As the New York Times rather aptly put it last December when the White House announced that John Podesta, erstwhile Clinton White House chief of staff and former president of the uber-liberal Center for American Progress, would be returning to the White House for a stint as special adviser to Obama:
Many were delighted by John Podesta’s decision last week to join President Obama’s White House staff, none more so than the environmental community and the people in charge of the federal agencies that are most responsible for the environment. As counselor to the president, Mr. Podesta, who served as White House chief of staff during President Clinton’s last three years, will have a broad portfolio touching on the economy and congressional relations. But his biggest contribution will be to bring his passion on environmental and energy issues to a president who has to be constantly reminded of their importance.
Mr. Podesta’s appointment should further elevate the issue of climate change in the White House. That is something he cares deeply about.
Funnily enough, after several amassed green groups sent a frantically-worded letter to the president urging him to resist the recent calls to allow for more exports of natural gas to eventually blunt Russia’ energy dominance in Europe (in which they comically pretended that they give a hoot about the bogus issue of rising gas prices in order to soften their real concern about paving the way for more hydraulic fracturing), it was Podesta who had to tell them to calm down and listen to the words coming out of their own mouths.
White House adviser John Podesta took aim Wednesday at environmentalists who have criticized the Obama administration’s support for natural gas.
“If you oppose all fossil fuels and you want to turn that switch off tomorrow, that is a completely impractical way of moving toward a clean-energy future,” Podesta told reporters during a roundtable discussion at the White House.
“With all due respect to my friends in the environmental community, if they expect us to turn off the lights and go home, that’s sort of an impractical suggestion,” he added.
Podesta’s comments were in line with the administration’s long-running talking points, but they‘re likely to anger many in the liberal wing of the environmental movement, which has launched increasingly aggressive attacks against fracking and liquefied natural gas exports.
And they signal that the former president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress isn’t afraid to part ways his his former compatriots to make the case for the president’s climate agenda, a topic he said he spends about half his time working on.
I’d wager that Podesta, too, would eventually love to see fossil fuels all but eliminated, and perhaps he’s just keeping mum so as not to show any fissures in White House policy, but at least he can publicly recognize the ridiculous impracticality of these green groups’ energy-policy extremism and constant hyperventilation about imminent catastrophe that never quite seems to happen. It’s a great way to get people to not take you seriously, you know?