From the day Barack Obama was elected, the opposition party pledged themselves to thwart his every step. And given that Obama has proven to be a rather ineffective president, it could be said that the pledge worked like a charm. But what the division has brought about is a government that simply cannot get it done and on the international front it must make this country look like living proof that democracy won’t work.
The upcoming international meeting on climate change in Paris is an interesting case in point. Take the following snippet from a recent opinion piece on the internet:
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is trying to negotiate a legacy-making climate change pact this coming week in Paris with one hand tied behind his back. Congress can’t even agree whether global warming is real.
Scientists point to the global agreement, years in the making, as the last, best hope for averting the worst effects of global warming. Obama has spent months prodding other countries to make ambitious carbon-cutting pledges to the agreement, which he hopes will become the framework for countries to tackle the climate issue long beyond the end of his presidency in early 2017.
But Republicans have tried to undermine the president by sowing uncertainty about whether the U.S. will make good on its promises. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other GOP leaders have warned other countries not to trust any deal Obama may strike; other GOP allies are working to nullify Obama’s emissions-cutting steps at home.
What this means is that while the rest of the world knows that climate change is caused in large part by human activity and that this activity must be changed soon or the planet faces irreversible damage, the Republicans in Congress are tied to their pledge to oppose every step the president takes and, tied as they are to Big Business and Big Oil, are determined to scuttle any possible agreement the meetings might produce. America will be seen by the rest of the world as a chicken without its head, fluttering about aimlessly and blind to the obvious facts that everyone else has come to accept. And this fluttering chicken threatens us all. The bottom line is the Republicans don’t want to take any steps that might “cost jobs” in spite of the fat that global warming could be reduced simply by committing this country to alternative, clean energy — which would produce thousands of jobs and save the planet at the same time.
Sitting on the sidelines as we do, it is clear that the machine of government is horribly broken. If Obama were a stronger president who knew how to wield the power his office potentially holds, perhaps this would not be the case. But faced with the fact that a weak president is opposed by stupid, small-minded men and women in Congress who are pledged to undermine his every step, we may be forced to admit we live in a country that, alone, stands in the way of a workable plan to save this planet from devastation.
Hugh, we have passed the tipping point on renewable energy, yet it is a secret to many who are funded by the fossil fuel industry. The other part of the secret is renewable jobs are growing at a rapid rate.
The Paris Climate conference and Pope’s encyclical continue to show the global minority position of the GOP on this issue. Plus, ExxonMobil is being sued by the New York Attorney General on misleading investors on the impact of climate change on their business.
At some point, these leaders need to be called on the carpet for reining in climate change action. This is a state capitol issue as well in GOP led states, where ALEC legislation is being pushed to hinder or neuter renewable progress. Let’s see what comes out of this week. Good post, Keith
I found it interesting that a number of Republican Congressmen spoke privately with the President of the Sierra Club and said they knew climate change is a fact, but are unable to vote their conscience for political reasons — i.e., self-interest. Will we read that on our collective epitaph?
This is consistent with other off-the-record remarks I have heard about. So much for political courage. Remember Congressman Bob Inglis, who was a skeptic and then traveled to Antarctica and became a convert. He went on record saying climate change was real and man-influenced and was trounced in the next election by a fossil fuel funded Tea Partier. What I found interesting in “Merchants of Doubt,” both McConnell and Boehner were captured on film in 2008 saying the same thing.
“So much for political courage” indeed. But at what cost??
Our country used to be the “uniter” in many arenas, on many of the world’s stages.
We now stand alone.
Shame on us.
Shame on all of us…
I’ve not heard of the RepubliCANT who will at least acknowledge the question, “but what if there IS climate change going on?”
Not publicly. It would mean losing the financial support that bought them into office in the first place and keeps them there!