Entry from November 16, 2009

In olden times, revolutions used to start among the potentially revolutionary classes with the idea that the king or, as it might be, the czar was being ill-served by his advisors. Dangerous and corrupt figures — sometimes nobles, sometimes agents, sometimes royal family members, especially if they were of foreign origin — must have been getting between the monarch and his people, so that the former could not hear what was troubling the latter, and offer redress of their grievances. The assumption, of course, was that the king or czar himself really loved his people and was concerned for their welfare, but that those who were close to him had to have been preventing him from doing the right thing, which he must otherwise want to do as a matter of course. It was only a first phase, as I say. Before long, anger at the king’s men — or women — was likely to spill over into anger at the king himself, who had then to look to his crown.

Is it merely fanciful on my part, then, to see the first glimmerings of a revolt against good King Barack among his loyal people, the politically progressive? For, as The Times of London reports today, “the resolve of world leaders to take firm action on climate change appears to be weakening, with President Obama confirming that there would be no legally binding deal at the UN summit in Copenhagen next month.” Instead of being an epoch-making event, Copenhagen is now being downgraded to “merely a ‘staging post’ towards a global deal on climate change” — that is, to say, yet another such staging post, just like Rio and Kyoto and Barcelona and, well, every other climate change summit. What? Is it possible? How can it be that the latest round of talks will once again produce no serious action? Who, ask the vassals, is to blame?

Well, The New York Times has a candidate. I mean besides George W. Bush, who gets a dishonorable mention in today’s paper, as you might expect. But as the progressives don’t have Bush to kick around anymore — not that that necessarily stops them from trying — the article’s author, John M. Broder, suggests another possibility, namely that the President is ill-served by his congressional allies in the natural and inevitable desire he himself must have to take decisive action against global warming. “Mr. Obama has been a champion of climate change regulation,” writes Mr Broder, and yet he “has found himself limited in his ambitions by a Congress that is unwilling to move as far or as fast as he would like.”

American negotiators have been hamstrung in talks leading to the Copenhagen conference by inaction on legislation supported by the administration that would impose strict caps on carbon dioxide emissions. The House passed a relatively stringent bill in June, but the Senate is not expected to begin serious debate on the measure until next year. Without a firm commitment from the United States — for decades the world’s leading emitter of climate-altering gases — other nations have been reluctant to deliver firmer pledges of their own.

Fortunately for the world, we learn that “Mr. Obama’s aides say he remains determined to use his domestic authority and international clout to continue pressing toward a global agreement. despite the latest setback.” Hooray for the king! But do you think that, when there is still no agreement in a year or two or three, say by the time that Mr Obama is running for re-election in 2012, the media and other forces for progressivism will begin to get the idea that the king himself is to blame?

I doubt it myself. The idea of holding worldwide greenhouse gas emissions to half their 1990 levels by 2050, which is the latest goal — without which apocalypse must be supposed to follow — of the global warmists, is and always has been political fantasy. There’s a reason why the Kyoto Treaty was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 95-0. Such a draconian measure — much less draconian than the latest proposals — would be economic and political suicide. But if it is a fantasy, it is a fantasy that the progressives and King Barack alike have learned to cling to. Such fantasies — like the beneficial effects of the stimulus or the fiscal responsibility of health care legislation — are the basis on which this administration is founded. The President is not only highly skilled at reinforcing and playing to these fantasies, he was the progressive candidate in last year’s election for that very reason. Congress may have to pay the price first when fantasy collides with reality, but it’s still hard to believe that Mr Obama will, at least among progressives.

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