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.
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