Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Look, we're just like Obama! The least our lunatic opposition will do

Late in last night's Q&A on ABC, Malcolm Turnbull tried to support Liberal Party climate change policy by comparing it with recent announced plans from the US:
Barack Obama gave a great speech about climate change recently. A lot of initiatives, an Emissions Trading Scheme is not part of them. The measures he announced are more like the Coalition's policies, in fact. 
Joe Hockey repeated the same talking point at a press conference covered by ABC24 today. Their goal is to make themselves look reasonable by comparing themselves to Obama.

It's technically true, but actually rather misleading. There is a marked difference between Obama's plans and Abbott's. Obama's are the best he can do in the face of lunatic opposition, while Abbott's are the least he can do as the lunatic opposition.

Obama has announced actions that can be achieved without legislation being passed by Congress. The US Congress has been rendered dysfunctional by the Republican Party's leap to the wingnut right since the 2008 election. Even when Obama takes up Republican ideas (like carbon pricing, the individual mandate for health insurance, or the DREAM Act), Republicans immediately denounce those ideas. He knows legislation cannot be passed, but doing what he can by executive action.

In his speech Obama said:
Nobody has a monopoly on what is a very hard problem, but I don’t have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real. We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society.
So, if we take comparison of Liberal Party climate change policy to Obama to its logical end, who are the "Flat Earthers" who are forcing them into an inadequate response? Who in their party said climate change science is "absolute crap"? Who in their party used to say, while denying climate change, that a carbon tax would be the best way to price carbon?

The answer is, of course, Tony Abbott.

1 comment :

  1. It's curious how we ended up with an ideological divergence in the policy response at all. I always like to refer to Greg Mankiw, who apart from authoring the most widely used introductory university economics textbook, and being professor at Harvard, is closely associated with the Republicans in the USA.

    Mankiw was chief economic adviser to Dubya Bush for a period and more recently an advisor to Mitt Romney. He has also been a strong and outspoken advocate for a carbon tax even in preference to a market ETS. How this ever became ideological is perverse!