President Obama’s EPA might just have outsmarted itself with the recent CO2 ruling. Here’s Kimberly Strassel in today’s Wall Street Journal:
From the start, the Obama team has wielded the EPA action as a club, warning Congress that if it did not come up with cap-and-trade legislation the EPA would act on its own—and in a far more blunt fashion than Congress preferred. As one anonymous administration official menaced again this week: “If [Congress doesn’t] pass this legislation,” the EPA is going to have to “regulate in a command-and-control way, which will probably generate even more uncertainty.”
Bottom line: At least some congressional Democrats view this as breathing room, a further reason to not tackle a killer issue in the run-up to next year’s election. Mr. Obama may emerge from Copehagen with some sort of “deal.” But his real problem is getting Congress to act, and his EPA move may have just made that job harder.
The angle Strassel left out — because it wasn’t germane to the story — is that, once again, Obama has gone abroad, put American prestige on the line, and will come home with no deal, and to increased political opposition.
UPDATE: Oh, that’s gonna leave a mark.