Obama's "rhetoric gap" on climate

Climate Progress hosted a guest post by Grist's David Roberts on how Obama is not the magic solution to passing climate legislation
The president, even an extraordinarily popular president, can only do so much. Making one more speech won’t have any effect on Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) or Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). It won’t reduce the money pouring from dirty energy companies into congressional coffers. It won’t change anybody’s mind at a teabagging rally or a dirty energy astroturfing event. This notion that Obama trying harder is the key to progressive success is just a siren song; it delays getting serious.
Obama can’t save progressives. They’ll save their agenda, if at all, with persistence and organizing. As it always was.
Joe Romm noted at the time that he only half agreed, but judging from his more recent writings (e.g. "The rhetoric gap: Can Obama give ‘em Hell (and High Water) before it’s too late?"), he's pretty firmly on the other side of this particular argument.
A Rooseveltian or Trumanesque campaign speech, addressing the concerns of the American majority, invoking the heroic history of American reform and naming the enemy, practically writes itself.
And today, commenting on Senator Maria Cantwell's quote that climate change legislation has a "50/50" chance of passing the Senate this year:
A 50-50 change is what I’ve been saying, but again, Obama — and only Obama — can increase those odds. As for the resolve of this country to make the transition to a low-carbon economy, we will find out in the next few months just how resolved we are.
I agree that the Obama administration's messaging has been quite cautious around climate change, perhaps inordinately so. But if you look at the landscape of the Senate at a very granular level as Nate Silver has done, it becomes very clear that it is a handful of individual senators and their constituencies that will swing this vote, not the national sentiment. Preaching to the choir in California and the Northeast will not make a difference. What the climate bill needs to pass the Senate is not soaring national rhetoric, but rather solid local organizing (as Roberts suggested) combined with pragmatic and savvy leadership and vote-counting by those guiding it through the Senate.

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