Obama's climate change czar leaving White House

This’ll be spun as part of the standard midterm turnover inside the administration, but the big difference between her and people like Axelrod and Gibbs is that they’ll be replaced. She might not be, for the simple reason that her portfolio is all but dead in the new Congress.

Which is to say, it’s not so much that she’s quitting. It’s that you fired her.

Ms. Browner had been viewed as a close adviser to Mr. Obama in the White House. A veteran who was administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Clinton, her name was floated as a possible candidate for a deputy chief of staff when Rahm Emanuel departed to run for mayor of Chicago…

In a news conference just days after the November elections, Mr. Obama all but conceded defeat on his efforts — led by Ms. Browner — to get a comprehensive energy bill through the Congress.

“I think there are a lot of Republicans that ran against the energy bill that passed in the House last year and so it’s doubtful that you could get the votes to pass that through the House this year or next year or the year after,” Mr. Obama said.

Politico says she’s likely to stay in D.C.; given that lobbyists are already angling to praise her, I can guess what she’ll end up doing. Indeed, the boss emeritus has already cooked up some special “praise” of her own:

An increasing number of Democrats have raised their voices against Browner’s War on Carbon.

She infamously bullied auto execs to never put down anything in writing ever.

Obama’s own oil spill commission singled out Browner for misleading the public and “contributing to the perception that the government’s findings were more exact than they actually were.”

And her BP data doctoring was under fire by both Senate and House Republicans.

The GOP must not let her slip out the door quietly without answering for her abuse of power under oath and in the full light of public hearings.

Darrell Issa needs to pick his spots in investigating the administration so that the public doesn’t see it as heavy-handed. Which means Browner, who’s out the door and likely to take her duties with her, will probably be off scot free. Bummer. Exit question: Is this the grimmest news of the day on the Hill for greens? Maybe not!

Update: Sounds like Waffles is in for a major disappointment:

President Obama is likely to announce “major initiatives” on energy and climate change in his State of the Union address, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Monday.

Kerry, the informal leader of the Senate effort to pass legislation to rein in global warming, encouraged the president to announce ambitious plans on energy and climate policy during Tuesday’s speech, and said he expected Obama to do so.

“I hope that the president tomorrow, in his SOTU address, will embrace major initiatives — I expect him to,” Kerry said on WBUR radio in reference to energy and climate legislation.

Just spitballing: Is the new GOP House the only reason Browner’s out? Or is this Obama and Daley once again wanting to signal to business that the next two years will be easier than the last two were?

Update: A detail I’d missed earlier: Fred Upton, the new GOP chair of the House Energy and Commerce committee, had suggested recently that he planned to investigate Browner’s authority.