Would Bush Flip-Flop On Global Warming Before Midterms?
Let’s say you are a lame-duck president, who just saw your party’s majorities in both houses evaporate in the midterm elections, and you are now faced with a deeply-divided Congress that you can no longer count on to rubber stamp your bankrupt and environmentally damaging policies. Let’s also say that despite claims to the contrary, like your predecessors you are now suddenly concerned about your legacy. You note that more and more of your evangelical base is trending green and preservationist, and in danger of splintering between progressive and preservationist factions on one side, and the “end times” crowd on the other, thereby undermining all of your hard work to cement the evangelical base into the GOP column for decades. And yes, now that you have squeezed all the cash and benefits you can out of Big Oil for your own purposes and with no future campaigns to run yourself, you are finally concerned about how history views your environmental record and the eight years you systematically ignored growing scientific evidence and let the earth die on your watch.
What would you do? Would you flip-flop? Would you have a “Nixon-comes-to-China” moment and suddenly announce an about-face on global warming in the 2007 State of the Union address to reenergize your administration, steal Al Gore’s 2007 thunder (but prove he was right), and look like a visionary to the cultists for the final two years as you received your desired gloss-over from the historians? Would you do this knowing that the Democrats have missed opportunity after opportunity to make this issue their own, evidenced by how Gore himself downplayed his prophet-like knowledge about the issue during the 2000 campaign?
And if you already knew that public opinion strongly supports the need for America to do something immediate to stop the damage from global warming, and knew you could spin this as a national security imperative as well, why wouldn’t you do it? Besides, you can’t stand being second fiddle to Schwarzenegger on anything, and your oil and auto industry friends would rather deal with federal regulations than be subjected to state-by-state regulations and lawsuits.
Then again, what is preventing you from springing it on the Democrats in the closing days of the midterm election, since you have already tried this attempt at looking like a moderate before the 2004 election? How many vulnerable GOP incumbents could you help by springing this on an unsuspecting Democratic opposition in October when such an announcement could swing several House districts and even a Senate seat or two back towards the GOP rubber-stampers who are tied to your record here?
I mean, you know the Democrats wouldn’t be smart enough to preempt you, by demanding to know when you will join them in a national energy and security strategy, instead of continuing your obstructionism and ignorance of science. They wouldn’t be that smart to talk up global warming and energy independence during the remaining days of the midterms, so that any move you make will look like follow-the-leader, right?
They couldn't be that smart, could they?