Issue du jour? Piece of cake. He’s already stepped before the nation as the hawkish homeland protector who orders airstrikes on Syria. President Obama now greets a global audience as the wonkish protector of the planet, showcased Tuesday at the United Nations Climate Summit. The role will surely please his progressive and liberal fans who chafe at the idea that a president must be a commander in chief and green guy all at once. Mr. Obama was not the only one to go through a transformation this week, however. Secretary of State John Kerry also switched rhetorical gears, from talk of terrorism to climate matters.
“It’s about time that world leaders come to the United Nations to recognize this threat in the way that it requires and demands,” Mr. Kerry told business and government leaders assembled Monday for Climate Week NYC, a splashy prelude to the U.N. events.
Not everyone is so moved. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has stayed out of the big doings in Manhattan. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are not attending either, though both nations wrestle with serious environmental matters.
But another transformation is imminent. Mr. Obama will be the eco-president when he addresses the U.N. climate summit. But he’ll reprise his commander role 24 hours later when he gives an address before the U.N. Security Council. Among other things, the president ultimately seeks a resolution that would ban global travel by militants seeking to fight in other nations — complete with sanctions on countries that don’t uphold the idea. Also on the wish list: coordinated efforts among U.N. member states to freeze assets of militants and withhold travel documents, plus support for grass-roots efforts to stem radical teachings in vulnerable nations.
THE GREEN NARRATIVE GOES BALLISTIC
The public narrative about climate change, meanwhile, has gone from tree-hugger platitudes to strategic populist activism, led by 350.Org, an aggressive, intensely organized Brooklyn group — and primary force behind the People’s Climate March in New York and other cities Sunday. But of course the organization has a political action committee dedicated to raising money for environmentally minded candidates. They also have creative designs on major weather events, recently petitioning the World Meteorological Organization to name hurricanes after policymakers who look askance at climate change. First on their list are “prominent climate deniers” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and House Speaker John Boehner, they say; there’s a petition for the cause as well.
“Congress used to have tobacco addiction deniers. Now it has far too many climate deniers,” says policy director Jason Kowlaski. The newly vilified “deniers” face pushback elsewhere from those who frame the climate fight in terms of “justice” and community. That has attracted the media.
“The openly socialist People’s Climate March received 4.5 times more broadcast coverage than the March for Life. NBC, ABC and CBS gave the People’s Climate March a combined 3 minutes and 27 seconds of coverage, compared to just 46 seconds for the March for Life in January,” says Julia Seymour, an analyst with the Business and Media Institute, who also notes that all of the coverage was positive, and none mentioned that the event had the support of the Communist Party USA and assorted Occupy activist groups.
THE GRASS GROWS GREENER
So how much tax revenue would be generated by the legalization of recreational marijuana, from sea to shining sea? Someone thinks they know.
“The U.S. stands to gain, according to our calculations, $3,098,866,907 in state and local taxes per year — that’s more than twice the entire budget of the Small Business Administration in 2013,” declares Divya Raghavan, an analyst for NerdWallet.com, a financial adviser for the young and restless. He based his estimates on usage data and trends from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Harvard University.
Voters in Alaska, Florida, Oregon and the District of Columbia will consider pot legalization Nov. 4. And though there’s revenue, it is a complicated matter when law enforcement, health and cultural factors come into play. Much of that has not been addressed.
Meanwhile, Mr. Raghavan points out that the nation’s capital itself would make close to $9 million in sales tax revenue if the city passes the measure.
LIBERALTOPIA — OR NOT?
“Twenty-five years ago, marriage meant what it had always meant, Madonna was considered risque, and liberals worried about mass immigration, threats to religious liberty and the vulgarity of pop music. The times, they have a-changed. And they will continue to change as the Left presses on. Where will liberalism be 25 years from now? What new causes will it champion? Will it have exhausted itself or will it continue to grow bolder in its demands? Can conservatives today in any way try to preempt the future agenda of liberalism?”
And so asks the Heritage Foundation, which has assembled a quartet of learned fellows to decide. See it live online Tuesday at noon EDT here: Heritage.org.
ALL HAIL THE CONTRACT WITH AMERICA
Well, somebody remembers. The Ripon Society points out that the 20th anniversary of the Contract with America is Saturday, marking the moment when a phalanx of Republican hopefuls gathered on the West Front steps of the U.S. Capitol and signed a document penned by Newt Gingrich and Richard Armey that set forth GOP principles and clarified their promises to voters.
“Twenty years ago this fall, 367 Republican candidates from all around the country gathered on the West Front steps of the U.S. Capitol and signed the Contract with America. At the time, it was an historic moment because it helped give Republicans control of Congress for the first time in four decades,” says Lou Zickar, editor of The Ripon Forum, the public policy organization’s primary publication.
“Today, it is a moment worth remembering because it was also a time when the GOP loudly and proudly proclaimed not what they stood against, but what they stood for,” he adds.
Well now, there’s a thought — and one that could still resonate with disenchanted voters weary of a negative political battlefield. The Forum itself is devoted to the contract this month, with observations from, among many others, Haley Barbour — who says the document gave people “something to vote for” — and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Find it here: RiponSociety.org.
POLL DU JOUR
• 64 percent of Americans say NFL player misconduct will not influence whether they watch the games or not; 74 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents agree.
• 62 percent of Americans overall say the way the NFL has handled cases of misconduct will not influence whether they watch the games or not; 72 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents agree.
• 51 percent disapprove of how the NFL has handled the misconduct; 51 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of independents agree.
• 43 percent are not sure if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should resign over the player misconduct; 34 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents agree.
• 31 percent overall say Mr. Goodell should not resign; 43 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of independents agree.
• 26 percent overall say he should resign; 23 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of independents agree.
Source: A YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 17-18.
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