In the climate bill debate of the past two years, Obama and the Democrats embraced Republican ideas in an effort to minimize or avoid the partisanship inherent in other approaches that had been explicitly rejected by Republicans, including a tax and a massive ramp up in clean energy funding, as I've argued. But Klein makes an effective case that it simply didn't matter how reasonable or centrist or business-friendly a strategy environmentalists and progressive politicians pursued (or might have pursued). The Republicans simply were committed to stopping Obama from appearing bipartisan.
This should be obvious to anyone who has paid attention to American politics the past two years. And on that note, it's reasonable to ask if the partisan roadblocks to the climate debate can be hurdled by simply charting a new path, as Jonathan Foley advised in his Q & A with me yesterday. For example, after reading that interview at Climate Central, Jonathan Gilligan emailed me this LA Times column by Jonah Goldberg, who writes that, "without global warming," President Obama's energy policy (which emphasizes national security) is "outright bonkers." (Goldberg, it can be assumed, is channeling the sentiments of his fellow conservatives.) Not a lot of room for common ground there. So while I'm all for a more constructive climate and energy debate, it does take two to dance.