Brian Birdnow

Last week President Obama, in his usual stentorian tones, announced a new and improved effort at combating global warming, which has now been recycled and relabeled by the mainstream media as “climate change” in a nod to the cold winters of recent years. The President stated that he hoped Congress would join him in this venture, but he reminded all that he would keep his executive order pen handy, just in case. Threatening to go over the head of the Congress used to be considered dictatorial but rarely rates a word of criticism where Obama, the anointed one, is concerned. While some observers expressed surprise at this new Obama effort, especially in its timing, the reality of the situation is that there is less here than meets the eye.

The President announced last winter in the State of the Union address that he had planned a new global warming initiative, but most people saw this as the guaranteed throwaway applause line that it certainly was. A President who had staked his second term agenda on gun control, his historical legacy on a smooth implementation of Obamacare, and his credibility on a gay marriage flip-flop did not need to take on another ambitious project. Since the early spring and the continuing cascade of scandals engulfing the administration it would seem plainly foolhardy to begin another Don Quixote-like adventure.

The truth, however, is quite another thing. Obama’s decision to attack the global warming windmill is a subterfuge on two fronts. First of all, it is an admission that his second term agenda is dead in the water. Secondly, this is a standard Obama strategic maneuver. When he gets into a political bind, he always moves quickly to the Left. Obama “out-liberaled” Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination in 2008, he moved sharply leftward after his inauguration, and again after the Republican victories in the 2010 congressional elections. He is feeling the heat yet again and is once more moving to the port side.

Brian Birdnow

Brian E. Birdnow is a historian and teaches at a university in the St. Louis area.