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Obama pumped up for fight with energy industry

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Filed: Timeline

Nancy Pelosi says, legislation can be bipartisan without having any support from the other party.

It was a lot easier to get people to think about energy when gas cost $4 a gallon and the United States was in a shooting war in Iraq.

The Obama administration tried to keep interest up by talking about the threat of global warming as he pitched his cap-and-trade plan.

Obama's idea was that companies would have to buy permits to emit greenhouse gasses. Like his claim that spending $1 trillion on new health care entitlements would save money, it was always going to be a tough sell.

Plus, the president's push coincided with a cooling trend in the climate, a string of scandals in the global warming movement and an anemic economy.

When cap-and-trade legislation stalled in the Senate, Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to pursue the same goals through new regulations. The agency classified the carbon dioxide you exhale as a danger to human health -- like mercury and arsenic -- on the grounds that it causes global warming that eventually will kill people.

The rules were mostly intended to frighten lawmakers into accepting the president's cap-and-trade plan. The EPA wasn't really offering a carrot and a stick. More like a stick and a bigger stick.

But the Senate continued to balk, the administration relented a bit on the EPA rules. The White House would postpone implementation for at least a year, with the brunt of the crackdown pushed off until after the 2012 election.

Democrats from carbon states -- those that produce energy or have manufacturing economies -- rejoiced. They assured voters that global warming legislation was either dead or in a deep sleep.

Obama, though, is not one to let things lie.

Reducing carbon emissions is the second item on his checklist to remake America. And having succeeded in knocking over health care, he and his administration are back with renewed audacity.

Every argument against an unpopular initiative is now met with the same answer: "That's what they said about health care."

Obama has embraced a more pugilistic style of politics, taunting his opponents and getting into smack-talk showdowns with talk radio hosts. And he sees energy as a fitting fight.

The first step to revive global warming as an issue was to create an Obama-style consensus. That doesn't mean broad agreement, but achieving solidarity on the Left and in the press that Obama has made a sufficient show of reaching across the aisle and can be excused for steamrolling Republicans.

As Nancy Pelosi says, legislation can be bipartisan without having any support from the other party.

Last week, the president announced a new policy on offshore drilling.

It sounded like Obama was open to tapping the deep-water reserves off the U.S. coast. But as the details of the plans dribbled out, it became clear that it was a mirage.

The only ban Obama was lifting was the one he created.

In 2008, President George W. Bush opened 500 million acres to offshore oil and gas production. When he came into office, Obama closed those acres back down. Last week, he said 360 million would remain closed permanently and the rest could only open after years of additional study.

It would have been politically indefensible to keep all the Bush drilling areas off limits as gas prices rise this summer, so Obama needed to cover his hindquarters.

The White House hopes the move will also be a chance for faux outreach.

If you have any doubt where the president's intentions lie, consider what EPA Director Lisa Jackson was up to while everyone was talking about Obama's new drilling policy.

Jackson imposed what amounts to a blanket moratorium on new surface coal mines, reaffirmed a de facto ban on deep-well natural gas in the eastern United States and restarted the push for her administrative crackdown on "toxic" carbon dioxide.

There will be skirmishes over banking and perhaps some squabbling over immigration in the months ahead. But Obama has pointed his battering ram at the energy sector.

Those in the energy field who believe he will be dissuaded by dire warnings about rising costs and economic stagnation will be brushed aside. So will carbon-state Democrats who foretell political ruin.

Obama has taken them the same lesson from health care as he has from every experience in his career: He is a man of special gifts and those who doubt his genius don't deserve his attention.


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Country: Vietnam

i can see the insurance companies, energy companies, & banks flooding the republican campaign coffers in the next election cycle(s)

No. The insurance companies have been paying a lot to the Socialists for the past few election cycles now. They got what they wanted so they will have to pay them their due for years now. Their trough is going to be constantly full now with our tax dollars (well deficit dollars anyway) for years to come and should have no problem coming up with their paybacks. The banks the same as they have gotten a lot of our money for supposedly saving them. (bunch of crock) I see the energy companies is going to have to ante up now with their payoffs.

Edited by luckytxn

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