for, with outrage and scorn. His passivity has allowed this hothouse of fevered criticism. And now, we have a good chunk of ordinary Americans subscribing to one weird and whifty conspiracy theory after another.

No argument from me, Dan. The great communicator he ain’t, although if you see him in person, without the "deer in the headlights" thing going on, he’s pretty articulate. I think the idea about coal-to-oil is IS high time some of these politicians got off their collective duffs and did something to help the country. Most days I feel that I might as well take my tax dollars and flush them down the real border security, no real plan in Iraq or on the GWOT, no industrial policy to protect our industry, no energy policy to wean us from oil dependency. I don’t blame Bush alone for this...neither party has provided real leadership for a very long time.

Dain, you said, regarding Bush, "...if you see him in person, without the ’deer in the headlights’ thing going on, he’s pretty articulate."

Were you serious?

Yep. He has a personable and relaxed manner in townhall-like events that don’t require a lot of looking into the camera. You wouldn’t believe it unless you’ve seen it...and I have.

I’ve seen plenty of him when he appears "personable and relaxed," but how does that equal "articulate"?

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