I know it’s a bit early to give out this week’s coveted Green Weenie, having just given it to Tom Friedman on Sunday, but I can declare this week’s competition over already: Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, has blown away the competition with Usain Bolt-like speed in his op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal arguing that conservatives and Republicans need to jump on board the climate change bandwagon. This represents one of the leaders of the climate campaign saying “No mas!” By the way, does anyone in the climate campaign yet recognize that if John McCain had won the 2008 election, we’d probably have some form of cap and trade under way by now? (More on this below.)
Krupp, whom one environmental leader once characterized to me as “the Richard Nixon of the environmental movement,” is tacitly acknowledging that the climate campaign’s preferred strategy of ramming through climate legislation in the same partisan way Obama rammed through Obamacare has failed. Back in 2006 I reported in National Review about a meeting the climateers held in Aspen (naturally) where, according to the conference report, strategists recommended that “the only way to proceed is to exercise raw political power, wake up the public about the urgent nature of the issue, create a major public demand for action comparable to that which stimulated major environmental legislation in the 1970s, pursue outright victory at the polls.” In other words, we need to boot out those evil Republicans and roll over them. (I don’t have the attendance list handy just now, but I am reasonably confident Krupp was one of the attendees.)
Well, the voters did that in 2006 and 2008. How’d that work out for the climate campaign, eh? Turns out Obama didn’t really love you enough to push for your priority now, did he? Not even the BP oil spill could move the climate agenda down the field. As Eric Pooley reported in his book The Climate War, the reason was a lack of enthusiasm at the White House:
When corporate and environmental leaders from the U.S. Climate Action Partnership went to the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing for a late spring 2009 meeting with [Rahm] Emanuel, they could see that he didn’t much care about climate change. What he cared about was winning—acquiring and maintaining presidential power over an eight-year arc. Climate and energy were agenda items to him, pieces on a legislative chessboard; he was willing to play them only in ways that enhanced Obama’s larger objectives. He saw no point in squandering capital on a lost cause. (Emphasis added.)
Pooley’s bottom line: “The chief of staff was an obstacle to climate action.”
This is why I’ve compared environmentalists to “battered spouses,” returning again and again to their Democratic Party abusers no matter how badly they are treated. Meanwhile, Krupp ought to turn his sights on the relentless partisanship of environmentalists, as I outlined in this Weekly Standard article, in which I note how the League of Conservation Voters clearly games its vote-scoring system to make Republicans look bad and Democrats look good. How, for example, did John McCain, so-sponsor of two cap and trade bills and also a higher CAFE standard (with John Kerry!) somehow get Zero scores from LCV? Here’s an excerpt from my Standard article:
Politico‘s environmental reporter Darren Samuelsohn quoted an anonymous White House official speaking disdainfully about the climate campaign’s efforts: “They didn’t deliver a single Republican. They spent like $100 million, and they weren’t able to get a single Republican convert on the bill.” . . .
The greens have been so relentlessly hostile to all Republicans–even ones with conventionally pro-environment records–that Republicans have little reason to accommodate their views. Senator Lindsey Graham, a possible convert on cap and trade, laid it out clearly to Samuelsohn: “So when you hear the environmental community is mad at you, everyone says, ‘Tell me something new.’ It’s not like a support group you’ve lost.” . . .
The final irony for the greens is that had John McCain (who received zeroes on League of Conservation Voters scorecards in 2007 and 2008) been elected president instead of Obama (who almost always scored perfectly for the League of Conservation Voters–when he was around to cast a Senate vote), we’d likely have a cap and trade bill in place right now, as McCain would have made it a higher priority than health care reform. He had co-sponsored earlier cap and trade proposals with Senator Joe Lieberman.
So now Krupp is kinda-sorta trying to show some love to Republicans. Good luck with that Freddie. But enjoy your Green Weenie.