Feb 052013

When I served in the White House, I convinced a speech writer to insert a paragraph in favor of a policy I championed into President Carter’s forthcoming speech. I was going (as many had before me) to use this paragraph to urge the relevant agencies to proceed, on the ground that, “the president stated… ” I was stopped by a new staff director who, during the fourth year of the Carter administration, introduced a “revolutionary” idea: that speeches should be checked against policy. That is, that no major themes were to be run up the flag pole unless there was some policy in the offings to follow such unfurling.

I was reminded of this experience when President Obama made climate change the major theme of his 2013 inaugural address. (He dedicated it more text than to any other topic). And it is expected to be featured during the forthcoming State of the Union. It seems that, once again, the speech writers (who “live” in a different part of the West Wing from the policy analysts) came up with a theme but there is rather little that can be done. There is very little reason to believe that Congress will agree to major moves in this direction.As I’ve pointed out before, the conservative opposition — which includes both most Republicans and a fair number of Democrats, in particular those representatives from coal states — will block any major moves to protect the climate.

Read the rest of the article here at The Huffington Post

 Posted by at 3:39 pm

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