At a time that Republicans are divided on immigration reform and the National Security Agency surveillance programs (although really only a few libertarian cranks oppose defending ourselves with technology overseen by Congress and the courts), President Obama delivers today a gift, wrapped in a bow, to Republicans in the form of his political and policy blunder, otherwise known as the “war on coal.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivers remarks during the second day of CPAC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

When Democrats controlled both the House and Senate, Obama could not get climate control legislation passed. That explains why he is now seeking to go around Congress to enact anti-coal regulations by fiat.

The reason even Democrats balked on climate change regulations in the first term (it stalled in the Senate) is because it is economically debilitating, especially in energy producing states; politically unpopular in red states and among the vast majority of all conservatives nationwide; and useless (so long as China, India, etc. don’t follow suit it does virtually nothing for the planet as a whole – even if one buys the global warming hysteria).

Republicans nationwide are chortling at the following, a present to all GOP ad makers:

A Harvard University geochemist who serves as a scientific adviser to President Obama is urging the administration to wage a “war on coal.”

“The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants,” Daniel P. Schrag, a member of the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, told the New York Times. ”Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”

The remarks come on the eve of a much-anticipated climate change speech from the president Tuesday at Georgetown University.

Conservatives are once again bonded together in common cause against a president bizarrely antagonistic toward domestic energy production and low energy prices. The gubernatorial campaign of Ken Cuccinelli, in a dog fight with Democrat Terry McAuliffe, let loose on the Democrats’ plans, citing the energy resources in Virginia that directly or indirectly contribute to nearly 20,000 jobs and $2.5 billion toward the state economy. Now, there’s an issue that may turn out his base and get independents riled up.

On Capitol Hill  Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) blasted the president:

At a time when millions of Americans remain out of work and the cost of groceries, gas, and health care continues to rise, it is astonishing that President Obama is unilaterally imposing new regulations that will cost jobs and increase energy prices.  The president has always been hostile to affordable sources of American energy that power most of our economy, but this program – which amounts to a National Energy Tax – only escalates his attack.  The president’s advisor calls it a ‘War on Coal,’ but it’s even more than that. These policies, rejected even by the last Democratic-controlled Congress, will shutter power plants, destroy good-paying American jobs, and raise electricity bills for families that can scarcely afford it.

While they might be on opposite sides in the immigration fight, GOP Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.)  and Orrin Hatch (Utah) were singing the same tune on efforts to make coal production more expensive and difficult. Paul’s statement read in part: “President Obama today declared a war on coal, and thus declared a war on Kentucky jobs and our economy. Whether it is through the retroactive denial of permits, onerous regulations on coal-fired power plants, or unreasonable environmental requirements, the policies of this Administration are threatening the very way of life that has sustained Kentucky communities for generations.” Hatch also denounced the president’s scheme: “Energy is the fuel of our nation’s economic growth and after one of the longest periods of economic stagnation in modern history, it’s simply baffling that President Obama is proceeding with this unilateral energy policy that will hurt Americans struggling to pay their bills and get a job.”

But the Republicans arguably the most delighted are the National Republican Senate Committee and GOP candidates running in 2014. The NRSC put out a statement, reading in part:

All across the country, families and workers believe that the most critical issue is growing the economy, creating jobs, and helping the middle class get ahead. Protecting the environment and developing an energy policy for the 21st century is a common-sense, balanced approach. The Democrats’ plan is radical. It is extremist. They want electricity costs to skyrocket. Their radical energy tax proposal will lead to more red tape and harmful regulation, higher costs for middle class families, and could cripple entire industries thus destroying local jobs.

2014 Democrats have remained loyal to President Obama’s liberal record and are now responsible for a radical agenda that threatens families, workers, and entire industries across the country.

It is now targeting incumbent Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.)
Mark Begich (Alaska), and Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Democratic contenders for open seats in West Virginia, Montana, Michigan, Iowa and Georgia.

The president’s priorities — furthering the left-wing agenda rather than improving the economy — is a theme that we’ll hear a lot more about from Republicans in the days ahead and during the 2014 and 2016 elections. The president – whether on Obamacare, the environment, taxes or scandals — certainly has a knack for bringing Republicans together.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.