The coverage of Barack Obama’s speech yesterday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce should confirm that there is a two-tiered information system in the media: There is the message the liberal intelligentsia want flyover country yokels (like you and me) to hear, and then there is the truth, which they speak only to themselves. Countless talking heads and opinion-shapers in the liberal media described the speech as “an olive branch” to the Chamber, an attempt to woo business, or an echo of John F. Kennedy. Even Chamber CEO Tom Donohue called the speech a “good change in tone.”
For themselves, they maintain websites so dull no one with a pulse can stand to read them. However, between yawners, they occasionally feel free to tell each other the truth. On one such website, Salon.com, we see the instructive article, “Proof Obama is Not Caving on Regulation: The EPA.” Its author, Andrew Leonard, lets the cat out of the bag: the speech was a lot of posturing and soundbytes; America is going to continue getting hope-and-change good-and-hard.
Leonard writes that “liberals get most nervous” about the possibility that Obama will “gut environmental protection” in his alleged hunt for “burdensome” regulations. Leonard tells his fellow left-wingers not to worry. For instance, at one point Obama told the Chamber he had delayed the implementation of the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations for biomass:
But by pointing out an instance of EPA inaction, the president carefully avoided dwelling on the fact that the agency has already taken the much more significant step of beginning the process of regulating greenhouse gas emissions at power plants, oil refineries, and other major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. As of Jan. 2, the EPA is requiring that the operators of new, or substantially modified, facilities must get permits that will limit their future greenhouse gas emissions and require upgraded technology.
In other words, it’s already happening.
Not only is it happening, administration officials insist it will not be reversed. Last week EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told the media the president would veto any bill that passes Congress removing that agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. These regulations, Jackson has argued “provides certainty to businesses to create jobs.” The EPA’s rules provide employers with the same sense of “certainty” an execution date gives a prisoner.
Salon noted with satisfaction that other liberals shared its complacency. Leonard adds, “Slate’s tireless political reporter/blogger David Weigel had the same impression of Obama’s speech to the Chamber that I did earlier today — the president made no concessions and signaled no real shift in policy.” Unfortunately, both Leonard and Weigel are right. (I may never write that sentence again.)
The speech was intended for theatrics and mass consumption, not for policy — with perhaps one exception. Both the Chamber of Commerce and the Obama administration favor amnesty for illegal aliens.
Leonard concludes his piece with a cheer that if liberals want the government to continue destroying jobs, they “should be thinking hard about how to re-elect Obama, because if a Republican moves into the White House, it will all come to a screeching halt, again.” Rah-rah-siss-boom-bah!
This is not to say everything written on left-leaning websites for the Left’s consumption is true. Much of intra-liberal discussion consists of common mythmaking, hand-holding, and collective wishful thinking. See, for instance, this piece from The New Republic, “President Obama Has the Chamber of Commerce Right Where He Wants Them,” in which the prophet Noam Scheiber argues the Chamber will be more afraid of Tea Party Republicans than an administration that gave us Van Jones, Carol Browner, Craig Becker, Valerie Jarrett, and John Holdren.
Nonetheless, on this speech, they were right on the money.