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Re: What Obama should say

I wanted to let the question stand on its own, but, for the record, here's my answer: I don't believe there's any alchemy Obama could use to turn 40-some votes for a carbon-pricing bill into 60. But the president's duties don't begin and end with passing legislation. If the best Obama can do is give an honest speech laying out his case and saying that, as president, it's his duty to level with the American people about the long-term dangers of fossil-fuel addiction, that no one wants energy taxes and he doesn't want to be asking for them, but that we're courting a disaster that will make the BP spill look like a small puddle and, at the least, we need to think hard about playing it safe here, then what's the worst that could happen?

There must be a way to argue for the issue without setting up a contest to get 60 votes. If there isn't, it means that presidents can never make priorities out of issues that have only 42 votes, and that's plainly absurd. So that, in sum, is what I think Obama's job is now: Not to get 60 votes before midterm election, but to make the best possible case before the American people. And if Obama gives his big speech and tries to lay out the stakes clearly and he still fails, well, at least history will judge him well.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 15, 2010; 2:50 PM ET
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Comments

" but to make the best possible case before the American people. And if Obama gives his big speech and tries to lay out the stakes clearly and he still fails, well, at least history will judge him well."


what more can the man do??

general petraeus fainted today, in the midst of a hearing.
millions of people are engaged in a personal commentary with barack obama right now, every single one of us with a theory, a bitter complaint, advice on how he should be feeling, responding, thinking, acting.
we forget, i think, he is just a human being. just like general petraeus.
for anyone who thinks he is disengaged, the man's hair has turned grey, virtually overnight.
many of us have difficulty dealing with the daily decisions in our own lives....imagine what it is to be president obama, during the past year and a half.
i believe that he is genuinely doing his best.
i dont believe that about all or even many people.
but i truly believe it about him.
he will lay out his case, and do the best that he can.
i believe him to be a man of excellent intent....
and doing the best that he knows how to do, is all that we can ask of him.
once again, may he be blessed in words and thoughts and right action, and may the response that follows, take us to a better place.
:-)

Posted by: jkaren | June 15, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"But the president's duties don't begin and end with passing legislation."

Note to Ezra: They don't even START with 'passing' leglislation. the job of the president is executive and he implements the will of Congress.*

*Unless of course you're a Manchurian President and wish to turn the US into a European hellhole.

Posted by: WrongfulDeath | June 15, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Petraeus's collapse is a message from God that our wars need to end.

The Gulf Gusher is a message from God that our energy and climate habits need to end.

The still unexplained stock crash a few weeks ago is a message from God that our greed has to end.

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 15, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

God is Bernie Sanders?

ZOMBS!

Posted by: roquelaure_79 | June 15, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"Petraeus's collapse is a message from God that our wars need to end.

The Gulf Gusher is a message from God that our energy and climate habits need to end.

The still unexplained stock crash a few weeks ago is a message from God that our greed has to end."

Posted by: Lomillialor


:-)
is anyone listening??

Posted by: jkaren | June 15, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@Lom: "Petraeus's collapse is a message from God that our wars need to end. The Gulf Gusher is a message from God that our energy and climate habits need to end. The still unexplained stock crash a few weeks ago is a message from God that our greed has to end."

Then I think it's pretty clear we're never going to get the message.

What could work is an old fashioned worldwide flood. Or a little more Sodom and Gomorra complete wholesale destruction, plus people being turned into pillars of salt for emphasis.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 15, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

You know, God could clear this confusion up a ton if it just popped down here and said, "Uh, dudes? I'm not down so much with the wars, especially if you're tagging my name on it. Also, you can do whatever you want to the Earth, but it'd probably be smart if you took a little better care of it, unless you guys have space ships I don't know about. Also, I'm cool with the gays."

Posted by: MosBen | June 15, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

" but to make the best possible case before the American people. And if Obama gives his big speech and tries to lay out the stakes clearly and he still fails, well, at least history will judge him well."

Time to lower expectations.

15 minute speech, trying to hit a lot of notes about the immediate effort to manage the crisis, and probably only the most vague outline of the need for new energy policy:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/16/us/politics/16obama.html

I have become pessimistic about much new momentum behind an energy bill in an election year, and I am now more interested in what he will say about federal investments in the clean-up and restoration of the Gulf and the coastal wetlands.

Posted by: Patrick_M | June 15, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

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