Friday, September 02, 2011

Better narratives, please

Yes, I'm as pissed off as the next tree hugger about President Obama backing off on the EPA's proposed stricter standard for ground smog. But to keep it in perspective, we're no worse off than we have been since 2008 when Bush eased the standard. And it's not like Obama is abandoning the whole enviromental agenda. He did push through the better mileage standards not that long ago and according to his statement there's plenty of other rules the GOPers are trying to abolish, along with the EPA itself, that he claims he's going to fight for, so it's not like there aren't going to be other, an bigger battles in the future.

As a rule, I don't get worked up into a lather over such ongoing political manuvering, particularly in the silly season. But what pisses me off much more than the walk back is the framing Obama used to justify it.
In a statement, the president reiterated his commitment to environmental concerns, but added: “At the same time, I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover. With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time.”
This particular issue is one the GOP was gearing up to use heavily in the 2012 campaign, so I understand why the White House would want to neutralize it. But this statement is pure GOP framing. It's the sort of false talking point I spend hours every day pushing back against. As I tweeted to Obama today, why am I spending my time debunking this language if he's going to turn around and reinforce it with repetition? I find it hard to believe, with all the resources the White House has, they couldn't come up with a better narrative. To simply repeat Republican tropes is not helping.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I'm not so sanguine about those Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. As the man said, the perception that something needs to be done is the mother of many a bad measure and it was the passage of the CAFE standard and other "safety" standards that gave us what was initially a cynical term: the SUV.

Some self-styled Liberals are far too happy to pass a "crime bill" for instance and don't really care what's in it or what its ultimate consequences and costs will be.

But yeah I think our president played right into their hands and allowed people to believe that he's just the same, just as bad as they are.

9:00:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

There are days when I think he doesn't really want the job anymore and is deliberately trying to lose.

9:37:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Oh good point about legislation. SO often the details turn out to be not so great and create a new problem to solve an old one.

9:40:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

"The notion that something needs to be done is the mother of many a bad measure"

12:54:00 PM  

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