Because I usually criticize President Obama for being completely tone-deaf and lacking any self-awareness, I’ll acknowledge that I am somewhat surprised that so far, the White House has resisted its urge for excessive self-congratulations regarding the COP 21 agreement reached in Paris last weekend. Save for a short announcement from the Cabinet Room on Saturday, the president has been relatively low-key about his “historic” accomplishment in Paris. In fact, the White House had the good judgment to play down the president’s bizarre claim that climate change is the single biggest threat to U.S. national security. Instead of patting himself on the back about the Paris agreement, Obama had the good sense to go to the Pentagon for a photo-op with the National Security Council on Monday and give brief remarks at the National Counterterrorism Center today. He didn’t use the Pentagon or the National Counterterrorism Center appearances as a political prop for climate change and refrained from making a statement pretending anything useful happened in Paris, especially anything that could affect or have the slightest chilling effect — no pun intended — on the United States’ enemies. I don’t expect the restraint to last.
The COP 21 conference in Paris was the most predictable event of 2015. Of course an agreement was going to be reached, and of course that agreement is a sham, but it all fits perfectly with what the climate issue has become. The topic of climate change has become manna for exhausted liberals who have nothing much to say and policy failures on almost every front. (Disclosure: My firm represents interests in the fossil fuel and nuclear power industries.) And let’s face it, global warming is an issue that perfectly suits Obama as he warms up for retirement. He doesn’t really have to do anything, there is never any day of reckoning and it lends itself to sanctimonious moralizing and generally lecturing everybody about how they should live.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said it well when he summarized the Paris agreement by saying, “President Obama continues to put a priority on things that he expects to help his legacy, not on the things that the American public actually are concerned about. . . . we should not allow the president to buy a legacy for himself using American taxpayer dollars.” David Bernstein wrote in The Post, “The administration is indulging in a form of liberal internationalism that seeks to subordinate adherence to the American Constitution, its separation of powers, and the laws enacted under it to what its advocates consider the much more important values.”
Further, David Harsanyi, writing for the Federalist, asks, “What are liberals really willing to do to stop climate change?” Well, I would ask what the liberals are not willing to do. Where do they draw the line? After all, if the world is at stake, who says the rules written by a group of dead white male slave-owners such as America’s Founding Fathers still apply?
Even though the president took a pass on launching into an immediate faux celebration, there is plenty of time for the president’s climate change victory lap. And even though I suspect the president was more restrained in his celebrations due to the fresh terrorist attack on U.S. soil and the spotlight that threw on the anarchy he has allowed to fester around the world, the usual suspects on the left have had his back. Jonathan Chait’s headline “The Paris Climate Deal Is President Obama’s Biggest Accomplishment” is a perfect example of the left’s pandering. What exactly has the deal accomplished? What has the president accomplished? Pretty soon, Obama’s claim that “this moment can be a turning point for the world” will be relegated to the history books alongside the president’s 2008 claim that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”