Obama camp: Climate change is going to stay in the campaign's background

Earlier today, Mitt Romney released his solidly detailed plan for an American energy agenda — and it’s pretty much what I would call winner-winner-chicken-dinner. Opening up more land and offshore areas to drilling access, easing up on overzealous regulations, handing some of the responsibilities back to states, putting a stop to government “investments” in green venture capital; none of it’s likely to win Romney the support of the eco-alarmist crowd, but the economic impact for all Americans would be an intensely positive one.

President Obama, however, doesn’t have it quite so easy. The influential and well-financed environmental lobby, not to mention your run-of-the-mill, casually eco-trendy, self-fancied “green” voters, make up a solid portion of his base, and he can’t risk angering them with too many pro-drilling, pro-traditional energy platforms. But, on the other side of the coin, the traditional-energy industry is populated by employees who are well-unionized, and unionized crowds typically vote Democrat — unless, of course, the leader of the Democratic party is engaged in an active, albeit guarded, campaign to shut down your entire industry, as with President Obama’s war on coal (as much as the White House tries to deny they’re doing any such thing).

I’m sure it’s quite the conundrum for him, which is probably why Team Obama would rather we just not talk about climate change this time around and instead focus on… other issues.

A spokesman for President Obama’s reelection campaign suggested Thursday that climate change is unlikely to take center stage in the 2012 White House battle, noting that Obama’s contrast with GOP rival Mitt Romney is already apparent.

“Clearly [climate change] is something that is important to the administration, but right now we are obviously going to be focusing on jobs and the economy and talking about what our contrast is,” said Tom Reynolds. …

White House-backed cap-and-trade and energy legislation cleared the House in 2009 but sputtered thereafter. However, the Obama administration has moved ahead — albeit slower than many activists had hoped — with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) climate regulations.

Jobs and the economy? Really? ‘Cause it isn’t like you’ve been focused like a laser on avoiding an economic discussion, what with all of that talk about Romney’s tax returns and Republicans’ “extreme” abortion positions and class warmongering, or anything.

It is true that environmental concerns don’t tend to rate highly on people’s lists of priorities when they’re in the midst of economic hardship, but it is a bit awkward that Team Obama is going to try and stay mum on an issue that’s usually such a big rallying cry for the left (especially with those trendy youths whose optimism he wants to recapture so badly!). I think the White House thought they found a solution to this pickle with their “all of the above” energy approach, but the catchphrase has been wearing increasingly thin since its inception, and I doubt more meek calls for both “clean energy investment” and “safe resource development” are going to stand up to Mitt Romney’s energy plans.