Will Obama 'Betray' Environmentalists?

It has been an interesting week in Obamaland.

Let's look around at some of the "hope and change" agents the president-elect has nominated thus far:

  • Obama wants Bush Defense Secretary Robert Gates to soldier on in the new administration. Gates supported the troop surge that Obama the senator and presidential candidate so stridently opposed -- you know, the surge that led to victory in Iraq.

  • Then there's Obama's choice of Paul Volcker, whom the linked CNN story hilariously characterizes as "a Washington outsider," to head up the new Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Though originally appointed as Federal Reserve chairman by Jimmy Carter in 1979, Volcker is closely associated with Reaganomics. Volcker's role in the early-1980s recovery consisted of returning the Fed to sound monetary policy and beating down the nearly ruinous inflation his predecessor and Carter had created. Volcker's actions, along with Reagan's income tax cuts and indexing of tax brackets, were what brought the economy out from recession to a level of sustained growth that has not been seen since. He is thus inextricably linked to the policies of the president the hard left still despises even more than George W. Bush.

So, at least on the surface, there has been a sea change from Obama the campaigner to Obama the soon-to-be president. Can the president-elect's apparent betrayal of his core supporters go beyond foreign policy, economics, and defense? Yes, it can, right to its "religious" core: environmentalism. At this point, no one should be surprised if Obama's other nominees signal that he will not, at least during a first term, attempt to enact radical measures relating to climate change.

That's going to leave a mark.

But for all their professed solidarity with environmental radicals, the custodians of what I have since July called the POR economy -- Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid -- must know that they cannot afford to drive the economy down any further without risking a brutal backlash. Any efforts at blaming Bush will likely be futile. As I showed last week, the POR triumvirate and their party are primarily responsible for what has happened in the economy since June of this year. I also noted that if, as seems likely, the fourth quarter of 2008 shows negative growth, they will, because of their and their party's current, past, and expected actions on energy, taxes, and bailouts, soon become the primary authors of a recession as the man on the street defines it: two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

In other words, they own it. Now they have to figure a way out of it.