Quotes of the day

His high school teammates called the future president “Barry O’Bomber” for his proclivity for launching long-range jump shots, and tonight he took yet one more high-pressure shot from downtown. Nothing but net.

The timing of when you shoot a tre is important: the later they come in a game, the more they matter. Three-pointers are the dagger that can put the game away or bring a team back from the dead. Tonight’s speech was the latter…

Thus began what is now a familiar play. He hangs back, holds back, resists fully engaging. His supporters get nervous, then edgy, then panicky. And then he swoops in to save the day. It happened in the campaign, on health care, and now, can we dare to hope it’s happening on the BP disaster?

This has but one translation, and everyone who cares about energy and environmental policy should be paying attention because it’s a big ‘un: Barack Obama is not wedded to cap-and-trade and is setting things up so that if and when he signs into law something that is not cap-and-trade, nor something even possible to confuse with it, the big story will be “President gets groundbreaking energy bill,” and not “President fails to get legislation he’s been advocating for four straight years passed.”

Got that? The popular wisdom in Washington, DC, is firstly that the votes simply do not exist in the Senate to pass cap-and-trade. Secondly, the popular wisdom is that while it’s true that Democrats were emboldened by getting health care passed and signed into law, the time simply no longer exists on the congressional calendar for what could well be a knock-down, drag-out fight involving Senators up for re-election this year who don’t want attack ads targeting them on tax hikes via cap-and-trade to run. Both of these things are, in my view, true. But more importantly, the President’s weak tea speech suggests that some people in the White House think so, too– otherwise, you can bet the case would have been made overtly, and eloquently, for cap-and-trade. It wasn’t.