Obama Energy Speech Is Desperate Attempt to Build Legacy
It was like a fading rock star resorting to a greatest hits tour – President Obama on a college campus to rail against climate change and propose even more regulation and spending that will destroy industries and jobs.
The president’s speech, delivered to outline plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, was really another stop on the Obama legacy tour. In Berlin last week, he was the international peacemaker determined to cut nuclear weapons. On Tuesday in Washington, he covered the domestic audience in a repeat of his apocalyptic prediction of the end of the earth.
The speech was a cynical and irrelevant event designed to rally his left-wing base and support fundraising by loyal environmentalists. In the midst of widespread unrest over data surveillance and the administration’s inability to corral a third-rate government contractor who stole and divulged security secrets, the president returned to a favorite theme. It was time for a pep talk.
The speech could be dismissed if it were not for its fundamental threat to domestic energy production and millions of jobs. Most prominent is his determination to destroy the coal industry, a crusade he has pursued since his first days as a national candidate.
Lest there be any confusion, a White House energy advisor said he hoped the presidential speech would mark a turning point in the national debate on climate change.
“Everybody is waiting for action,” he said. “The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they are having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”
The president really made only one piece of news, an ominous comment about the proposal to build the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. He stipulated that the pipeline should be built only if it does not have a major climate impact.
“And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” Obama said. “The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward.”
In other words, it is unlikely that he will approve the project. The President has delayed the Keystone pipeline decision for months, first until after last year’s presidential election, and now for even more study. To environmentalists, delay is victory.
As usual, the president plans to bypass Congress and rely on the Environmental Protection Agency to curtail emissions. There will be more taxes and more spending as industries collapse and jobs are lost.
Congressional reaction was swift as opponents lodged familiar complaints against the President’s unilateral pronouncement on national energy policy. House Speaker John Boehner was quick to respond.
“These policies, rejected even by the last Democratic-controlled Congress, will shutter power plants, destroy good-paying American jobs and raise electricity bills for families that can scarcely afford it,” Boehner said.
Obama’s speech will make obligatory headlines, but for the most part, it is an old story of big government dictates that defy the will of the people. Now that the president has covered his energy base, on Wednesday he can board Air Force One for an eight-day foreign trip. Business as usual.
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.