While President Obama has kept to the White House over the past couple of days, his surrogates are still out and about doing some of the heavy lifting for his campaign. Former President Bill Clinton was stumping for Obama in Ohio yesterday, and today he made the rounds in Minnesota (yes, that’s right — Minnesota. Oh, how the tables have turned!)
The president himself and Team Romney have been scrupulously avoiding making a ‘political issue’ out of the human tragedy that comes with a hurricane as massively destructive as Sandy, but for some surely unfathomable reason, President Clinton apparently felt that now was the opportune moment to suggest to rally-goers that President Obama’s policies will ostensibly be better for combating climate change (distinctly odd, seeing as how the Obama campaign made it clear awhile back that they had no intention of making climate change into a campaign issue). Via BuzzFeed:
I was actually listening closely to what the candidates said in these debates. In the first debate, the triumph of the moderate Mitt Romney. You remember what he did? He ridiculed the president. Ridiculed the president for his efforts to fight global warming in economically beneficial ways. He said, ‘Oh, you’re going to turn back the seas.’ In my part of America, we would like it if someone could’ve done that yesterday. … In the real world, Barack Obama’s policies work better.
Well, firstly, Clinton couldn’t have been paying that much attention, since it was actually at the Republican National Convention that Romney made those remarks, and meanwhile the greens have been in high dudgeon about climate change warranting nary a mention during the presidential debates. Womp.
Secondly, where is this marvelous evidence that Barack Obama’s policies would, in fact, be better for the planet? How is running up the federal deficit in the name of propping up politically-favored pet projects, diverting otherwise useful resources, making us all poorer with “necessarily skyrocketing” energy prices, and generally awful economic policies somehow good for the earth? Environmental concern is something of a luxury good: People are less willing to buy it when they’re in a recession. Wealthier societies are environmentally healthier societies, and a rundown, socialized economy isn’t going to produce the innovation and efficiency that will actually help us to lessen our carbon footprint. For instance, it isn’t because of the vastly-subsidized solar and wind industries that we’ve recently seen drops in our carbon emissions; it’s because of developments in natural gas.
Also, I’m not sure Clinton’s climate-change appeal in Sandy’s aftermath was all that wise, on multiple levels. You might think climate change would be safe territory for revving up the Democratic base, but there are a couple of caveats: One, the really hardcore greenies have been less-than-pleased that Obama has slowly backed away from being a vocal champion of global warming activism, although I suppose in their eyes he would still be better than Mitt Romney. Two, it looks like voters in this election are more concerned with energy policy than they are with environmental policy specifically, and it’s lately become all too apparent — especially to those clutch voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, etcetera — that Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy, isn’t.