Obama Wins: ‘I Agree with You. Now Make Me Do It.”

November 7, 2012

Quick reaction, more later.

For all the results up and down the ticket, the overwhelming importance of re-electing Barack Obama, with potentially 2 or more Supreme Court appointments imminent, is the most important result with multi-generational ramifications.

Obama was the only the candidate with a slim chance of helping us head off catastrophe. The operative anecdote comes from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s remarks to supporters 80 years ago, when they outlined a progressive agenda – “I agree with you. Now make me do it.”

Grounds for hope came early in the President’s acceptance speech:

But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers.


A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

OBAMA: We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.

In stating priorities, Obama placed climate change in the same sentence as the national debt, and social justice. That’s a powerful statement of priorities, not an afterthought. That’s our outline for the  coming 4 years. So, take a break, take  a nap, – I’m going to –  then let’s get to work.


15 Responses to “Obama Wins: ‘I Agree with You. Now Make Me Do It.””

  1. “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

    A great speech and a marked policy change which places climate change back on the agenda.

    Sleep well Peter, for when we wake up we will all have plenty of work to do.

  2. Martin Lack Says:

    Where was Obama’s speech-writer during the election campaign? This speech, although still riddled with jingoisitic patriotic garbage (especially at the end), was the best speech he has made in exactly 4 years.

    I really do hope for the realisation of Romney’s plea – in a very gracious speech conceding defeat – to all Republicans to put aside heir differences and work together to solve problems. I am not optimistic, sadly, because I see no prospect of Obama facing-down all those special interests (i.e. lobbyists) that he mentioned in his speech. Even he cannot turn back the clock and make restitution for the misdemeanors he has allowed to go unpunished. He has made his Faustian bargain with the plutocrats; and he cannot just pretend otherwise when it suits him.

    However, if he can, by some miracle, prize America away from its self-destructive addiction to fossil fuels, it will be good for all inhabitants of this endangered goldilocks planet. Sadly, time is an implacable and impatient enemy.

  3. NevenA Says:

    “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

    Oh, great, so he’s going to ditch the neoclassical economic concept and opt for something more rational? Because that’s what you do once you acknowledge that there are limits to growth.

  4. I’ll try and put aside my cynicism (yes, I did watch Obama’s speech) about our government and election process (the notion that we can’t adequately address major problems when the system itself is broken) for this post and just say that I don’t mind being proven wrong. Just do it.

    Congratulations to President Obama and all those who voted for him. One shouldn’t have to “make” the nation’s leader do something in the best interest of the nation and its people, but it probably will come to that. Best wishes to everyone who cares enough to consider it a priority.

    • otter17 Says:

      One thing that may help in America is a campaign finance reform amendment to the Constitution. Check out Wolf PAC at their website to get involved and message your state legislators in order to call for a Constitutional convention. This can potentially fix the system and nullify big money in politics, such as fossil money.

      I messaged my state senator in Pennsylvania and he wrote back that he is already proposing a resolution to call for a convention on election reform.

      There do not seem to be very many remaining bastions for those that oppose emission reductions as recommended by IPCC, etc. Getting big money out of politics seems like the best return on time invested. People of all political stripes support it, except for those benefiting from the monetary support.

      • rayduray Says:

        Hi otter17,

        Friends of mine are presenting the case for a constitutional amendment at our City Council meeting this evening. We’re affiliated with Move To Amend.


        • otter17 Says:

          Hey, cool. I just read about “Move to Amend”. Will have to check those guys out too.

          Hopefully the lack of money incentive to climate change ostriches in Congress and in the states can substantially change their outlook. Then, we may see that same outlook change trickled down to the constituents as well.

  5. rayduray Says:

    BBC Newhour is engaging in a substantive analysis of Obama’s climate policy in view of the mention in his acceptance speech.

    Date of show: Nov. 7.


    The salient discussion occurs at about Minute 25:00 into the program and lasts for several minutes. The analysts seem to conclude that the speech is laying groundwork for a more substantive emphasis on the climate in Obama’s second term.

    Also discussed were pipelines, CAFE standards and fossil fuels vs. alternatives.

  6. mildaykerr Says:

    So Obama threw a six-word bone to one of the constituencies that supported him?

    I’m not holding my breath while I wait for him to show effective leadership on climate change.

    I’m standing back, arms crossed, waiting for him to show he means it.

    If he really engages with the topic, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. If he actually does anything substantial, I’ll be amazed.

    • otter17 Says:

      Whether we force him into leadership or he takes it on his own initiative, results are results, and the results were needed years ago.

    • rayduray Says:

      Re: “I’m not holding my breath while I wait for him to show effective leadership on climate change.”

      I’m constantly amazed at those who pay attention to any politician’s rhetoric. It’s a human frailty. People seem to love to be mesmerized by words.

      During the 2000 election cycle, the inimitable and much missed Molly Ivins wrote “Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush”. In the book, Molly pointed out the only three things that matter when calculating the reality of any politician. That being “the record, the record and the record”.

      On that score, I do have to give high marks to Obama for seeming to up automobile CAFE standards pretty dramatically. After he’s out of office. Before the next president can nullify the executive order. Or Congress can overrule the order.

      On other matters, it seems the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline is proceeding apace, in spite of headlines to the contrary.

      Coal use if off in this country. A good thing. But Obama is still in the business of giving away vast quantities of the stuff for almost nothing when Peabody et al bid on BLM coal deposits. I’m hardly encouraged to think this is going to be a “leave it in the ground” moment for us that will last long enough to make a difference.

      On balance I see Obama as being no worse than Bill Clinton on climate. Alas, I also see him as being not much better than George Bush.

  7. adelady Says:

    I saw that climate reference as one among several lines in the sand. With Sandy fresh in everyone’s minds, he’s going to be able to push a few issues about what, where, how to rebuild …. which just might involve considerations, passing mentions maybe, of adaptation and insurance. Raising the issue of Federal insurance guarantees as a budget matter might get other minds working a bit more coherently – especially if some people start frothing about the gummint abandoning them in their hour of need despite them doing stupid things that no-one else will be willing to insure in the future.

    Once adaptation gets a bit further to the front of more minds, there’s a lot more wiggle room for talk about reducing emissions and clean energy. Though I’m getting the message that clean energy is already a winner with people keen on jobs and controlling utility costs.

  8. andrewfez Says:

    Here’s a portion of the CA ballot, which I voted for, called ‘Prop 39’.

    TAX TREATMENT FOR MULTISTATE BUSINESSES. CLEAN ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY FUNDING. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Requires multistate businesses to pay income taxes based on percentage of their sales in California. Dedicates revenues for five years to clean/efficient energy projects. Fiscal Impact: Increased state revenues of $1 billion annually, with half of the revenues over the next five years spent on energy efficiency projects. Of the remaining revenues, a significant portion likely would be spent on schools.

    Voters had a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ choice.

    It’s this type of thing that needs to be happening in every state (if it is effective, does what it says it will do, and isn’t an unfair money grab for some wasteful, unfair, or insincere shadow entity). It puts the power to do something more in the hands of the people (who are generally for mitigating global warming). And let’s face it, there have been times in the past where polls show the population for a certain issue, but Congress does effectively little to satisfy the will of the people; democracy being not 100% elastic with regard to popular desires: Part of Madison’s motivation, regarding the Senate, was that strong political power would exist in the hands of rich, ruling class (i.e. one-percent-er type folks) during the formulation of the U.S. government. Perhaps, the idea was that the ‘ignorant masses’ couldn’t sharply steer the ship into the ‘wrong direction’.

    Also, I signed some petition about putting climate change questions in the debate, and now the administrators of such send me activist type emails form time to time. Apparently they were targeting climate deniers in Congress, pushing for their alternatives (from the latest email they sent):

    (by the way, I’m not sure why they are thanking me; I voted for Jill Stein)


    Last night was simply amazing. Thanks to you, Barack Obama is on his way to a second term. Thanks to you, we’re sending seven new environmental champions to the U.S. Senate. And thanks to you, we appear to be on our way to defeating 11 of the Dirty Dozen, including as many as four of the climate-denying House incumbents we targeted as part of our new Flat Earth Five campaign.

    Again, thank you. No two words could better express how grateful we are that you – and tens of thousands of friends like you – took the time to invest in our work this year. Your commitment was the critical piece that helped us win so many important races. And as we move past the 2012 election, your partnership with LCV will help us advance strong climate policies in 2013 and beyond.

    The bulk of our focus this election cycle was on the Senate. We spent more than $8 million in eight Senate races and I’m thrilled to tell you that we won seven of them – Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In each of these races, there was a clear choice between a clean energy champion committed to tackling global warming and an outright climate denier or fierce opponent of climate policies.

    In the Massachusetts Senate race, for example, when the “People’s Pledge” essentially barred groups like LCV from running a paid media campaign, we launched a major door-to-door canvass operation. We knocked on 400,000 doors in the state. In Virginia, we ran the largest mail program in the race – sending as many as 7 pieces of mail to more than 500,000 households, targeting 1 out of 7 voters in the state.

    In addition to our work in the Senate, we launched a new program—The Flat Earth Five — targeting five House incumbents specifically because they are climate deniers. We spent more than $3 million on the program with three of the Flat Earth Five – Francisco Canseco (TX-23), Joe Walsh (IL-8) and Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-24) losing their bids for re-election. And climate denier Dan Lungren (CA-7) is trailing, though the race hasn’t been called yet.

    In the presidential race, where we knew our resources would be dwarfed, we focused almost exclusively on Colorado. We spent more than $2 million in the state. Additionally, we mobilized thousands of LCV members to volunteer with the Obama campaign in Colorado and other battleground states.

    In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we also elevated the issue of climate change in the Presidential race, releasing a closing ad that highlighted the stark differences between President Obama and Mitt Romney, who mocked the threat of rising sea levels.

    In all, we spent nearly $14 million this cycle—more than we spent the last three cycles combined—to defend clean energy and climate champions. We also raised or contributed more than $2 million to pro-environment candidates via LCV Action Fund’s GiveGreen, a new record for the program. Environmental donors like you were the biggest contributors to Senate candidates like Sherrod Brown, Jon Tester, Tim Kaine and Martin Heinrich.

    Your investment and partnership was absolutely critical this year. And even though we feel terrific about the outcome of this election, there are still challenges ahead. The leadership of the House of Representative is still deeply committed to pushing the same anti-environmental policies that you helped us halt at every turn in 2012. We expect that we’ll see a new wave of attacks as soon as the 113th Congress is sworn in.

    With your continuing partnership, we’ll defend the environmental progress we have made and continue to advance policies to confront the climate crisis. We have proven this election that Americans want leaders willing to invest in clean energy solutions and tackle the growing threat of global warming. With the election behind us, now is the time to move forward and advance sound environmental policies in Washington and across the country.

    Thank you – again – for your tremendous partnership this year.

    Best –

  9. […] 2012/11/07: PSinclair: Obama Wins: “I Agree with You. Now Make Me Do It.” […]

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