Bad news: Al Gore unhappy with Obama for dropping EPA's new smog standards

The inevitable follow-up to Friday’s news that even The One is willing to dump environmental regulations in the name of economic growth.

Dude, two words: Primary challenge.

Instead of relying on science, President Obama appears to have bowed to pressure from polluters who did not want to bear the cost of implementing new restrictions on their harmful pollution—even though economists have shown that the US economy would benefit from the job creating investments associated with implementing the new technology. The result of the White House’s action will be increased medical bills for seniors with lung disease, more children developing asthma, and the continued degradation of our air quality.

This isn’t the first time lately that he’s laid into Obama either. Remember this giant gassy emission of green piety published a few months ago in Rolling Stone? Quote:

But in spite of these and other achievements, President Obama has thus far failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change. After successfully passing his green stimulus package, he did nothing to defend it when Congress decimated its funding. After the House passed cap and trade, he did little to make passage in the Senate a priority. Senate advocates — including one Republican — felt abandoned when the president made concessions to oil and coal companies without asking for anything in return. He has also called for a massive expansion of oil drilling in the United States, apparently in an effort to defuse criticism from those who argue speciously that “drill, baby, drill” is the answer to our growing dependence on foreign oil…

Yet without presidential leadership that focuses intensely on making the public aware of the reality we face, nothing will change. The real power of any president, as Richard Neustadt wrote, is “the power to persuade.” Yet President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis. He has simply not made the case for action. He has not defended the science against the ongoing, withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community — including our own National Academy — to bring the reality of the science before the public.

Here is the core of it: we are destroying the climate balance that is essential to the survival of our civilization. This is not a distant or abstract threat; it is happening now. The United States is the only nation that can rally a global effort to save our future. And the president is the only person who can rally the United States.

I’m half-serious about the primary challenge idea. Why not? Gore’s obviously deeply pained that his pet issue has been given short shrift by the White House; nothing would do more to push climate change back on the national radar than a surprise presidential run by a former VP turned Democratic nominee turned Nobel winner. His old nemesis Ralph Nader’s already had the bright idea of recruiting a slate of single-issue leftist candidates to challenge Obama in the name of pulling him back towards the left on policy. Gore could do that singlehandedly on any number of things, starting with the climate and foreign policy and (more awkwardly, given his Clinton/NAFTA pedigree) eventually on the economy. He’d be a coalition-builder potentially, uniting progressives who are angry with The One for being too centrist and blue-collar Hillary fans who wish the party had nominated someone with more experience last time. The fear would be that a serious challenge would split the party, but Gore could defuse that somewhat by vowing in his announcement to support Obama enthusiastically if he wins the primary in the interest of defeating the barbarian wingnut hordes.

Yes? No? C’mon — even Dick Cheney’s looking for a Democrat to get in the ring. Excitement!

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