The U.S. Election

For several months, the words Obama and McCain have not been allowed in posts here. I’m declaring a one-day moratorium on this policy. This was not because I’m uninterested in the U.S. election – quite the opposite. I thought that this particular election was an important one. And, quite aside from the importance of the election, I enjoy the “pennant race” aspect of the election and have followed the election avidly.

I don’t often talk about my political views – though I’ve sometimes taken pains to point out that I do not share the political views of many readers. In American terms, Canada would be a blue state along the lines of Massachusetts; Toronto would be a liberal city in a blue state; and I live downtown in one of the most liberal constituencies in the city. None of this is unrelated to my political views. I realize that many Climate Audit readers have opposite political views, but we try to get along.

I thought that McCain’s concession speech last night was remarkably and commendably gracious and that it was the high point of McCain’s campaign, in which he showed the positive aspects of his character in a way that was little evident in the campaign.

I thought that Obama’s acceptance speech was equally gracious. Obviously any politician has to have an ego and I presume that Obama is no different; but he at least expresses himself with a commendable humility, which I, for one, am prepared to take at face value.

It was pretty amazing that McCain, at the age of 72, could have campaigned so tirelessly for so long. McCain’s body language last night showed to me that he was tired and, in a way, probably ready to get off the horse. Whereas for Obama, there will be no days off and it looked like he was ready to work just as hard today as he did yesterday. Aside from anything else, I think that the U.S. is better off with a leader who’s at the peak of his powers and energy.

If one is looking for good in the economic crisis (and this is hard for me to say as I am entirely reliant on my diminished 401K equivalent), it is that crises focus people’s minds on problems and issues. Obama is in a position to call on the best and most competent Americans for his Cabinet and, in the present circumstances, few would refuse. I think that we’ll see people of the stature of Warren Buffett and Colin Powell. And, if they don’t serve directly, Obama will listen to their advice on the younger person who is selected. I would be shocked if his cabinet is doctrinaire or mediocre.

I think that Obama’s election is also very healthy for the U.S. in world terms. The U.S. stands for both good and bad in world terms. While U.S. economic dominance has faded, it is still the leading world nation and leadership from the U.S. is important. Obama is in a position to provide such leadership in a way that would have been impossible for McCain.

In this context, the climate wars seem like small beer. Clearly an Obama win will be welcomed by Gore-ites, though my sense is that Obama will steer his own course. I also think that there are several other imperatives driving economic policy in the direction of reducing U.S. economic dependence on oil and especially imported oil. Will there will be end to the generation-long embargo on nuclear power construction in the United States in an Obama administration? Surely that should be one of the first topics on the agenda. For climate change activists, it is one of the few ways to seriously dent CO2 emissions; for people worried about foreign oil, it’s one of the few ways to seriously reduce dependence on foreign energy. If something better comes along, so be it, but right now, in Ontario, we’re dependent on nuclear stations designed and built in the 1970s and my guess is that people in the 2040s and 2050s will appreciate any nuclear power plants built in the next 10 years.

Margaret Wente, a Toronto columnist with American roots (who’s written kindly about me and whom I often agree with), wrote yesterday before the election: “Americans are about to get their country back”, at least in the sense that U.S. politics of the next 4 to 8 years are going to be less acrimonious than the politics of the last 16 years and that its leadership will accorded the respect that it deserves, both in the world and in the country. The graciousness of last night’s speeches by both McCain and Obama was a big step in this direction.

209 Comments

  1. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    Comments on this thread will probably be open for one day only. After that, politics will be off limits again.

  2. jae
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    I sure hope you are right. A LOT rides on it.

  3. Lance
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    For the first time in my life I voted for a Democratic presidential candidate, although I hadn’t voted for a Republican either for over twenty years.

    Obama has an intelligence and grace that I found overwhelmingly appealing. Also since McCain embraced the climate change orthodoxy it removed that issue from consideration in my choice.

    I hope his call to unity is genuine and that he will resist the most strident leftists in the Democratic Party that surely are envisioning a massive reconstruction of the American political landscape.

    America sits on the precipice of a new era. I am hopeful that Obama will draw on the best and brightest, regardless of political ideology, to find solutions to the large and daunting challenges we face as a nation.

  4. R DeWitt
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    It is amusing that everyone seems to project on Obama his own hopes and preferences. SM does so, to some extent, with regard to Obama’s policy regarding climate change. This ability to seem to be all things to all people is a not insignificant factor in Obama’s success in winning the election. However, there would seem to be a rather great risk of disillusionment when the time comes at which actual decisions must be made. Well, let’s hope for an outcome with which we all can live.

    • Follow the Money
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

      Re: R DeWitt (#4),

      It is amusing that everyone seems to project on Obama his own hopes and preferences.

      And in his book he states this flatly.

      But should not the discussion here be global warming? Obama is about the biggest cap and trader there can be. His opening move will be pushing a cap and trade bill in Congress. Robert Kennedy, another cap and trade guy, will be his point man.

      When I say biggest I am not exaggerating. People razz Al Gore for claiming to have invented the internet – he did not, but passed laws that helped it thrive. Obama, on the other hand, actually financed the Chicago Climate Exchange. How? The Exchange was invented by huge grants from Chicago’s Joyce Foundation–on whose board Obama sat as an officer. Obama voted to invent the Chicago Climate Exchange. Sound wild? 100% true.

      Plus all the Wall Street traders’ money went to Obama. They want to play with carbon derivatives and other exotic carbon-based financial instruments. Bush had his money men to pay back after 2000, Obama is no different.

      Expect to see Bobby Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, and the Governator to be in the media over and over denouncing climate change and carbon trades deniers. Obama will need that level of support to get his baby through.

  5. Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Steve, perhaps you can serve in the new American administration as a Climate Czar. Nominations for important positions are being solicited in the next week! Interestingly for future funding opportunities (NSF, NASA, etc), many professors dealing with climate and hurricanes (!) were maxed-out contributors to the Obama campaign. I sense a boon for climate scientists and their research has just begun, which many in the field have long awaited. Being on the record with $2500 in campaign contributions (especially during the primary) should go a long way in getting these coveted new administration positions…

    “I’ve talk to you all before about the weather and climate transition document (see below). I’m already getting calls from Obama transition leaders for our list of nominees. This is your last chance to make nominations for key weather and climate positions in the next administration through this process. The transition document partners will be reviewing the nominations on 10 Nov and providing our list to the Obama people on 12 Nov. Please think hard about this. Leadership is what will make the difference for our community.”

    Jack D. Fellows Corporate Affairs VP & UCAR Office of Programs Director

    One page summary: http://www.ucar.edu/td/

    12 page transition paper with specific program, management, and budget recommendations:
    http://www.ucar.edu/td/transition.pdf
    Nomination page: http://www.ucar.edu/td/nominations.shtml

    • JamesG
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

      Re: Ryan Maue (#5)
      Very odd that UCAR list of recommendations. The title says let’s “make our nation resilient to severe weather and climate change”, then the article seems to argue a pretty good case for adaptation. But the recommendations they make are about spending money purely on observations, computers, modeling and education. How on earth does that make a nation resilient to severe weather and climate change? If they believe they’ve made their case already and that there is no doubt, then surely they should be saying that it’s time to stop looking at the data and start doing something more concrete. It’s clearly just a call to keep the gravy train rolling on. Ok 9 billion does seems like small change compared to the bailout rewards for incompetence, but then again the cost of the ITER nuclear fusion research is 10 billion and seemingly everyone was complaining about it. Not that there’s much money left to do anything anyway. It may be a quiet 4 years.

  6. Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    What R DeWitt said.

    There must be a name for this phenomena, and surely it has occurred before. What does history tell us?

    President-elect B. Obama’s To-Do List is one of the longest I’ve ever seen. It’s way too long. All of it will not work out. And it leads to the possibility that very little of it will work out. One of the keys to success is focus.

    Plus what Tom Vonk said.

  7. crosspatch
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    It is time for another generation of Americans to understand why government isn’t the answer to every problem. Only those over 45 years of age understand the Jimmy Carter administration from an adult perspective. A younger generation is about to learn the same lesson. Government isn’t the answer. Generally, government is the problem.

  8. Jim B
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    In the end it will make no difference which one won, the machine will continue,

    1. Taxes will go up.
    2. CO2 will remain a scape goat for a fictitious crisis.
    3. NGO’s and other Alarmists groups will have even MORE power in politics.
    4. Bureaucratic corruption will remain.

    And I’m an optimist.

  9. RomanM
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    Steve, you say: “Clearly an Obama win will be welcomed by Gore-ites, though my sense is that Obama will steer his own course”. I hope this could be true. However, from the Barack Obama web site, we get a document which states

    Global warming is real, is happening now and is the result of human activities. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we have a moral, environmental, economic and security imperative to tackle climate change in a serious, sustainable manner.

    Reduce Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2050: Barack Obama and Joe Biden support implementation of a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. They will start reducing emissions immediately in his administration by establishing strong annual reduction targets, and they will also implement a mandate of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

    A cap-and-trade program draws on the power of the marketplace to reduce emissions in a cost-effective and flexible manner. Under the program, an overall national cap on carbon emissions is established. The emissions allowed under the cap are divided up into individual allowances that represent the permission to emit that amount. Because the emissions cap restricts the amount of pollution allowed, allowances that give a company the ability to pollute take on financial value. Companies are free to buy and sell allowances in order to continue operating in the most profitable manner available to them. Those that are able to reduce pollution at a low cost
    can sell their extra allowances to companies facing high costs. Each year the number of allowances will decline to match the required annual reduction targets.

    Maybe, one of the few positives to come out of the recent economic crisis is the fact that it is likely to put the brakes on the implementation of carbon taxes and carbon trading – moves which could do even greater damage to the world economy.

  10. Andrew
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    Barack Obama’s election is only a good thing if you are a leftist with visions of socialist grandeur.

    The reality is that the Democrats, who are now increasing their control of the U.S. gov’t, have little interest in governing in a prudent, let alone ethical, way.

    That leaves the rest of us little people to try and keep our little pieces of the USA together. Our jobs just got harder.

  11. ED
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    Most countries in the world have learned that socialism does not work including Russia. America has decided to give it another attempt. It’s delusional to think that this administration would even respond to someone like Steve. There will be little attention paid to reviewing Climate Science. James Hansen will head up implementing EPA rules that will classify CO2 as a pollutant. That will effectively eliminate petrochemical, coal and steel industries in the USA and commit the USA to aggressive Kyoto style targets. Democratically connected firms will make huge profits selling carbon offsets including the one started by Al Gore. Policies you can expect to see implemented in the next 4 years: 1) no new nukes (Harry Reid does not want the waste in his state) 2) no new coal plants, 3) huge amounts of money spent on new energy technologies that do not get implemented and make no dent in reducing oil dependence. Energy costs will go up, coal jobs will be eliminated, Auto companies will be bankrupted. The federal gov will regulate your ability to cut your grass using a gas powered lawn mower and your every exhale will be considered pollution. More companies leave the USA to manufacture offshore. Taxes will go up, the economy will stagnate and people will start to remember what it was like living in the Carter era when Democrats controlled all three houses of government. Consider this the continuation of the bankrupting of America that began with the bail out of Wall Street.

  12. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

    Frankly I’m quite scared about the coming Obama administration. Many of both his supporters and his advisers are just loony and worse, apparently not faking their looniness. However we’ll see how things work out. I’m not sure, however, if we’ll be better off if he goes slow on his agenda in hopes of being re-elected or moves quickly and creates lots of opposition.

  13. Robinedwards
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

    Surely it’s time for a /carefully/ worded letter to Obama, setting out as simply as possible exactly why he should beware of the advisers and advice that seemed to inform Bush’s ideas on climate and its future path. Reading Viscount Monckton’s recent Open Letter to McCain would make a good starting point for anyone who adheres to the doom and disaster scenario propounded by the Hansen crowd, and you know who else. However, this letter is far too long for a busy politician. They like a few hundred words at most with a spectacular diagram or two!

    Who could write another, and shorter, letter roughly on the lines of V. Monckton’s very long one? I couldn’t – too easily deflected into minutiae I fear. But surely, someone in CA could. (I hope)

    Robin

    • John A
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

      Re: Robinedwards (#13),

      Speaking as a Briton, I was embarassed by Monckton’s letter to McCain. But I don’t expect many people here to understand why.

  14. Rejean Gagnon
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    I expect R deWitt at #4 is correct. Our success here in Canada is very much tied to the success of our great neighbours to the South.
    I agree that Sen McCain’s speech was extraordinarily gracious, and that the campaign was ugly in many regards – but very much so from the left camp as well (Joe the Plumber, Sarah Palin come to mind especially).
    I did not see Obama’s victory speech, but I can agree that his victory is historic from a cultural prespective, although I do not share or approve of his ideology.

    Steve: Rejean, I see that a couple of Montreal radio comedians had an amusing prank call with Sarah Palin.

  15. M. Villeger
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    President Obama just has to solve the global economic crisis, a couple of wars, terrorism and save the planet. Fortunately, in his acceptance speech, he warned his audience that this may take “more than one term”. I always welcome a realist.

  16. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

    fixing some problems may take “more than one year and more than one term”

    That’s not humble, that’s campaigning for re-election.

  17. stan
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    “Americans are about to get their country back.”

    The stupidity underlying that statement is exceeded only by its slanderous mendacity.

  18. Wade
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

    No country has brought more prosperity and freedom to its people and neighbors in the history of man. If you think that America has been headed the wrong way of late you need to rethink your adoration of Obama.

    For decades the US has been trending liberal. If a liberal agenda cannot be passed via democratic means, the judiciary has stepped up and overruled its own citizens on contentious issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Taxes and US spending have continued to grow out of control and is becoming increasingly socialistic.

    Indeed ,the economic crisis facing the world is a direct consequence of that socialist initiative called the “Community Reinvestment Act” signed by Pres. Carter and enhanced to the tune of a trillion dollars by Pres. Clinton.

    If you want to reverse America’s trend, you need to go to the right not further to the left.

  19. Johan i Kanada
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    Obama is the quintessential “ME” candidate (and now president).
    - He has spent his whole political life building up his own image.
    - He has written two autobiographies, but no major legislation.
    - When he talks about “us” and what “we” will do, he means his own campaign, and, more specifically, what HE will do (or wants to do). This continued last night. He talked about “we”, as it he meant the whole US population, but in reality this is also HE.
    - Look at the faces of his admirers, they see HIM, with capital letters.
    - It is all the “royal we”, it’s all Obama.

    Of course this is a historic moment, a black man is elected US president for the first time. It certainly shows that the US is more open and tolerant than, let’s say, Canada. From a US race relations perspective, this could turn out to be truly great moment. And for this I am happy.

    But in terms of policies? In terms of character? I am not impressed. Fortunately, the Reps have more than 40 senate seats, so the filibuster brake is still there.

    Well, perhaps Obama tries to be a centrist. In which case a lot of people will be disappointed (cmp the woman who expects to Obama to pay for her car and mortgage).

    Interesting times ahead, indeed.

  20. Johan i Kanada
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

    Obama is the quintessential “ME” candidate (and now president).
    - He has spent his whole political life building up his own image.
    - He has written two autobiographies, but no major legislation.
    - When he talks about “us” and what “we” will do, he means his own campaign, and, more specifically, what HE will do (or wants to do). This continued last night. He talked about “we”, as it he meant the whole US population, but in reality this is also HE.
    - Look at the faces of his admirers, they see HIM, with capital letters.
    - It is all the “royal we”, it’s all Obama.

    Of course this is a historic moment, a black man is elected US president for the first time. It certainly shows that the US is more open and tolerant than, let’s say, Canada. From a US race relations perspective, this could turn out to be truly great moment. And for this I am happy.

    But in terms of policies? In terms of character? I am not impressed. Fortunately, the Reps have more than 40 senate seats, so the filibuster brake is still there.

    Well, perhaps Obama tries to be a centrist. In which case a lot of people will be disappointed (cmp the woman who expects to Obama to pay for her car and mortgage).

    Interesting times, indeed.

  21. Johan i Kanada
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    Sorry for the duplicate. Got an error message and posted again.

  22. Gary
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    I’ll not add to what I believe are correct assessments that this election was a step backwards (regardless of who won, btw). That said, I will comment on these two “scenarios:”

    Obama is in a position to call on the best and most competent Americans for his Cabinet and, in the present circumstances, few would refuse. I think that we’ll see people of the stature of Warren Buffett and Colin Powell. And, if they don’t serve directly, Obama will listen to their advice on the younger person who is selected. I would be shocked if his cabinet is doctrinaire or mediocre.

    If we see Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and/or Governor Deval Patrick appointed to high posts, then the doctrinaire and mediocre will have taken hold.

    I think that U.S. politics of the next 4 to 8 years are going to be less acrimonious than the politics of the last 16 years.

    Probably yes, but for two less obvious reasons: 1) the losers this time are by-and-large less likely to express the same level of hatred that has been heaped on the outgoing administration, 2) Democrat politicians are already calling for suppression of free speech by resurrecting the ironically-named Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting.

  23. Andy
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

    There is the hard way and the wrong way. The US just chose the wrong way and I suspect will live to regret choosing a talented speaker with little intellect to back it up.

  24. Allencic
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    I predict that within six months of Obama’s inauguration the U.S.A. will experience the greatest case of “buyer’s remorse” in the history of the nation. It won’t matter that he’s the FIRST black President, but it will matter that its obvious he’s the WORST President.

  25. Rod
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    Steve, great website.

    Thanks for the chance to vent.

    One of the unmentioned battles which will ensue is gun control.
    Democratic candidates cautiously avoided the issue during their
    campaigns because it would awaken the opposition’s voters to the
    xandidates real intentions, but now, with control firmly in hand,
    there won’t be much to stop them from passing sweeping controls
    and bans which violate the US Constitution and the law.

    This is going to get ugly before 2010, when voter retribution
    returns one of the houses of Congress to the Republicans.

  26. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    #12. Who knows what will happen? Sure, lots of Obama’s supporters are offputting. But the economic crisis puts a lot of constraints on what’s going to happen and I’d be surprised if the U.S. ends up with a hard-left Cabinet and administration. But you never never know.

    In policy terms, and I’m just chatting here, it seems to me that cap-and-trade type policies only make sense if there’s some kind of technological result that you’re trying to encourage. Cap-and-trade arose out of policies relating to SO2 emissions – something that I know about from my experience in the copper business (copper smelters were major SO2 point sources). Cap-and-trade had some purpose in that context.

    The point of my thread was to encourage people to try to think about climate, peak oil, current account deficits and Chinese/Middle Eastern investment funds in the same sentence.

    My frustration with the climate industry is their inability to provide a clear engineering quality A-to-B explanation of how doubled CO2 leads to a big problem and that so much depends either on arm-waving or poorly described and articulated models. As Warren Buffett said, Beware of geeks bearing formulas. The promoters often detract from selling their message effectively by their angriness – people like Pierrehumbert, Schmidt and Tamino are obvious examples. Obama seems mercifully free of that sort of pettiness.

    But regardless of whether any of these folks are right or wrong, I happen to think that energy future is going to bite us first and possibly related economic issues have already bit.

  27. Joel
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    America and the world are about to get what they asked for. A government directed by those who are more concerned with fairness and equality of opinions for all, rather than the rule of law and the supremacy of objective fact.

  28. mpaul
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    For the political left, CO2 a proxy for capitalism.

    Sy Dogood wrote:

    Recent satellite data showing rapidly declining temperatures in the tropical troposphere (that part of the atmosphere most affected by CO2) are leading some misinformed scientists to question the truth about global warming. Weak and undisciplined minds are now openly questioning the computer models that show that man is responsible for climate change. Wild and fantastic theories, like those suggesting that cyclical variations in sun spot activity are a major cause of climate variability, are sweeping across the internet, promoted by unauthorized scientist. If this cooling trend continues, it could undermine the political will necessary to save the planet from global warming. Therefore, urgent action is required while there is still time.

    I propose that we enact five simple, clear thinking steps to ensure that those of us who put our planet first gain the tools needed to combat climate change.

    First, since man is responsible for global warming it is necessary to careful regulate our population. Therefore, a strict prohibition, limiting families to no more than one child, must be enacted.

    Second, since transportation is a chief producer of greenhouse gases, restrictions on travel must be implemented. Common people wishing to travel beyond the boundaries of their assigned home towns must apply for and receive travel permits. Similarly, passports shall be surrendered to the authorities. International travel will be approved on a case by case basis and only for those approved scientist, government officials and thought leaders (like me) attending climate change symposia, conducting field research or otherwise engaging in the business of saving the planet.

    Third, strict curbs on private property must be enacted. In particular, the government shall confiscate all private homes (a major contributor the green house gases) and redistribute housing to ensure proper habitation density based on need. Generous housing limits of 250 square feet per person will be applied. Large existing homes will be reassigned for occupation by multiple families. Exceptions shall be granted for government officials, approved scientist or thought leaders, who require more space to host after-hours meetings on urgent climate change topics. All private automobiles will be outlawed (except for those needed by government officials, approved scientists and though leaders) to ensure that the common people use more efficient public transportation.

    Additionally, all private enterprise must be federalized. Climate Economists observe that private corporations produce “externalities”, i.e., climate impacts that, while difficult to measure or observe, are known to exist by approved climatologist. Corporate taxes are insufficient to pay for environmental remediation of such externalities. Only our government can properly manage the complexities of today’s businesses and their impacts on the environment.

    Forth, strict regulation on information must be enforced. While all citizens will continue to enjoy read-only access to the Internet, only government officials, approved scientists and thought leaders with have write access. This is necessary to ensure that the common people, who do not possess the intellect needed to interpret information in today’s complex world, are not subjected to Falsehoods that could lead them to non-aligned conclusions.

    Fifth, the two party political system must be outlawed. This will ensure that unauthorized thinking can no longer interfere with the important work of saving the planet.

    Climate scientists now know, with absolute certainty, how the climate works. Unlike other physical systems, our climate is driven entirely by a causality agent of barely detectable intensity (in this case, anthropogenic CO2) and for which the magnitude of the effect is substantially independent of the intensity of the cause. Under such circumstances, it is foolish to insist on “evidence” that anthropogenic CO2 is causing climate change, as some lesser scientists are now demanding. Such evidence, naturally, lies well below the current level of measurability. And if we wait until its impact is measurable, it will be too late! Instead, climate scientists properly rely on computer models which are known by the elite climate scientist to be more accurate than observed reality. This is why the satellite data must be rejected – it does not match the computer models and therefore, is wrong. Only those possessing sophisticated knowledge of climate science can understand this.

    The ideas that I outline are not new. Nor are they my own – enlightened environmentalists have been discussing these concepts for many years. We in the environmental community have been making incremental progress in enacting this agenda. But, given the magnitude of the problem and the erosion of the political will, it is necessary to accelerate the implementation of this plan. Please join me in enacting this urgent plan before it is too late.

  29. Matthew Drabik
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    Obama believes in experts and is likely to achieve the same sort of results as the experts at the IPCC. His administration will be praised and admired by the self-appointed intelligencia. However, his assumptions are incongruent with reality and eventually the seams will show. Regardless, today I congratulate my new President-elect (as a proud member of the Loyal Opposition).

  30. Richard deSousa
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    I’m pessimistic… Obama seems to believe CO2 is a pollutant and he wants to drive the coal industry to bankruptcy which will be catastrophic… the hubris of the liberal elite and our importance in the natural world is breathless. A Dalton Minimum event will bring all this nonsense to an end.

  31. UK John
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    For race equality the election of Obama must be a good thing, and be welcomed. A fitting end to the terrible injustices of slavery and race discrimination.

    How he gets on as a leader, and whether he makes the right decisions, only history will judge.

    My own Crystal Ball has become cloudy as I have got older, so I wish him well, but we have to wait and see.

    Events, dear boy, events. As Macmillan wisely noted, nothing pushes a government off-course faster than events.

  32. jerry
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    This election could have been closer and McCain possibly could have won had not we had the economic meltdown when it occurred. The Democrats are just as culpable if not more culpable in creating this mortgage mess by using Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to give loans to people that were high risk to keep the dream alive. The general population blamed the Republicans for this and gave the Democrats a free pass. It really ticks me off that folks like Barney Frank can’t own up to their responsibility in this mess and actually, in a round about way, get rewarded. I am not optimistic about the future of the new socialism here.

  33. Patrick M.
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    I don’t think the consequences of an Obama presidency are going to be as bad for the U.S. as they will be for Israel.

    As Joe Biden said, if Obama wins he will be tested within 6 months.

  34. Bob Moss
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    One tiny bit of hope I see with Obama is that he uses the term “global warming” instead of “climate change”. I hope that indicates that he has based his views on the evidence as he sees it as opposed to adopting “climate change” as a useful ideaological position.

    Maybe he is open to changing his position in the light of new evidence and research. But then again I am a skeptic so I really dont see much hope for change.

    Ahhh … the audacity of hope.

  35. rk
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    According to Grist, Obama says:

    - Nuclear is not a great option.

    - He would use “whatever tools are necessary to stop new dirty coal plants from being built in America — including a ban on new traditional coal facilities.”

    - Generally opposes opening additional U.S. waters to offshore oil drilling…

    - Calls for getting 10% of U.S. electricity from renewables by 2012, and 25% by 2025…

    Maybe this is his campaign rhetoric, or maybe not. Time will tell.

  36. Richard deSousa
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    Jerry, I couldn’t have said it better. Both parties were equally culpable for the economic meltdown, but to hear the Democrats tell it they are as pure as the driven snow. One only needs to Google Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to learn of the events which led to the latest October economic fiasco.

  37. navy bob
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    Based on other political comments you’ve made, I expected something like this from you after the election. Still, it’s hard to understand how somehow with your obvious intelligence and insight surpassing all others into the AGW scam could write something so absurdly wrong. The new President-to-be is going to lead the charge to slay the fictional global warming dragon through confiscatory taxes, dictatorial government controls and legalized piracy from the army of litigators poised to launch the mother of all class action suits – with the world’s biggest companies as defendants and everybody on the planet as victims. This is the greatest disaster that has ever befallen America – the latest (but unfortunately not the last) manifestation of a slow-motion socialist coup d’etat that has been underway since the 1930s.

    And though this is a much smaller error on your part, it’s still disheartening to see that you like so many others can’t tell the difference between electricity and petroleum-derived fuels. We import petroleum to make gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel – not to produce electricity. Nuclear power plants make electricity, not transportation fuels. There’s no relationship between the two. We have plenty of electricity (that is until the new President bankrupts the coal industry as he’s promised to do). We can build a nuclear power plant (or the equivalent million windmills) in every county in the country and it wouldn’t reduce our oil imports by one barrel. Yes there are plenty of schemes to make hydrogen with nuke-powered electricity and build fleets of electric cars, but the H-fuel infrastructure doesn’t exist, and all-electric cars don’t sell because they can’t go far enough with today’s (barely) affordable battery technology. Practically speaking, petroleum is all we’ve got for transportation fuel, and although the US could easily eliminate all oil imports in ten years with coal liquefaction, the odds of the new enviro-socialist dictatorship allowing that to happen are far less even than the chances that they’ll pay the slightest attention to you.

  38. Wade
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    But the economic crisis puts a lot of constraints on what’s going to happen and I’d be surprised if the U.S. ends up with a hard-left Cabinet and administration. But you never never know.

    Well he’s off to a swell start with his selection of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanual. It doesn’t get much harder to the left than that.

  39. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

    #35. IMO you have to take a lot of rhetorical positions with a grain of salt. And the economic crisis gives a good reason to rethink many such positions. Even if he said, nuclear isn’t a “great option”, I don’t think that sort of statement precludes getting nuclear off the dime.

    In my opinion, it makes sense to canvass renewables. I haven’t studied the supply side issues on getting electricity from renewables, but I’d be astonished if they could yield 10% by 2012 or 25% by 2025.

    The responsibilities of office tend to focus people’s minds and, if this sort of prior statement proves to be nothing more than a pious platitude, then this will become clear to reasonable people regardless of anything that they might have said on earlier occasions.

    Obama’s in a better position to deal with left-wing disappointments on this sort of issue than McCain would have been – sort of like Nixon recognizing Communist China a generation ago.

    • JamesG
      Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 6:04 AM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#41),
      “In my opinion, it makes sense to canvass renewables. I haven’t studied the supply side issues on getting electricity from renewables, but I’d be astonished if they could yield 10% by 2012 or 25% by 2025.”

      Since you’ve allowed policy here I’ll take the opportunity to mention that Spain has already achieved 10% minimum and 30% maximum from wind power alone. The idea that x, y, or z isn’t do-able is often pure disinformation, largely emanating I suspect from the nuclear lobby rather than the fossil fuels lobby.

      Now consider that about 15% of our electricity goes towards lighting by inefficient incandescent bulbs and that new led bulbs can do the same job for about 1/8 of the power. Next consider that our home heating and cooling needs could largely be met by geothermal heat pumps and so would save us all chunks of money while removing an enormous burden to the system. Lastly I’ll add that the use of electric cars for short runs, could be charged largely free at night because the stations are wasting fuel running on base load anyway. None of these are difficult, nor would they lead to any conflict between reds and blues. Hence I’m only hoping that the more mature and clever people move away from their serially flawed ideologies, whether it’s free-market bilge or anti-capitalist claptrap, and onto something actually useful with all-party support: a sound energy policy.

  40. Eddy
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

    I would be shocked if his cabinet is doctrinaire or mediocre.

    I am afraid your optimism is already being proven wrong. Obama has named Rahm Emanuel, a rabidly left-wing partisan Congressman as his Chief of Staff. Not exactly an olive branch to Republicans.

    • Wade
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

      Re: Eddy (#41),

      Not exactly “change” either.

    • Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

      Re: Eddy (#41),
      Isn’t Rahm Emmanuel the congressman that told Republicans to go -BLEEP- themselves? As you mentioned, this is not an olive branch. The Republicans should take notes on how to run the Congress when you are in the majority because I don’t think the Democrats intend on any power sharing or making concessions.

  41. N
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    I’m half way through reading Obama’s first book. I recommend it highly, especially to people who do not support Obama.

    I predict that the problem with getting a sane policy on global warming will not be convincing Obama himself, but rather in convincing his advisers and the general and scientific media. If you can’t convince the scientific community, how can you expect to convince the politicians?

  42. Paulus
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    Watching the celebrations on TV today in Germany, I had a distinct feeling of déja vu. Tony Blair started out adored by one and all – at least in the UK – in 1997. His campaign song: “Things can only get better …”

    Young, articulate, decent, attractive, attractive wife, attractive family. A nice guy. A thoroughly good egg.

    His honeymoon with the press and the electorate lasted surprisingly long – several years in fact. But it came to an end, as he himself knew it would. It was Iraq that did for him, politically. But if it hadn’t of been that it would have been something else.

    As Enoch Powell, another British politician, said: “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs”.

    It happened with Tony Blair. It’ll happen with Barack Obama.

    Hey – but that’s tomorrow. In the meantime, the good guys won. Let’s celebrate today, while we can.

    • Andrew Cochrane
      Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

      Re: Paulus (#44),

      Cherie Blaire, attractive?!!! Well, there is no accounting for taste.

    • Tom Vonk
      Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

      Re: Paulus (#43),

      Yes , indeed .
      As the chance had it , I was making a 3 weeks trip to SW US in october .
      What would one do in the hotel room in the evening ?
      Well watch Obama . Then read Obama in the morning newspapers . Then to be harassed by Obama supporters on San Francisco streets before they notice that I am not American .
      I was already rather knowledgeable about US history , economy and politics but I became an expert on Obama .

      And as this thread was opened on the blog I use to read and comment , I thought to share what a European got in 3 weeks of US campaign .

      1) It was massive . It was uncomfortably massive . The americans have no experience with that but Europeans know well what massive propaganda means .
      Obama’s image (note that I say image) has been massively communicated .
      .
      2) It was asymmetrical . It was uncomfortably asymmetrical . McCain was strangely nice while the Obama’s people (less so Obama himself) were slaughtering both McCain and Bush . As for the way they treated Palin it was disgracious and far beyond the bounds of civilised decency . I couldn’t understand why McCain didn’t hit harder , why he didn’t strike Obama with dubious and quite frightening concepts like this “national guard” and many others . McCain was a weak candidate . I imagine that R.Reagan would have wiped the floor with Obama if he had to oppose him .
      .
      3)
      Then the impression du déjà vu . Obama’s campaign was a carbon copy of the campaign of French socialist President Mitterrand . It is not surprising that americans didn’t make the connection because they generally know little about history but it was clearly there . The same themes of “change” , of “historical event” , of “messianic providence and charisma” . It has been even said and written that with him France and Europe “will leave the darkness to come into the light” . Obama apparently didn’t use this formula for obvious reasons .
      But then there was also the famous fine print – the so called “101 propositions”.
      People didn’t bother to read and those who did , said that he would never implement it or that he couldn’t really mean it .
      People preferred to trust the self projected image rather than what the person really said .
      Error common enough but one that had in the history always the farthest reaching consequencies .
      Because Mitterrand meant it and tried to implement it .
      2 years later and after 3 devaluations , France stood on the brink of economical and political chaos .
      The lesson was learned and Mitterand’s party , then dominant , has irreversibly declined .
      .
      4)
      What did it was when Obama said that “the Constitution was fatally flawed .”
      I must repeat it one more time : the Constitution was fatally flawed
      At that moment all the alarm bells and warning lights went on .
      How is it possible that rationnaly thinking people don’t jump to the ceiling when hearing that ?
      I mean if there is something historical then it is that for the first time in 200 years somebody utters such an enormity !
      This guy is negating in few words everything the USA were for 200 years and were grounded on .
      Such a guy should normally get 10 % of votes and even that would be cause for concern .
      Even if I am not american , unfortunately I will also have to suffer the consequences now .
      .
      Steve McI you were very right to do this thread .
      Not because of your opinion because for me your interpretation disagrees with the facts but because it will bear witness .
      In 2 years (because it will take about 2 years) , people will be able to come back and read it to see that not everybody has been like those 3 chinese monkeys – I don’t see , I don’t hear , I don’t speak .

      • DeWitt Payne
        Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

        Re: Tom Vonk (#205),

        Presidential Oath of Office:

        I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

        Draw your own conclusions.

  43. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    Since I have only one day to contemplate and write this post, I will try to be succinct and to the point.

    After 48 years of parading to the polls and faithfully voting in all elections, this year I took a pass. In fact I took a pass from listening to the inane babbling of all the candidates and believe me when I say I feel much better for it. In my view, we have system that needs major repairs and that will not be accomplished by one or even several people putting band aids over the problems. I am not bitter or angry, as I see more and more young people from the intellectual world who do not view the government as a be all and end all and it is with them that my hopes are directed. I see intellectual ideas as the basis of change and not the political activity of voting. Do not take this criticism as unique for the US as in my judgment it goes in spades for the rest of the world, i.e. I will not contemplate burdening Canada with my presence as some of my more liberal friends and relatives did when Bush won last time.

    I do not see the predicted direction of President Obama’s as being much different than business as usual – if I read correctly his more serious policy statements as opposed to his strictly political silliness.

    Iraq nation building under Bush will become Afghanistan nation building under Obama. The Bush crisis in Iraq, for which the Democrats and others correctly criticized that administration for its cost and the deficit spending required, will become the Obama crisis with health care, unemployment, the economy and perhaps even Afghanistan with the same disregard for the long term problems with deficit spending and the lack of responsibilities that represents for future generations. With Obama’s media consensus, as contrasted with its rather dim view of Bush, fewer obstacles and questions will be put in the way of Obama’s programs.

    When an economist like Roubini can criticize the US public for being spendthrifts and turn around and propose the US government spend 450 billion dollars, I think Obama will not have to look far for a consensus for his programs from the “experts”.

  44. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    #42. The issues are entirely scientific, which is why I don’t normally allow policy discussions.

    I happen to agree that people who think that climate change is not a problem need to convince a broader scientific community. As I’ve said on many occasions, if I had a policy job, I would take advice from knowledgeable institutions regardless of what I might think on a personal basis. (Having said that I would also do what I could to make the due diligence and quality of advice from the institutions. Like many readers, I’m put off by what seems to be too much arm waving. And I’ve done what I can from this forum to encourage less arm waving.)

    People have said to me – if the HS is wrong, then the situation is much worse than we think. My answer is – well, then we should find out and govern ourselves accordingly. And others beside me should be interested in finding out if it is wrong and you should be highly critical of people who obstruct investigation of this question by withholding data.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#46),

      People have said to me – if the HS is wrong, then the situation is much worse than we think. My answer is – well, then we should find out and govern ourselves accordingly. And others beside me should be interested in finding out if it is wrong and you should be highly critical of people who obstruct investigation of this question by withholding data.

      Steve M, you make this statement about “if the HS is wrong we are in worst trouble” quite frequently, but I do not understand the reasoning involved. If the HS is wrong, in the sense that I would contemplate it being wrong, then we would conclude that we do not really know with any reasonable degree of certainty what the past climate was nor whether or how unique the current climate is. Without the HS we have the climate models, but those predictions are considered independent of the HS as far as I have read.

  45. mpaul
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    I think Obama could be a great president if he governs from the center. I think he could restore the American brand that has been damaged in recent years and restore a sense of optimism for the future. If, on the other hand, he drives a hard left agenda, then I think he will be a one term failed President and the country will be left even more divided.

    I have to say that I find Obama to be an enigma. His record is certainly hard left. His policy position are hard left. His political sponsors have been as hard left as any to be found in US politics. Yet he presents a very compelling centrist image. The question on my mind: is he an ideologue or has his political resume been forged by simple expediency?

    I support my new president and I feel proud that we have delivered on the American promise. I just hope that he moves to the center.

  46. LIA
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    Obama -
    Endorsed by Hamas
    Endorsed by Iran
    Endorsed by Nation of Islam
    Endorsed by All the climate loonies

    Obama -
    Friend of self-proclaimed terrorist Ayers

    Obama -
    Called his grandmother (the one who brought him up after his parents abandoned him) a racist to exonerate the vile comments made by his pastor.

    Obama -
    Said he went to church for 20 years but slept thru the sermons so he did not hear what was said

    Obama -
    Plans to bankrupt the coal companies that provide 50% of the power to the USA
    Plans to drive electricity rates thru the roof
    Raise taxes

    Obama -
    Media darling who will not be held accountable for anything. Dissent will be muzzled and dissenters will be labeled racists

    Steve, I used to be a regular lurker on this site, but bye-bye now

  47. Bob Koss
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    I wonder if the Israelis will feel it necessary to put a crimp in Iran’s nuclear ambitions before Bush leaves office.

  48. Mike B
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    Margaret Wente, a Toronto columnist with American roots (who’s written kindly about me and whom I often agree with), wrote yesterday before the election: “Americans are about to get their country back.” That’s how it looks from here. I think that U.S. politics of the next 4 to 8 years are going to be less acrimonious than the politics of the last 16 years. The graciousness of last night’s speeches by both McCain and Obama was a big step in this direction.

    Balderdash. Obama has chosen Rahm Immanuel, a vicious Clintonite partisan, as his Chief of Staff.

    Obama promised last night to take office with “humility”. I predict that it will be his first broken promise.

  49. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    I think that the U.S. is better off with a leader who’s at the peak of his powers and energy.

    But it was leaders at the peak of their power with energy that gave use Fannie and Freddie, CRA and its amendments, HUD, artificially low interest rates, and the resulting mortgage crisis, and gave us incessant wars and US military presence in 135 countries or so around the world, gave us the boom and bust of the 1920′s and the Smoot-Hawley tariff that led to the Great Depression then extended it with more failed government programs, and extended it even further with more and more failed government programs, etc… etc…

    It is HOW THAT ENERGY IS DIRECTED that makes the difference. Obama’s energy (and McCain’s, for that matter) is directed towards more government, which will inevitably lead to more problems as government has an abysmal track record when attempting to fix social, economic, or environmental problems.

    Less is more. A Laissez-faire approach is what we need now. Instead we are headed in the opposite direction. See YouTube for recent videos from Ron Paul, Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff, Lew Rockwell for more information. These are the guys that I wish could be at the helm.

  50. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    RE 49. Look I disagree with SteveMc on politics, but that doesnt mean we cant find common ground on things like transparency in climate science. If you can’t stand one day of listening to the “other” side, then you have no right to complain when ‘warmers” say the debate is over. Hey Steve are you coming to AGU this winter?

  51. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    re 45. Kenneth. I took a pass to, for the first time in my life. Not sure I am as sanguine about it as you are.

  52. Hank
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

    It’s amusing to me that journalists are now suddenly engaged in speculation about whether Obama will now rule from the center or the left. Hello! Why didn’t you pin him down before the day after the election? Too much time was spent on tangential issues like past associations of Obama.
    One hopes that Obama is not cautious to the point of indecisivness.

  53. trogledyte
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/alston/alston52.html

    The gorilla in the room, that nobody, especially Rothbard fans, can bring themselves to speak about, is the fact that 1.3 billion Chinese are willing to work
    for 50 cents per hour, and we can’t compete with that. We in the US lose our fat industrial manufacturing jobs, and both ourselves and our wife take jobs
    working at Wall mart and cleaning pools. We lose our house because the whole edifice was predicated on the fact that our first world job would continue.
    That failing, the whole thing is coming down. Regardless of the mindless fools that say “we can compete with anyone”- no – we can’t compete with
    people that make 50 cents an hour. That’s not a made up figure. Its literally true. Other baloney like “its not a zero sum game’ and other crap will not alter
    the terrible reality that 150 million Chinese industrial workers making 50 cents an hour will destroy the 15 million US manufacturing workers even at
    minimum wage. Now that the economy is in recession, we are in triple trouble. This is a structural recession, not a periodic one like the ones since the end of world war II.
    Nobody can say this. Nobody that has any standing. “Oh you are a protectionist- a troglodyte” they throw the over ripe fruit, and the man who dares speak the truth
    retreats, but it will not change the reality. There is nothing that education can do about this either. We can pretend we can run an economy in which we all give
    each other haircuts, and that will work for a while, but unless you a mandarin of world trade, one of the masters of the universe, you are screwed. If you are
    a world capitalist, you have left any differential concern for Joe blow on Main street USA behind 30 years ago. “Its a global world, you know”

    The entire sub prime ponzi scheme would still be afloat if the bottom rung still had a good job, and if the default tsunami had not begin. IF the whole thing
    had not been securiticized, the poor slob would either not have been given the loan, or the local bank would have fired its loan officer. He should have just
    gone off quietly and lived in an apartment on his McDonalds wage, and the problem would have been invisible to anybody who mattered. Now, the lie
    that all was fine was converted into concrete financial instruments, and the lie caused atlas to shrug, and all those hedge funds and investment banks with high
    viability gave the lie some visibility. On how they wish that the poor has not just gone off and lived under a bridge somewhere, quietly desperate at their
    declining fortunes, and not involve the masters of the universe in their problems. They can’t compete with 50 cents per hour workers?. Not my problem man-
    as long as they make my cheap stuff, and I am on top of the food chain- that’s their attitude.

    But it’s the lack of the ability to even speak the truth about this that gets me Mad. Even Obama. “American can compete with anybody” “Its not a zero sum Game”
    “Look at Smoot Hawley- free trade is the only intellectually respectable position” …. I frankly have had enough. Even if nobody will chart a course through this, some politician or economist
    can tell me the truth. The last time this sort of thing happened, 1941, we had a world war, and all the chess pieces completely reset for the post war
    environment. During a war, nobody can blame a recession on anybody, because everybody knows, man we are at war, so that excuses the continued hardship-
    and after the war, we have a new slate of winners an losers, determined by the outcome. It that the plan here? Oh God I hope not, but it looks a lot like 1930 to me.

    • Doug Foss
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

      Re: trogledyte (#59), Actually, there are 110 million Chinese living a first world lifestyle, and the other 850 million Chinese have not impaired that lifestyle. Further, I think that you will find if you look that China has lost the greatest number of manufacturing jobs in the last ten years of any nation. We tend to believe that the jobs are going there because labor is cheap, but, in fact, manufacturing jobs are going away because of mechanization, and that has hurt China more than any other country. Manufacturing jobs today are like agricultural jobs at the dawn of the 20th Century. If you had told the 60% of the people who were engaged in agriculture related jobs at that time that just a century later only about 2% of the population would be involved in such activities, your listeners would have been horrified. Seeking to preserve manufacturing jobs in this day and age is like trying to preserve agricultural jobs 100 years ago – a sure prescription for slow economic death. The people I know with factories in China chose to locate them there because development timescales are so much shorter and so much less expensive as a result. They don’t really have enough employees actually on the manufacturing floor to worry about labor costs.

      My concern is in the turn toward entitlement. In a world where the question every day is how to add value that others will pay for, intellectual excellence is a sine qua non. Yet, we proceed as if reducing incentives will somehow benefit us all. A typical American classroom has about 25% screwups who don’t do homework or apply themselves. If we decide that we should top off all students at B+ in order to give the nonperformers B-’s, then I think that the overall contribution of studentts in the class will drop. In other words, the society has less in the aggregate for reducing the incentives for those who work hard. I am concerned that America has turned irrevocably toward fighting among ourselves over the collective wealth, and that process will reduce the wealth and leave most Americans worse off. One cannot have lots of medical care without having the wealth to compensate those providing that care, and security costs money. With less overall to share, the society as a whole suffers.

      I hope that I am wrong, but no entitlement program I know of has ever been terminated (even though the Clinton Adminstration ended welfare as we know it). Our leaders want the same model that New York, California and Michigan state governments embraced some years ago. Are these the only three states having lost population in the last five years? I am not certain how moving to that prescription for society constitutes “getting our country back”.

      • Paul
        Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

        Re: Doug Foss (#85),

        There was an interesting article here about the loss of jobs. Something that the whole planet will need to come to grips with at some point.

  54. bill w
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    “in democracy the majority has the right, it does not, however, mean that the majority is right”

  55. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    What Obama does with the climate may depend on what order of importance is attached to it. He spoke of lofty ambitions. But a media type this morning hit it on the head-”The cupboard is bare”

  56. Jeff C.
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

    As a conservative, I didn’t support Senator Obama and disagree with his policy proposals from both an economic and foreign policy perspective. However, the Republicans had their chance in power and certainly proved they were not up to the task. I think it is noteworthy how the most peaceful/prosperous times in recent US history are with a divided government (Reagan/Dem Congress and Clinton/Rep Congress). This balance of power forces each side to stay true to their principles, which is good for the country.

    As an American, I’m proud we have finally risen to the point where we can embrace an African-American as President. Our country has a proud past that was marred by the terrible injustice of slavery and Jim Crow. We have made a step beyond those dark stains, and that is a good thing despite any policy differences I have with President-elect Obama. That is the message I shared with my five year old, I hope others do likewise.

  57. MarcH
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    Question to 25. Why are you guys so focused on guns? Looking into the fish bowl from afar there seems to be more to be concerned about. You mean to tell me a little regulation in this area wouldn’t help?

    That there is no longer a Bush in the White is a great thing for the US and the rest of the world. While expectations for Obama are great he seems to have the ability to rise to the challenge.

    • Rod
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

      Re: MarcH (#62),

      MarcH, I guess you missed the Clinton years. A little regulation?
      There has been more than enough regulation in this area.

      The lack of discussion concerning gun control goes to the heart of
      this thread: how will Obama and the Democratic House and Senate majorities
      rule? Exactly how they’ve ruled in the past. While there are many new Democrats
      in Congress, the power belongs to the long-timers, Feingold, Shumer, Rangle,
      Kennedy. Not exactly people of restraint.

      And to correct one of the misconceptions previously stated, the posters on this
      blog are not all right-wing/Conservative. I’m libertarian, but end up voting
      mostly for Republicans because they used to represent individual freedom
      and responsibility, and had the ability to get elected. Much of that is no longer
      true :)

      Now, back to lurking and learning. Steve, thanks for the 1-day political outlet.

  58. Stuart Harmon
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    I watched the coverage throughout the last few months and I hope this is not patronising but I think this will be a turning point for the United States whereby it turns into a mature democracy. Both President Elect Obama and McCain appeared to wish to engage with the rest of the world and provide leadership without dicating to other countries.

    It is with sadness to me that in recent years, the Uk instead of being a good critical friend has gone along with things which we should not have done.

    So, all that needs to happen next is instead of wasting money punching at the shadows of man made global warming, the world wakes up and uses it resources to address the real basic needs of the world, clean drinking water, food in peoples bellies and heating. After all its not rocket science.

    Congratulations to those who voted for Mr Obama and commiserations to those who voted for Mr McCain.

  59. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    #59. Don’t forget that currency changes can change things a lot. There’s no intrinsic reason why a haircut in the US is worth $20 and is worth 10 cents in India. At a given rupee exchange, things even out. When I traveled in the 1960s, Japan and even Europe seemed really cheap for someone with dollars in his pocket, even a student.

    Modern technology travels the world rapidly and other parts of the world are going to compete. That doesn’t mean that the US needs to become impoverished. It will do fine, but other countries are catching up, as Japan and Korea did a generation ago.

    There’s no reason why the US couldn’t compete with Japan once again in cars and electronics. But ultimately I don’t see how an American (or Canadian or European) are going to be able to import a barrel of oil from the Middle East for one day’s work if someone from India or China can work just as efficiently and is prepared to work one week for the oil. That’s why I think that energy and economic policy are so intertwined.

  60. Paul
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    I’d recommend everyone go to the Political Compass. You may discover some things about yourself, your political views and those of the candidates you support/don’t support.

    I’d be interested to see where people end up on the scale…

  61. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    Like Kenneth Fritsch, I took a pass on voting for president this election. For H.P. Lovecraft fans, my electoral bumper sticker read:

    Cthulhu 2008
    Why vote for a lesser evil.

    There was no lesser evil in this election cycle. Both major party candidates are seriously flawed. Flawed in completely different ways, but flawed too much for me to vote for either one. Voting for a minor party candidate is pointless, IMO, not that there were any that were worth voting for anyway.

    At the end of a two year campaign, I still have no idea who Obama is and only a vague idea of how he will govern. Much of the responsibility for that lies with the press. They never asked the hard questions or did proper due diligence. They acted as if they were paid agents of the Democratic Party. My prediction is that Obama will deal with the Congress on domestic issues exactly as Bush did while the Republicans were controlling Congress, rubber stamp anything that comes across his desk. I don’t really know if Obama is as hard left as some people think, but I do know that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are very hard left and they will be the ones in charge.

    A McCain administration, OTOH, would have been as bad or worse for the Republican party as Bush has been. McCain is a borderline RINO (Republican In Name Only). He is apparently clueless about economics, or at least very uncomfortable speaking about it. He never promoted his tax cut policy with any enthusiasm and clearly didn’t understand Obama’s policy with sufficient acumen to criticize its many flaws. Think marginal tax rates here. I never heard the subject mentioned. Tax credits that phase out increase marginal tax rates for those who receive the credits. They may be somewhat better off in the short run, but will be worse off in the long run as they keep a much smaller percentage of any increase in their wages.

    The idea that Colin Powell is a competent adviser on anything is a bad joke. He’s a weather vane not a statesman. As Secretary of State, he was immediately captured by the bureaucracy and became their mouthpiece rather than their leader. He apparently wants the job back. He shouldn’t get it, or any other job in government either. Warren Buffett wants what’s good for Warren Buffett, see for example his position on the inheritance tax. Whether that would be good for the country is another question.

    As in the ancient three part Chinese curse, I fear we will be living in interesting times. But with any luck, the Democrats will regret getting nearly everything they wished for. And my hope is that people in high places will not notice me.

  62. Mike Upham
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    There is at least one way that an Obama presidency may be good for the country: it demonstrates uniquivically that race has (finally) become a 2nd-tier issue in America. No other majority-white country has elected a black president, to the best of my knowledge, and given our demographics, you’d expect to see a black president an average of 1 in 9 election cycles. We’ve had a black Secretary of State, a black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, many other blacks in various cabinet posts, etc, etc. That’s all as it should be. So I hope we can lower the rhetoric on that front, and proceed forward as Americans, not as [Insert Your Race/Ethnicity Here] Americans.

    Other than that, though… I’m not optimistic. We’re going to have CO2 declared as a pollutant that the EPA *must* regulate. Cap and trade to put more screws on a damaged economy. Tons of expenditures for inefficient wind power. Meekness that will only make the world a more dangerous place. Redistributionist legislative proposals and “social justice” judges at all levels. FOCA instead of letting states work out that issue. Giveaways on a massive scale, accompanied by accusations that those opposed are hateful, racist, etc. Perhaps a revival of the “Fairness” doctrine, and bullying toward anyone providing an opposition view of things (see various campaign stunts attempting to censor commercials, put certain stations on a black list, etc). Major mucking around with our health care system. More new social programs that will never be sunset.

    Well, we’re going to get what we asked for. I just don’t think we’re (collectively) going to like it nearly as much as we thought we would. But that’s how the pendulum swings.

  63. Paul
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    One other point: The US is governed by its constitution. I think most citizens, and particularly non-citizens, don’t really have an understanding of why it was written the way it was written. It has very specific limitations to the functions of government. It’s based on more mature view of democracy–one where the individual governs themselves.

    I’d recommend everyone spend some time reading the Federalist Papers for a foundational understanding of the Constitution.

  64. Michael Smith
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

    The only good thing about Obama’s victory is that — eventually — we will stop hearing about how all our economic problems are the fault of those laissez-faire Republican capitalists who deregulated everything.

    The current crop of Republicans are NOT laissez-faire, but have instead expanded government at a rate no Democrat has ever achieved.

    They are NOT capitalists, they are statists who pay lip service to capitalism while agreeing with every new regulation demanded by the overtly statist Democrats.

    And they have NOT deregulated anything. In fact, since 1992, over 51,000 new regulations have been added to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), with over 41,000 of those new regulations coming during the period of 1995 – 2005 when the Republicans controlled Congress. The 50 volumes of the CFR now occupy 25 feet of shelf space at the library of Congress.

    If the last remnants of American capitalism are to be extinguished — if we are to actually experience what Ayn Rand called “The Anti-Industrial Revolution” — let it be done openly by the Party that has relentlessly pushed the socialist and environmental agenda. This will be far better than having it done by the Party who claims to defend capitalism but winds up agreeing to implement everything demanded by the left.

    When the horrors arrive, our best hope is that the public be able to clearly and unambiguously see exactly what economic system and what beliefs caused the disaster; and for that to occur, we have to be certain they cannot blame it on capitalism.

  65. Arthur Dent
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    The only joke about Obama that I heard prior to yesterday may turn out to be prescient. Why was Jimmy Carter campaigning so hard for Obama? Because he didn’t want to go in history as the worst US President.

  66. N
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    I’m glad this list is normally closed to politics. There is a lot being said here that is very emotional not very rational. The thing that would discredit AGW skeptics most would be to be pigeonholed as a bunch of rabid right-wingers. AGW skeptics must establish their validity by scientific arguments.

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

      Re: N (#72),

      The thing that would discredit AGW skeptics most would be to be pigeonholed as a bunch of rabid right-wingers.

      [my emphasis]

      Pot, kettle black anyone? Your statement is just as much an emotional, vicious ad hominem attack on those with whom you apparently disagree as anything written above. And of course the statements above are emotional. That’s why politics and religion are banned subjects at most social occasions and normally on this site.

      • N
        Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

        Re: DeWitt Payne (#74),

        My statement was misread (or mis-written). When I said “would be to be pigeonholed as a bunch of rabid right-wingers” I wasn’t talking about my opinions, I was talking about the possible opinions of the people who will need to be convinced that there is a case against AGW. If an AGW zealot sees you have a link to big oil, he may focus on that instead of what you say. If he reads CA and comes to the conclusion (justified or not) that “all skeptics are against AGW because they are right-wing”, then he is apt to not listen to what skeptics have to say. That’s politics, that’s life.

  67. Vernon
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    Actually, my biggest fear is that Obama is going to do what he said, mainly raise taxes and start “New Deal” government infrastructure programs just like FDR did in and drive a recession into a depression. This will all be done as a stimulus for the economy but any student of history can tell you that it was a tax rate increase on the highest earners and then FDR’s “New Deal” that took a world war to get the economy back on track within the US.

    It should be pretty apparent that capitalism works really really well. That is why the US has the most hospital beds to population ratio in the world. It is why the poor in the US are better off than most of the rest of the world. Socialism does not work well, look at economic growth in Europe. The extreme left of the Democratic party which has control of the House and Senate along with the most liberal president since FDR is quite likely to take the country in a direction that his election speeches did not address.

    It will not destroy the country but it will not help either. I fear for democracy when it reaches the point that over half the population is not paying taxes but gets to vote. It looks like the slippery slope that will lead to death of the republic – there is historical precedent.

  68. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    #72. Agreed. This thread will definitely be closed when 24 hours have passed.

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#74),

      I agree too. That’s why I’ve not complained (much) about your velvet-fisted control here. We don’t want every thread taken over by people venting. And I wouldn’t be able to prevent myself being drawn in, either. E.g. every post in this thread by N., whoever s/he is, has irked me and made me want to respond. But I’m able to control myself for 24 Hr.

  69. Andrew
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    I’m glad this list is normally closed to politics. There is a lot being said here that is very emotional not very rational. The thing that would discredit AGW skeptics most would be to be pigeonholed as a bunch of rabid right-wingers. AGW skeptics must establish their validity by scientific arguments.

    The problem is “rabid right-wingers” is just as much of an emotional pot-shot as anything anyone else has posted in this topic. Physician, heal thyself! ;)

  70. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

    Just because we’re allowing some political discussion doesn’t mean that all standards of discourse have been abolished. Words like Marxist and fascist are red-letter delete words.

  71. mbabbitt
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    Sorry, but no one had stolen our country. It was part of the political process, called democracy, and after having been a Bush hater and Leftist early on, today I am a proud conservative and respect deeply President Bush and his perserverance in bringing democracy to Iraq, a country once run by a murderous dictator. This despite his being vilified beyond belief by the liberal media and Leftist pacifists who only believe in fighting if it is against its own democracy. Don’t forget that 25 million people have been freed from a regime who put people through shredders, kept rape rooms, started two wars with its neighbors, and gassed members of his own country. And we freed Afghanistan so that women can actuaully be educated again without the governmental threat of death. Sorry, but I am proud of this country.

  72. jae
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    From an email I received:

    CHICAGO POLITICS

    BODY COUNT IN THE LAST SIX MONTHS:
    297 MURDERED IN CHICAGO
    221 KILLED IN IRAQ

    OUR LEADERSHIP IN ILLINOIS;
    SEN. BARACK OBAMA
    SEN. DICK DURBIN
    REP. JESSE JACKSON, JR.
    GOV. ROD BLOGOJEVICH
    HOUSE LEADER MIKE MADIGAN
    ATTY. GEN LISA MADIGAN
    MAYOR RICHARD DALY
    YES, ALL DEMOCRATS!

    THANK YOU FOR THE COMBAT ZONE IN CHICAGO.

    OF COURSE THEY ARE BLAMING EACH OTHER.

    THEY CAN’T BLAME THE REPUBLICANS, BECAUSE THERE AREN’T ANY!

    STATE PENSION FUND $44 BILLION IN DEBT, WORST IN THE NATION.

    COOK COUNTY (CHICAGO) SALES TAX 10.25%, HIGHEST IN THE NATION.

    CHICAGO SCHOOL SYSTEM THE WORST IN THE NATION.

    THIS IS THE POLITICAL MACHINE THAT OBAMA SAYS HE COMES FROM IN ILLINOIS.

    AND NOW …

    OBAMA SAYS HE’S GONNA “FIX” WASHINGTON POLITICS.!

    GOD HELP US………….!

  73. Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    Steve this was a very thoughtful post. Especially in light of some of the comments above I wanted to check in to agree with most of your points, especially the idea that Obama is best suited to lead intelligently during complex times and to restore America’s global reputation as … the good guys. The smear campaign against Obama was alarming to many here in the USA and ironically based on a kind of gullibility that has no place in reasoned discourse.

    IMHO both McCain and Obama have very defective views about climate change that are based on the media, scientific, and especially political agendas and oversimplifications that almost completely cloud intelligent debates over the real issues, especially those relating to the (low) chances of catastrophic changes and (budget breaking) mitigation costs proposed by those who have a poor understanding of the scientific and budgetary issues surrounding Global Warming and Mitigation. Long, often painfully frustrating hours commenting and reading the RealClimate blog crystallized this view for me.

  74. tetris
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

    I’m with Kenneth Fritsch, DeWitt Payne and Steve Mosher on this one. First black president? Sure, that no doubt has significance. But strip away the colour, and what is left of Obama? A hard left wing candidate, who has managed to say very little of substance on anything, and what he has said does not bode well for the US economy. Let’s keep in mind that the US last night got within 4 Senate seats from having an completely unfettered and unaccountable Democratic government!

  75. PhilH
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

    President-elect Obama got a huge pass from the American media and, partly as a result of that and partly due to his own cleverness, he got a huge pass from the American voters. If any Republican candidate had had the kind of associates on the right-wing that he has had on the left for the last twenty years, the media would have run him or her out of the primaries within weeks.

    As for restoring the American “brand.” Which brand? The 1930′s isolationism brand? The go-along-to-get-along of the cold war when the peoples of Eastern Europe suffered under Soviet cruelty for forty years brand? The Clintonian bomb-the-aspirin-factory-but-leave-the-real-targets-alone brand? Ask the Kurds which brand they like. Ask the millions of Iraquis who voted, at their own considerable peril, in free elections which brand they like. Ask the millions of people all over the world who would give their eye-teeth to live under this “brand.”
    Or shall we ask those European “sophisticates” who looked down their noses at us as we did for them what they all said needed to be done?

  76. BraudRP
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

    Kenneth Fritsch #45.

    Iraq nation building under Bush will become Afghanistan nation building under Obama. The Bush crisis in Iraq, for which the Democrats and others correctly criticized that administration for its cost and the deficit spending required, will become the Obama crisis with health care, unemployment, the economy and perhaps even Afghanistan with the same disregard for the long term problems with deficit spending and the lack of responsibilities that represents for future generations.

    People apparently didn’t have the stick-to-it-ivness required for nation building in Irag. The same will probably happen if it is tried in Afghanistan. The attention spans and dedication to support the decades long effort it would take to allow the necessary social customs and traditions to take hold just aren’t there; assuming anyone even had the necessary knowledge to be able to bring it about.

  77. kuhnkat
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre,

    you are a dreamer. Good luck with that.

    You should pay as close attention to the people, their followers, and their accomplishments, or lack thereof, as you do to the numbers in the papers you audit. The rhetoric has NEVER been a good indicator of performance.

    The US, and the world, had already lost this election at the end of the primaries. The rest has been anti-climatic.

  78. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    To start out with, I have no political views. It’s all fairly the same, but I agree with Steve, sometimes it’s interesting to watch. But there’s sure a lot of points to engage in pointless petty bickering upon.

    Just think when you see that McCain “lost big” or words to that effect, take a look at the electoral map. Nothing compared to the trouncing Goldwater took in 1964, more like GHW Bush’s loss in 1992. Meaningless, but there it is anyway.

    One could say BH Obama Jr. was a candidate for the times, the “People Magazine crowd” more concerned about how the celebs look or who is dating whom than they are about gasoline prices. (Until those prices hit them in the pocketbook, where they then blame the Republicans and oil companies of course.) Or one could say that the winner of the US election matches the current demographic. Younger voters and a more culturally mixed society. Perhaps folks were just tired of the Bush/Clinton types. Well, 63.5 million were, and 56 million weren’t. Fairly even, but still.

    So now the US has on tap a mixed-race youngish life-long lawyer and professional politician as its new president. Hardly a typical type of person.

    Obama’s parents, atheists/agnostics that were married for 2 years, his father’s second marriage. An African father (BH Obama Sr, a Luo of Kenya) and an American mother (S. Ann Dunham, a Kansan of Western European descent); they met at Uni of Hawaii Manoa. He a foreign national, a governmental economist, studying Russian language. She was studying math, a ‘liberal before knowing what one was’.

    Obama himself, quite a list of achievements. Occidental College 2 years, then Columbia College PolySci and Intl relations. IBM and NY PIRG. Director of DCP in Chicago. Consultant/instructor Gamaliel Foundation. Havard Law School, where he became president of Law Review. Sidley&Austin (met wife there), Hoptikns&Sutter. J.D. magna cum laude from Havard. Fellowship and book at University of Chicago Law School. Director of Project Vote. Teaching constitutional law at UCLS. Associate and Counsel at Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland. Founding member Public Allies. Variously on the board of directors for Woods Fund of Chicago, The Joyce Foundation, Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and others. Then State Legislature of Illinois, then US State Senator. Now, president-elect.

    The “American Dream” indeed. A Protestant Christian baptized in 1988, with a black Kenyan father and white American mother, who grew up in Honolulu and Jakarta, with an Ivy League education. Now he will be chief executive officer of the largest corporation in the world.

    Regardless. So the US will officially have its first half-white president. Big deal.

    In many ways, an economy runs on optimism and pessimism. Obama is probably better on the optimism front than McCain would have been, market-wise, so maybe that will be good for the US and therefore world economy. Long-term. However, the Executive and Legislative branches of the country are (now more) firmly Democrat controlled. The fact the Senate doesn’t have a 60 vote margin or the House a 2/3 margin is probably moot, mostly, with the Executive also in control by the same party.

    As Dan Hughes mentioned, take a look at what Tom Vonk said over at Lucia’s.

    Aside from that, world events and the actions of those that pass the laws and designate where the money is spent will have much more impact on things than anything a president will do.

    For the other half of the ticket. As far as BAU, Biden’s probably a better VP/successor than Palin would have been. Although of course she’s much better looking than he is. The “People Magazine crowd” will miss that on the news and talk shows. But the popularity contest has been decided. Sorry.

    Sure, things are staying the same for the time being.

    NYT anyone? http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/opinion/04tue1.html?em

    Or various Yahoo’s news story links
    • Obama turns to task of building an administration
    • McCain begins to map out new role in the Senate
    • Republican lawmakers quietly line up for leadership posts
    • Hamas fires rockets at Israel after six killed in new violence
    • Disappointed Palin supporters turn their hopes to 2012 race
    • Report: Government not doing enough to expedite oil drilling
    • Obama’s victory gives another boost to his million-selling books
    • Obama selects Illinois Rep. Emanuel as chief of staff
    • Wall Street plunges as investors ponder Obama presidency
    • Russia threatens to electronically jam U.S. missile shield
    • Past elections much nastier than 2008 campaign, expert says

    Not to mention the specific political minefields. As Mitch Mconnell stated “The Republican leadership stands ready to hear his ideas for implementing his campaign promises of cutting taxes, increasing energy security, reducing spending and easing the burden of an immense and growing national debt.”

    Good luck. My forecast is that we’ll see some very interesting things happen between now and the end of 2009.

    Hope they turn out okay.

  79. klausb
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    #59, bill w

    Bill, I guess you had this citation in mind: (Henrik Ibsen, 1882, “An Enemy of the People”, ACT 5)

    “The majority has might on its side–unfortunately; but right it has not.”

    “I
    propose to raise a revolution against the lie that the majority
    has the monopoly of the truth. What sort of truths are they that
    the majority usually supports? They are truths that are of such
    advanced age that they are beginning to break up. And if a truth
    is as old as that, it is also in a fair way to become a lie,
    gentlemen.”

    from Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext00/aeotp10.txt”)

  80. welikerocks
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    People apparently didn’t have the stick-to-it-ivness required for nation building in Irag. The same will probably happen if it is tried in Afghanistan. The attention spans and dedication to support the decades long effort it would take to allow the necessary social customs and traditions to take hold just aren’t there; assuming anyone even had the necessary knowledge to be able to bring it about.

    That kills me; being the wife and daughter of a disabled vet.
    Oprah, I watch her show; she pushes that book “The Secret”
    I wish she and the rest practiced what they preach. Which is see things how you want them to be; and they will become that. I never saw my country as racist. I am the same age as our new President. My 3rd grade teacher was Mr. Kennedy; and I didn’t care that his skin was dark.
    I see Iraq and Afghanistan as a success.
    And I will respect this President and I hope and pray he and his supporters don’t have to go through the vile and fanatic like rethoric President Bush had to endure. I heard that 500 metric tons of yellow-cake uranium arrived in Canada safely from Iraq just a little while ago. It was found hidden just outside of the capital city and shipped in secret by ship to Canadian shores. Isn’t that true?

  81. Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    Steve thank you for your blog. I may not agree with your political view, but I deeply appreciate both your work and charcter.

    I have tried to teach my children the following basic concepts about the US in general and this election in particular.
    The founding Father’s of the United States were correct to separate Church and State, and to do all possible to limit the power of government and emphasize personal freedom and responsibility. “ In this they tried to protect society from the dark side of mankind when it forms any group, regardless if that group is Capitalist, Communist, or Christian. Indeed, they fought a brutal war for this freedom against a Government relatively benign compared to Sadam’s Iraq. Benjimin Franklin stated, “Those who choose security over liberty deserve neither.”

    When any group, wants political power to tell other people how to think, how to live, what to give to whom, then that group is in danger of violation of our founding principles. Most agree that society has both a privilege and obligation for care of the truly needy. Determining how to do this and other necessary government functions with limited control and force is the most important assignment of the United States government and the citizens who elect them.

    This is often exactly where the far left go wrong. The hero in humanity is an idealist. However in striving for a utopian society one is likely to forget humanities inherent dark side. A socialist or a communist observes the inherent self-centered nature of any group, regardless of that groups outward cloaking, misidentifies that nature by the outward cloak it wears, and wants to replace it with another more powerful group. The idealist who lacks wisdom due to his failure to identify the true cause (humanities inherent dark side) of the currently in power groups evil action, blames the outer form.

    In the socialist case he may blame capitalism, as Obama along with his wife and minister Jeremiah Wright as well as Bill Ayers his fellow social reformer, is blaming the U.S. The tragedy is that whatever government group the idealist raises to power to supersede the previous group, now has the same inherent flaws, but even greater power and abuse potential then the previous group. The errors of socialism listed above I am afraid fit Barrack Obama perfectly.

    He can no more resist taxing carbon then a dying man in the Sahara sand could resist water. It has nothing to do with global warming, and everything to do with government control and wealth redistribution. As unemployment increases he will find jobs for them. Government jobs. Jobs in wind power. And perhaps most scary, jobs in his “national security force as large and well funded as the US military.” Under the label of “national security”, he can bypass many checks and balances. I am concerned Obama has been hard left his whole life. His close friends are hard left. His wife is hard left. He only moved to the middle for the general election. He feels the constitution is fundamentally flawed. This man, my president, is in all probability a true socialist.

  82. PeterW
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    I pity the citizens of the once great United States of America.

    “Hope and change, hope and change” – the rhetoric drew many of the poor and desperate to Obama’s bosom – how cruelly disappointed they will be in four years.

    They will still be destitute, their neighborhoods will still racked with drug fueled gang violence, their schools will still be dysfunctional and their government will still be corrupted by its own power.

    “Hope and change, hope and change” will become a bitter epitaph as the US slides further into decay.

  83. sean egan
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    The actions required to lower or even stabilise world C02 are so extraordinary, no President, not even Al Gore could really implement them. What we will get is half hearted measures, and promises. While there many be a consensus of climate scientists, governments are elected by the general public, and AGW is far from accepted as the pressing problem by most 1st world voters. It is not a question of the science, more priorities. First world voters would prefer to keep their cars and see Africa a desert, than to save Africa and have to take the bus.

    So with one President rather than another you may get a bit more wind or nuclear, a tax concession for hybrid cars, tough action will NOT be taken.
    Tough action is only possible if a clear and imminent danger is seen, and we do not expect the USA to really suffer in the lifetime of this government. While the USA has access to fossil fuels they are going to use fossil fuels, as the alternatives are more expensive and imply a decline in lifestyle. Historically the West has not shown much in the way of high moral principles in energy supply, and I do not expect them to become all over moral now.

    If you believe in AGW and think common sense will naturally prevail, google Easter Island and trees, or look up games theory.

  84. Brian M. Flynn
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Steven mosher (16): “fixing some problems may take ‘more than one year and more than one term’. That’s not humble, that’s campaigning for re-election.”

    It’s the prelude to a Clinton style “never worked harder in all my life” speech prior to then abandonment of a middle class tax cut in favor of the 2nd largest (if not largest) tax increase in US history.

    Mpaul (28): “For the political left, CO2 a proxy for capitalism.”

    It is quite unfortunate that, despite the evanescence of value in bundled sub-prime mortgage backed securities, we Americans are nevertheless drawn by a cap and trade market literally based upon the “hot air” of CO2. But since we have lately absorbed the hyper-flatulence of our politicians (including that from self-proclaimed “carbon neutral” Gore), we cannot recognize the “true” GHG.

  85. MrPete
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    Tying the election to ClimateAudit principles…

    Steve has long fought against mendacity in AGW science. What we have just accomplished in the USA is the institutionalization of mendacity. An absolute triumph of marketing over integrity. Without getting into the politics of it at ALL…

    Steve, if you long for trustworthy engineering-quality expositions, then pay no attention to the next years of government leadership in the US. I can find no evidence at all of integrity in the new majority of the legislative and executive branches, nor can I find thoughtful supporters of the new majority who are willing to consider the importance of integrity.

    Our nation no longer has a real conscience. Instead, we are led by those who cannot admit when they are wrong, and certainly will not repent (implement a change of direction when their lack of integrity is revealed.)

    Watch over the next months and years to see if the truth is revealed, and accountability upheld, about any of the following situations. I predict it will not happen.

    * Fundraising irregularities. Millions, possibly hundreds of millions, donated anonymously from all over the world. All with zero documentation. Purposeful disabling of all online financial controls. “Too big to address.” Sounds like what happens when you incorporate 1000+ tree ring data sets into your proxy study?

    * Registration irregularities. Online and in-person registration systems purposefully created to hide the actual requirements. Thousands of people illegally registered in temporary (e.g. college town) locations. (Most college undergrads’ legal residence is at parents’ home; they cannot register in another state.) Hundreds of thousands of confirmed duplicate registrations. “Too big to address.” Sounds like off-the-island statistical techniques… no integrity but “who cares.”

    * Hit-and-run communication culture. Media gurus have perfected the art of publicizing the plausible lie, then later quietly retracting it on page two… any different from the five-year delayed SI in science?

    * The housing crisis, with its own triumph of obfuscation over reality. In the mid-1990′s, we let go of the requirement that homebuyers be able to afford a mortgage. No longer did you need to hold have enough income to afford the equivalent of 30-year-fixed payments as 25-33% of your income. Immediately, housing demand jumped, and prices skyrocketed. Just yesterday, I received a report from a major national meeting of real estate finance leaders. We’ve only seen the tip of this iceberg… it will soon get much worse, possibly before year’s end. The current “rescue” will not solve the real problem: total lack of integrity in risk/value analysis. Our models have nothing to do with reality; in fact, nobody has any idea what these “creative” investments are worth. any different from current AGW model issues?

    Integrity is no longer valued. Only bright promises. My prediction: it will get much worse before it begins to get better. We have quite a way to go before it is really as bad as some developing-world nations. But we’re going downhill more quickly than I would have otherwise believed. Most likely, we need to hit bottom before we wake up and recognize that our entire civilization hangs in the balance.

    OK, I’m being apocalyptic. Tough :) … I’m actually optimistic. Today’s current events are the kind of thing that eventually motivates people to action! That’s good news.

    • Gary
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

      Re: MrPete (#97), In a nutshell, the country is being governed by children. Messy, selfish, zealous, excitable, naive, brash, mendacious children.

  86. Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

    “Will there will be end to the generation-long embargo on nuclear power construction in the United States in an Obama administration? Surely that should be one of the first topics on the agenda.”

    My prediction is that there will be less than 2 nuclear power plants on which construction is started in the U.S. for every year of the Obama administration. And there won’t be a single nuclear plant on which construction is started and finished, even if Barack Obama is in office for two terms.

  87. Andrew
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:07 PM | Permalink

    If he reads CA and comes to the conclusion (justified or not) that “all skeptics are against AGW because they are right-wing“, then he is apt to not listen to what skeptics have to say. That’s politics, that’s life.

    This is the problem. Only an unreasonable person would come to such a conclusion to begin with. This hypothetical person obviously has not looked at all the evidence, or worse, they have Imbibed The KoolAid, and no amount of Friendly Skeptic Marketing is going to get them to stop drinking it… in other words, this person will not recant their closely-held beliefs, even if your argument sounds extra-nice.

  88. Jason W. Solinsky
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    It hardly seems likely that this election will reduce, in any material way, the level of acrimony in US politics.

  89. BraudRP
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    welikerocks

    I can’t disagree with anything you replied to what I wrote. It kills me too. I spend several weeks each year supporting one of the recreational activities for people on active duty in the U.S. Military. However, it will take continued effort for some time for their efforts to endure. I fear the long term commitment will not be made.

    • welikerocks
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

      Re: BraudRP (#101), I hear you. :) Me too. My father served in the Korean War and my husband served on the DMZ, what? 30 plus or so yrs later. Maybe its more like 40. Long term commitments; it’s been done. My step daughter is half Korean, and I think of Iraqis and Afghans in terms of her . She has a whole side of her family she has never met; and they do not know what happened to them. I wouldn’t ever just give up.

  90. Michael Jennings
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    I have learned in the past year to pay heed to what Steve says and I have great respect for his opinions. In this particular case, I will just have to respectfully disagree with his optimism here. While I fervently hope and pray that the new President will be a rousing success, I think he will have to shift significantly to the Center to help the USA get out of it’s current economic malaise. The good thing for Obama is that even if he does nothing, the US economy is cyclical (like the Climate)and will improve in a relatively short time but the danger is he will try to “fix” it and drive it further into disrepair in the process. I totally agree with Steve that we need to become energy independent ASAP and Nuclear power would go a long way to starting down that road. Draconian Climate regulations are probably unlikely considering the shaky state of the economy and that is a fortunate thing. The appointment of Rahm Emmanuel as the COS today is not a good sign for developing partisan cooperation because he has been a very partisan hack.

  91. steven mosher
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    re 99. dont discount the next version of big brother. its in your pocket today.

    http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2007/march7/fogg-030707.html

    I met somebody from this joint yesterday. As a libertarian I sometimes end up at strange conferences dominated by progressives. The future they are working on is downright scary.

  92. Brian Johnson
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    How long will the ‘honeymoon period’ last? Not holding my breath. A President Elect who is convinced that CO2 is a poison, isn’t a good sign………

  93. Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    Only one day?
    Historic Election: Barack Obama is President Elect

    This is truly a historic day in American politics. Barack Obama is the first African American to reach the highest elected office in this great nation. Hats off to President elect Obama. This election is also historic in that Mr. Obama inherits one of the most daunting economic situations in American history, possibly world history.

    During his first two years of office, the world economy will likely be the primary focus of the President elect. Helping families avoid foreclosure without terms that make other families consider foreclosure to improve their financial situation will be extremely difficult. No indication of a plan worthy of Solomon was made by either candidate. Great care will be needed to avoid doing more harm than good.

    Leadership to avoid the continuation of the questionable lending practices that led to the housing bubble will also be a challenge to the new President. Subprime loans created by legislation during the Clinton administration will have to be regulated to stop the obvious abuse that led to our current economic crisis. As a Democrat, producing meaningful changes to resolve issues here to fore ignored by the Democratic and many Republican legislators should provide the President elect with an exceptionable challenge.

    Tax cuts for 90 plus percent of Americans will also pose its own set of problems. Trickle up economics faces more challenges than trickle down economics. In trickle down economics companies that employ Americans are given tax breaks in the hope that they can expand and employ more Americans, improving the overall economy. In trickle up economics individuals are given the tax breaks in hopes that their increased buying power will spur more growth in American businesses. Hope is the key word in both of these economic ideologies. In a global economy, the trickle up economic may well increase imports circumventing the desired effect of domestic growth. Protectionism to increase domestic growth generally is met with international protectionism. Creating a growing snowball that leads to global economic problems.

    Regulation of the financial markets is another extreme challenge. Alan Greenspan that served as Federal Reserve Chairman for several administrations of both parties testified before congress that he was shocked that his economic ideology was flawed. Regulation that protects the American taxpayer without stifling the US economy and that can adjust to exceptional situations will be difficult.

    The President elect’s desire to build a national security force on par with the US military may be his largest political challenge. Increasing National Guard, Border Patrol, State and local law enforcement is one thing. The creation of a separate National Security Force can and should be met with constitutional opposition.

    The President elect’s plan to implement Carbon Cap and Trade taxes without destroying what is left of our once greater economy is a huge hurdle for the new administration to clear. The idea of bankrupting a new coal powered electric plant to generate revenue for alternate energy sounds less than wise. Meeting our energy needs while planning methods to clean existing technology, avoiding possible catastrophic economic impact sounds more prudent. While I laud the President elect for his candor, words like Bankrupt and phrases like soaring electrical costs, don’t instill my confidence.

    Again my congratulations to President elect Obama. May God grant you the wisdom required to fill your new job description.

    • Follow the Money
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

      Re: captdallas2 (#105),

      The President elect’s plan to implement Carbon Cap and Trade taxes without destroying what is left of our once greater economy is a huge hurdle for the new administration to clear. The idea of bankrupting a new coal powered electric plant to generate revenue for alternate energy sounds less than wise.

      The yahoos will natter about coal plants not built, and this will serve Obama well. Because everyone knows coal is dirty, though may be cheaper. Yahoos first natter about coal barons losing out, not about Obama’s awful comments about consumer prices consequently zooming up, because they idealize the super rich. Go figure.

      Anyway, the American right wing yakking about poor little coal barons will serve Obama well because it will detract attention from the truth that cap and trade (not taxes) will effect almost everything.

      It’s coming. Bobby Kennedy, Jr. was bruited to be EPA Sec. today. There will be a full court press on the media establishment to not ask questions. Then there’s GE/NBC, always big carbon laws supporters, because they think that as a tag along interest they can get public financing for their otherwise ineffecient but cleaner nuke tech.

  94. G Alston
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    #99 — seems to me that if the general impression many people have is that climate skepticism is a right wing phenomenon, then in this case it pretty much makes the right wingers the smartest folks in the room. Cool. And if true (it pretty much is, yeah, most skeptics are right wingers, OK?) then this also implies interesting things about the election that perhaps I’ll not muse about aloud.

  95. Mark T.
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

    I’m not saying it, but I sure am thinking it out loud.

    Mark

  96. Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    snip -

    Steve- these words can be validly used in many contexts. However, editorially, I do not find them helpful in any context at this site regardless of who’s being quoted.

  97. Nick
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    The most important point is whether Obama turns out to be divisive or unifying president. Forget about the folks on Capitol Hill, I’m talking about the populace at large. Most politicians, of whatever persuasion, have large – but fragile – egos. They all want to make a difference and be remembered as a good leader. It is only those who unify that achieve such an historical distinction. As shown by the rhetoric here and elsewhere today (and, indeed, the results themselves), it is clear that the new President has quite a divided nation on his hands. I think it unlikely (though possible) that he will force through legislation that is bitterly opposed by the masses. He has a honeymoon period, especially for those who have only a passing interest in politics at election time. These “floating” voters, who hold the key to future electoral outcomes, voted for a change of scenery – and got it. However, should the next administration adversely affect the general public (especially in their pockets), the President’s ratings will slump. There is not a politician in the world for whom such a scenario would long be bearable. That’s the brake that democracy applies to runaway politics and it can be applied at a moment’s notice.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

      Re: Nick (#111),

      The most important point is whether Obama turns out to be divisive or unifying president. Forget about the folks on Capitol Hill, I’m talking about the populace at large. Most politicians, of whatever persuasion, have large – but fragile – egos. They all want to make a difference and be remembered as a good leader. It is only those who unify that achieve such an historical distinction. As shown by the rhetoric here and elsewhere today (and, indeed, the results themselves), it is clear that the new President has quite a divided nation on his hands. I think it unlikely (though possible) that he will force through legislation that is bitterly opposed by the masses. He has a honeymoon period, especially for those who have only a passing interest in politics at election time.

      I think that people here may have some problems distinguishing their idealized view of “good” government from how the political system really works (or at least the US government where the legislative and executive branches can be of different parties and/or the Senate has cloture and filibuster whereby a 60 vote super majority is required).

      Bipartisanship is what is invoked when one does not have the party plus opposition support to push through what the party line dictates. When the party in power controls both the legislative and executive branches, there is no need to make nice with the opposition. There is also the winner’s effect whereby those in the opposition who lean towards the winning party’s political philosophy will more easily go along with their programs. The super majority of 60 in the Senate then becomes somewhat less than that. I can remember when Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in the 1964 elections with a Democrat controlled House and Senate and Johnson was able to do pretty much whatever he wanted even with Southern democrats at that time who were more conservative than those now in congress.

      As for legislation bitterly opposed by the masses, please think about the recent 700 billion dollar bailout. All polls showed that it was opposed by the masses and both Obama and McCain voted for it. I have already seen media references to the Obama mandate. No politician is going to tell you he is ramming this or that government action down your throat – even when they are.

      • Nick
        Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

        Re: Kenneth Fritsch (#120),

        Fair comment, Kenneth. I live in the UK, where things may be slightly different. I’ve seen a few plans our PM, Gordon Brown, has dropped like hot potatoes when he and his cronies realised they would not be popular to the masses. I bow to your better knowledge of the US political machine. Thanks.

  98. Eric (skeptic)
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    On the plus side California voters voted down two ballot questions:
    Proposition 7 would have required utilities to generate 40 percent of
    their power from renewable energy by 2020 and 50 percent by 2025.
    Yes 3,294,158 35.1%
    No 6,102,907 64.9%
    Proposition 10 would have created $5 billion in general obligation bonds to help
    consumers and others purchase certain high fuel economy or alternative fuel vehicles,
    and to fund research into alternative fuel technology.
    Yes 3,742,997 40.1%
    No 5,581,303 59.9%

  99. John Baltutis
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    More and more, the conditions in the US resemble those written in Rand’s Atlas Shrugged!

  100. UK John
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    Oh Dear!
    Can I go back to debating some obscure ice extent statistic with Phil, I feel much more comfortable doing that.
    I now know why Steve doesn’t normally allow politics or religion.

    • Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

      Re: UK John (#115),

      Religion! Don’t get me started.

      (snip) then they (snip) and finally (snip) Climate Change (snip). :)

  101. Andrew
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    #99 — seems to me that if the general impression many people have is that climate skepticism is a right wing phenomenon, then in this case it pretty much makes the right wingers the smartest folks in the room. Cool. And if true (it pretty much is, yeah, most skeptics are right wingers, OK?) then this also implies interesting things about the election that perhaps I’ll not muse about aloud

    A general impression that climate skepticism is a right wing phenomenon is the direct result of leftist propaganda. The Global Warming/Climate Change as presented by the popular media is itself leftist propaganda.

    Skepticism about a scientific hypothesis is not political all by itself. In this case, Skeptics are being painted as a political group because another political group wants the skeptics opposition diminished or eliminated.

  102. John Norris
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

    I thought that McCain’s concession speech last night was remarkably and commendably gracious and that it was the high point of McCain’s campaign …

    Ouch.

    While U.S. economic dominance has faded …

    Are kidding me? We took down banks in every corner of the world, and are in the process of fouling currencies as well, as governments try to bailout their domestic financial institutions.

    …”Americans are about to get their country back”…

    47% of us American voters don’t agree with Margaret.

    … at least in the sense that U.S. politics of the next 4 to 8 years are going to be less acrimonious than the politics of the last 16 years …

    Are you kidding me?!!! The Democrats now have enough political liquor to get filthy drunk with power. They will be infighting about whose liberal pet legislation gets served first before BHO even gets inaugurated. Go back and find your acrimonious comments from US political leaders, they are mostly from Democrats. Anyway, politics is supposed to be contentious.

  103. Follow the Money
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    A general impression that climate skepticism is a right wing phenomenon is the direct result of leftist propaganda. The Global Warming/Climate Change as presented by the popular media is itself leftist propaganda.

    It’s the “leftist” propaganda merely repeated by leftists, but molded by the public relations firms managing the information campaign for the Wall Street cap and trade interests that hired them. The money wants cap and trade. Cap and trade is essentially an American style financial scam, first brought to you by Enron. The scam requires government action, a private/public partnership. To scare the public and politicians into enabling carbon trading environmental fears need to be whipped up. Leftish people are more inclined to environment concerns so the appeal is focused on them. If religious fears were required to be stoked the agitprop would appeal to rightish people. Al Gore realizes even sciency types have innate capacity for religion, so he appeals to it with apocalyptic enviro visions.

    Anyway, there is nothing better to keep lefty people in line than raise the bogey man of right wing opposition. And it works, especially since there are a lot of right wing types that obstrepulously dispute and concern for the environment, they idolize industry. The PR people know this, this is there business. What else better than to claim skepticism to global warming literally comes only from oil company efforts to keep leftists in their superior, unthinking attitude. It works!

    That is how the debate is shaping up in America. There is left-dissent, but of a meek kind. Honestly, I believe leftish folks cannot accept that they have been deceived as much as religious folks. Maybe the religious folks scammed by a preacher can fall back on the Bible. For the Leftish, the destruction of the global warming belief system is destruction of the whole religion, no Holy Book remains.

    With Obama’s first moves though, all will come out. It will pass the Senate fast with suspect parliamentary tactics, like Paulson’s atrocity and how Bush tried with Immigration, but the House will not take it fast.

    As for Europe, it’s more about Green Taxes, not at issue in the USA.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

      Re: Follow the Money (#123),

      Anyway, the American right wing yakking about poor little coal barons will serve Obama well because it will detract attention from the truth that cap and trade (not taxes) will effect almost everything.

      It’s coming. Bobby Kennedy, Jr. was bruited to be EPA Sec. today. There will be a full court press on the media establishment to not ask questions. Then there’s GE/NBC, always big carbon laws supporters, because they think that as a tag along interest they can get public financing for their otherwise ineffecient but cleaner nuke tech.

      FTM, I think you have made your point that cap and trade is the single worst thing about government AGW mitigation and maybe in the wholeworld. Your comments seem to imply that it is the sole invention of business interests and that it is being foisted upon innocents in government. I think you have that backwards, and not because organizations and individuals out there are not going to look for a leg up with government mitigation, but because government is ready to subsidize and do it preferentially.

      I guess one could view alternative energy businesses out there looking for government subsidies for their R&D and operations in the same vein. Or my fellow seniors looking for their “fair” share through AARP.

      Oh, and by the way, right wingers, and left wingers, for that matter, will never talk about protecting coal or oil barons, but the people they employ. That does not make their arguments any more correct, but it does put the argument on a more politically favorable emotional plane and a plane that is a few steps above yahoo status.

  104. John A
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    I support Steve’s position that politics is best left off this blog and left to others. Questions of science are best answered through scientific experiment, not pressure groups or consensuses.

    By complete coincidence, my political position is very similar to Steve’s. But if Steve had been a socialist or a neo-conservative, I would still have supported his scientific work, because what matters in science is proof or falsification through experiment, not political viewpoint. Does anyone seriously believe that because Einstein was a socialist his theories on relativity or quantum physics should be rejected? What of Werner Heisenberg’s support for the Nazis? Or Haldane’s support for Stalin?

    If I had to give advice to President-Elect Obama, it would be “Trust but verify. But don’t leave the verification to the people making the claim. Listen to your political enemies at least as well as your political friends especially on items which are in dispute”.

    Climate science is dominated by political pressures, and as a result the quality of work is poor because people believe they know what the answer should be. Peer review has been compromised by intellectual incestuousnes and the scientific ethic has all but collapsed in key areas.

    This effect has spread out into the body of science. I recently inquired about a scientific paper whose results, if true, would overturn a key assumption in quantum physics. The result was widely trumpeted, but when I asked for the data and calculations I was told that the paper was just entering peer review and the data and calculations were therefore embargoed. Huh?

    I worry more about science than I do about American politics.

    Michael Crichton died yesterday from cancer. I will miss his analytical mind and insight.

  105. Tilo Reber
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    Steve:
    “I would be shocked if his cabinet is doctrinaire or mediocre.”

    One of Obama’s special abilities is to hold up a mirror for people and have them believe that he wants what they want.

    “”Americans are about to get their country back””

    I suppose that if one is on the left and if one assumes that the country belongs to the left, then that may be true. But for about 47% of the rest of the country, they feel that their country has been lost. If Obama’s presidency turns out to be a reflection of his previous voting record that number may quickly become larger. Also, considering that most people see America as an entity that was shaped by our constitution, and considering that Obama regards the constitution as deeply flawed because it does not provide for the redistribution of wealth, there may be more truth to the idea that Americans have lost their country.

  106. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    Last night was a night of “The Final Endgame Go Time Alpha Action Lift-off Decide-icidal Hungry Man’s Extreme Raw Ultimate Power Voteslam Smack Down ’08 No Mercy: Judgement Day ’08″

    It’ll be like bow-hunting from a hang-glider.

    Just remember; if you have a gun in one hand and religion in the other, it’s difficult to pull the lever.

    Keep hope alive!

  107. Eric (skeptic)
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    But for about 47% of the rest of the country, they feel that their country has been lost
    Being one of the 47%, I do not feel that way. For one thing McCain would have been pretty bad on CO2 and even more frustrating in his stubbornness and illogic.

  108. Tilo Reber
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    “at least in the sense that U.S. politics of the next 4 to 8 years are going to be less acrimonious than the politics of the last 16 years and that its leadership will accorded the respect that it deserves, both in the world and in the country.”

    When Nancy Pelosi took charge of the House two years ago her speech was very gracious, and one of the promises that she made was more partisanship and much more civility. Then she promply began running the House as a dictator instead of just another elected member of that body. She behaved as though she thought she had been elected for the sole purpose of attacking Republicans – much as she did when she was in the minority. The House has never been more acrimonious.

  109. Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    There is an essential piece missing from the Obama puzzle when it comes to American success overseas: he is a quitter.

    Iraqis didn’t catch on slow to democracy because they didn’t want it. It was becausethe last time they tried in 1992 we stepped back and let Saddam slaughter 300,000 pro-democracy Iraqis.

    Likewise, the US had strained relations in Asia for years when, after winning an almost universal peace for three years in Vietnam (as many forget), we defunded the arming of South Vietnam and pulled out, leaving millions of pro-democracy Vietnamese and Cambodians to die in the killing fields of Southeast Asia. Cambodia lost half of it’s population.

    If Obama keeps his promisses, we are set to do it yet again.

    I’m an optimist, and hope he is lying about most of his promisses….

  110. Howard
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Obama was the first Democrat I ever voted for. He is a self-made man with the ambition and temperament to lead our nation. He got my vote because he behaved himself more like a successful CEO than the other guy. The great CEO’s I’ve had the good fortune to work with don’t lose their cool, don’t whine about the tilt of the field and always maintain focus on their agenda rather than denigrating the agenda of their competition. I hope the Republicans get the message and become competitive again.

    Global warming goes is a fun scientific topic to ponder, but in the grand scheme of things, is losing political importance every day. I predict that during the Obama era, global warming induced economic policy will constitute a few scraps of gristle for the true believers. Obama did talk about restructuring energy policy. I hope he can accomplish something on that end. I was very encouraged by the energy overhaul proposed by early Bush administration which was derailed by 911 and the political capital they spent on Iraq.

    Rohm Emmanuel is a guy who knows how to work the power structure in Congress. During Clinton’s administration, the Republican Congress was his target. With the Democrats now in control, he will be used to strong-arm Nancy Pelosi because the Obama team knows that support for her ideas are limited to San Francisco. If Obama lets the Democratic Congress go wild, he will not get a second term.

  111. Old Dad
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Amwerican politics has always been a street fight, and the brawl will get worse before it gets better. President elect Obama has chosen Rahm Emanuel as his Consigliare. A good pick. Rahm’s another Chicago pol who fights dirty and likes to win. Obama grew up on south side Chicago Daleyesque politics. He talks pretty but fights dirty. That’s OK with me. Americans like to fight.

    It will be a good show, but keep your hand on your wallet. The big guys are getting ready to rumble.

  112. beatk
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    CYCLES OF CIVILIZATION
    The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been two hundred
    years.
    These nations have progressed through this sequence:
    From bondage to spiritual faith;
    From spiritual faith to great courage;
    From courage to liberty;
    From liberty to abundance;
    From abundance to selfishness;
    From selfishness to complacency;
    From complacency to apathy;
    From apathy to dependence;
    From dependency back again into bondage.
    —Sir Alex Fraser Tyler: (1742-1813) Scottish jurist and historian

  113. Luis Dias
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    Jeesh. I never thought I would read in this site so much right-wing bla bla. I mean, yeah I figure that something like 70-30 would be in some order, but all I see is something like 95-5, and 4 of those 5 is probably McIntyre himself. And someone pointed out that perhaps people won’t take you seriously if they see that you are all right wing crazy people or something in that effect. People replied thats “Ridiculous”. Well, do’h! If you saw a site that tells you something out of the ordinary and 95% of the people in it are straight to hardcore liberals, would you take it seriously, from face value?

    I wouldn’t.

    Apart from that, I also am a little disappointed by Obama’s plan on energy. Still, I think that reality will backfire before it’s too late. Those that say that Obama is too much like Carter are wrong. Obama is smarter than that, he’ll recognize the errors sooner. There are also some erratic idiotic comments like “he’s a quitter”, what a dumbass commentary, just because he doesn’t believe in a war and wants to end it he’s like a coward. This is the problem with american politics, the sheer idiotic polarization that makes people even “amazed” at McIntyre’s more liberal stance. Are you crazy, people? Do you really, really believe that only republicans are smart and intelligent and free and etc?

    Get a life, people. Seriously. Grow up!

  114. Mongo
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

    While Obama is a very intelligent man, his stance on some issues is incredibly vague, and on others laser focused. The interview he gave to a San Francisco paper last January revealed an incisive intellect, but placed an issue that is far from settled over peoples welfare – “skyrocketing energy costs”. It’s not just coal companies that wil be bankrupted by such an approach.

    My other issue has to do with his comments on the Constitution and in his words, “it’s fatal flaws”. That sent chills up my spine.

    Finally, when he uttered in his speech last night the words, “Change is finally coming to America”, I blanched. Change came to America with the Pilgrims and is one of our defining national charateristics. I would say he embodies a certain kind of change – and hopefully we as a country become less polarized, but I won’t hold my breath.

    I am a registered as an Independent – I vote my conscience, not party. I cared little for McCain, but more so than Obama. I wish him (Obama) well as he will be our President next January. I reserve judgement on his performance as none of us knows exactly what he is going to do, nor how well he may do.

  115. Peter Pond
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

    Well, hasn’t this topic brought out all the lurkers (myself included)! Being liberal-minded like Steve, I am somewhat concerned that the global warming/climate change debate appears to have split along dogmatic ideological lines. Surely good science should not relate to one’s political ideology?

    Australian bumper sticker (we have compulsory voting) “Don’t vote: It only encourages the bastards!”

    Expectations of Obama are so high, especially outside of the USA, that he is doomed to fall short.

  116. Steve
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

    I am a man without a party and almost without a country. The Republicans and Democrats abandoned paygo 7 years ago without as much as a protest. This allowed deficit spending unprecedented since the Reagan years. Bush bungled the Iraqi occupation and created the conditions for near social collapse there. Hank Paulson of GS and the CEOs of the now defunct investment banks sucessfully lobbied the SEC to increase their allowed leverage from 10 to 1 to 40 to 1 in 2003 which directly created the conditions for a credit bubble. None of these actions are the actions of conservatives or of market actors who are interested in their own long term survival they are the actions of greed and political convenience.

    The repubs coalition collapsed last night as social conservatism was dealt a death blow. Social conservatives are not conservatives but reactionaries from some bygone era. To have them in the party has always sickened me. Anti-scientific boobs. I live in South Carolina, trust me they live next door and they reproduce.

    The democrats are likely to abandon nuclear because of the nuclear waste storage problem which could be reduced substantially by reprocessing and embracing new reactor designs like thorium reactors. Centrifuge enrichment has made the EROEI of nuclear about 30 times over its lifetime and higher if a thorium reactor is used. None of this will happen now.

    Obama will impose windfall profits taxes on crude production which will fall on retirees in the oil producing states as well as on the oil companies. These retirees are the small royalty owners who supplement their SS income with these royalties.

    Healthcare cost inflation will continue to increase because of the application of new technology that increases costs by driving hospitals to satisfy the demands of physicians who bring in insured patients. Increasing coverage will only increase utilization at hospitals already producing at capacity. Queueing will result as we await new hospital construction.

    Deficits will continue to soar until our sovereign credit rating is cut by S&P whose analysts said about mortgage backed securities “If cows had written them, we’d still rate them”

    Deflation is already in its early stages and it will continue to eat away at all assets. Permanent demand destruction will lead reduced output and a deeper and deeper recession.

    Obama or any president is helpless in the onslaught of history as the American Dream forever slips away.

  117. RLGrin
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    Amazing how so many of you are wise to the AGW farse and yet so blind or indifferent to what other ridiculous fabrications the US media pushes on the public. Case in point:

    I thought that McCain’s concession speech last night was remarkably and commendably gracious and that it was the high point of McCain’s campaign, in which he showed the positive aspects of his character in a way that was little evident in the campaign.

    I would have thought that knowing the guy spent 5 years as a TORTURED POW for his country, 2 of which he volunteered to assist other US prisoners would have cemented opinion about his character. I guess for some people, Republicans can never do enough to gain a modicum of respect.
    What did you expect the guy to do when 75% of news for Mccain was as hateful as what has been done to Bush, yet every channel but Fox wet their pants over Obama. You are too willing to believe what you hear regarding politics much like the public does with AGW. I am amazed by Steve and what he and others have done to try to objectively arrive at the truth about AGW, whatever that truth may be. Too bad that level of scrutiny ends at politics.

  118. RobT
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 8:00 PM | Permalink

    I certainly hope the political left are too busy relishing their victory yesterday to spend too much time visiting CA today. Recitation of Sarah Palin’s talking points and the demonization of Obama that has riddled this post has probably dispelled any thoughtful person of the left from visiting this site again. I have always appreciated Steve’s approach, especially because when he does let on his political leanings, he demonstrates that AGW skepticism is not the sole domain of the right wingers. But after reading these comments, I can see that he is a very lonely voice in the crowd.

  119. TerryBixler
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 8:12 PM | Permalink

    I am not at all optimistic about this president. I hope the security forces will not track down all the respondents on this blog for our thoughts or carbon foot prints.

  120. Reid
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

    The President is quite limited in his ability to control the economy. He is mostly along for the ride with private capitalists and Congress making the big decisions. On the other hand he is the king when it comes to foreign policy and the military. If Obama wants to level Tehran there is nothing anyone can do. If he decides that Iran can go nuclear there is nothing anyone can do. Only impeachment and removal can stop a Presidents military adventures or lack thereof. Watch who Obama picks for Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense for the best indicator of how Obama intends to rule.

    Congress told Teddy Roosevelt that he couldn’t invade Panama and he invaded despite Congresses wishes. Teddy said Congress will no longer debate what to do about Panama but what to do about me. Obama scares me on foreign policy and defense. He is a lightweight who will either be walked on by foreign adversaries or over-react to a crisis to prove himself. Just ask Joe Biden. I could be wrong but I believe economics will probably be secondary to security matters in the Obama presidency.

  121. Tilo Reber
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 8:31 PM | Permalink

    It appears that Obama’s promise to bring Americans together has lasted less than one day. This is from an article discussing his selection of Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff.

    “A respected political tactician with a reputation for ruthlessness, Emanuel could offer Obama, a relative Washington newcomer, an insider’s knowledge of the levers of power. As a highly partisan and often abrasive figure, however, Emanuel also could detract symbolically from Obama’s promise to move beyond partisanship and unite Democrats and Republicans.”

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/AP/story/758633.html

  122. Joe Dunn
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 8:31 PM | Permalink

    Margaret Wente, a Toronto columnist with American roots (who’s written kindly about me and whom I often agree with), wrote yesterday before the election: “Americans are about to get their country back”, at least in the sense that U.S. politics of the next 4 to 8 years are going to be less acrimonious than the politics of the last 16 years and that its leadership will accorded the respect that it deserves, both in the world and in the country.

    It amazes me that someone who takes such a skeptical view of the activities of global warming advocates could be so credulous when evaluating the political agenda of our newly elected President. The main stream media has been every bit as selective in their reporting on Obama as they’ve been on the subject global warming. The debate has been acrimonious over the last 4 to 8 years because Obama’s left-wing allies have made it so. It will only become less acrimonious, if those of us who care about the truth are intimidated into silence.

    I’m glad you limited this topic to one day, as my interest in this blog would end otherwise.

  123. G Alston
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

    #117 — indeed, GW skepticism is painted as right wing for a reason, mainly because by doing so one can imply an anti-scientific slant. Right wing as portrayed on CNN is all about bibles and guns and drooling semi-literacy, anti-evolution and pickup trucks, etc. and this is an image people all over the world (international posters on blogs like these) seem to perceive despite the fact that only a minority of right wingers are evangelical types. It’s how the news is slanted. By saying “right wing” this is equivalent to “doesn’t get evolution” which is of course the litmus test for scientific literacy. In terms of AGW one dismisses skeptics as being right wingers via the same mechanism as with the big science in the room — one doesn’t debate scientific truths like evolution with these people, and there’s no reason to debate AGW with them either. If they can’t handle evolution, they sure aren’t going to be able to fathom this…

    It would sure be wonderful to see the (A)GW debate removed from politics, but sadly it’s like the B sci-fi movies where the alien is so integrated into the spinal column that removing it kills the host.

  124. Gary Hladik
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

    I forgive you, Steve. :-)

  125. Paul Penrose
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

    When someone talks about redistributing wealth (tax the “rich” and use that to fund rebates to the “poor”) and “social justice” I don’t know what else to call that political philosophy except by using the banned “M” word. It sure is not capitalism nor is it federalism.

  126. Phil
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    As an Australian, the election of Barack Obama reminds me of the election of Gough Whitlam of the Labor Party as Prime Minister in 1972, campaigning on the slogan of “Its Time”. He appointed prominent left-wingers to his ministry and embarked on a wide-ranging but expensive social welfare program. His government was economically illiterate and lost office 3 years later. The Labor Party has only won election since then when led by economic conservatives.

  127. tesla
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    I hope for the best from Obama but I expect the worst. A guy with a core economic philosophy of wealth redistribution is not someone who inspires my confidence. I’m expecting increases in income tax, payroll taxes, CO2 taxes, “special” taxes on politically incorrect industries (oil), along with massive spending increases on top of a $1T or so defecit.
    I just don’t see what is so great about Obama. People are projecting their aspirations into the image that he has created with almost nothing to substantiate their claims. I do not trust him and I fear we have made a grave mistake.

  128. RomanM
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    I find it appropriately humorous that someone named Rod would be be against gun control… ;)

  129. Gary Palmgren
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre, I struggle to follow the discussions on CA everyday because good science leads to good policy and Steve, your work is critical to good science. Bad science leads to bad policy like the banning of DDT for residential use which has lead to about 100 megadeaths from malaria.

    Your work is critical to insure this does not happen from bad policy fostered by the AGW promoters who hide their data and methods from you. If AGW was true, their unprofessional behavior would delay the confirmation that you would provide.

    The fact that both presidential candidates were making proposals based on a belief that AGW is confirmed was scary. The fact that the winner believes in punitive measures against carbon fuels rather the promotional measures for real alternatives like nuclear power makes me fear for the worst.

  130. Pete
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

    I was very afraid before this election, because the MSM didn’t push any of the questions about who Obama was and what that could mean for his policies. (some quite scary) I was not particularly enamored of McCain, but I was primarily voting against Obama.

    Today I am very hopeful that Obama’s good attributes will manifest in pragmatic policy decisions, but based on what I have read of his background and positions that may not be realistic, but I will certainly be hoping.

  131. Rod B
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

    I too was impressed with both election-ending speeches, though Obama is consistently good at speech making. However I think it will be very hard to live up to the messianic aura that people put on him (abetted by him with all of his promises). Though with Pelosi and Reed there may be little reservation in what they can wrack. S.M. calls it not acrimonious; it’s also know as the tyranny of the majority. And with 2 of the 3 being dumb as stumps, it could be ominous.

    A couple of specific concerns. As one or two others pointed out, I am very anxious that he might actually try to execute part of his plan to address AGW, which, in short, is to stop the coal industry in its tracks and bankrupt (his word) any power company that insists on burning coal. At great cost, it would expose the canard of proponents who assert mitigation will be even better for our economy. Say that in a year or two when the US production of electricity is cut in half. On the positive side he likely won’t be able to keep this promise either. BTW imported oil has very little effect on power generation.

  132. Costard
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

    Unfortunately, Steve, your political views and your scientific smack of cognitive dissonance. Climate change has become a rallying cry for the Left because it is a useful tool; its policy demands fit neatly with leftward political desires. If you would extend your scientific eye towards economics, you would see precisely why “proxy” battles – as someone above said – are necessary. The 20th century was not kind to centrally planned economies, nor to the philosophies that backed them. Communism and socialism are no longer governing forces, and Keynes is more or less dead in academic circles, if not policy-making ones. The Left’s sacred cow is economic equality, and if good reasons can’t be found for this, then bad ones must do.

    Not at all different from the current situation in climate science, which for my money is a close sibling to economics. Someone mentioned Rothbard. His book on the great depression is wonderful. Like you, Steve, his goal was to try and halt “the use of historical statistics to ‘test’ the validity of economic science…. theory can only be confirmed or refuted on prior grounds.”

    A few thoughts going through my head…. economic liberty is the basis for all others… Warren Buffet is not an economist, he’s an investor… the expectations and promises of violence in the event of an Obama loss were, in my opinion, the saddest episode of this election cycle… a corrupt system will not allow itself to be compromised… democracies tell the saddest stories.

  133. Rob
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    Wow – thank you everyone – this has been so revealing! I say, if your posting leads to a thorough shake out of the readers and commenters on this blog, Steve, you should do it more often!

    I’m not sure if I am more disappointed that the distribution of your readership’s views shows that demanding good evidence for creating climate policy is so confounded with reactionary views as to render the message hopelessly lost, or whether so few of other persuasions are contributing to the discussion.

    All the best

    Rob.

    • PhilW
      Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

      Re: Rob (#159),
      I do object to the use of pejorative terms such as reactionary – could we have less of this. I am comfortable with left and right as short-hand ways of describing those who seek either greater state intervention and lesser state intervention. I myself am of the latter persuasion but would like to have a discussion on the merits and philospophies of each situation without the use of emotive terms which block reasoned debate.

      • DeWitt Payne
        Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

        Re: PhilW (#161),

        Thank you. I was going to say something similar, but would not have been able to phrase it as well.

        And for those progressives who think the current venting by the right is excessive, it’s minor in comparison to the statements made by Gore supporters after the 2000 election was decided against them. Unlike entirely too many of them, we’ll get over it and move on.

        I overheard some people in a restaurant tonight seriously (I think) discussing the possibility that private pensions and 401K accounts would be seized by the Obama administration. It sounds beyond excessive, but the Argentine government just did exactly that.

  134. Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    My recommendation is to spend the next month gardening or quilting or doing crossword puzzles, then begin to reflect on the US election. Step back, let events settle and emotions cool, see what moves Obama makes, think about what he and others say, drink a nice red wine, put the thoughts aside for a week or two then revisit them and see if they hold water. That’s hard to do but it refreshes the mind.

  135. Nicholas
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

    I think that the U.S. is better off with a leader who’s at the peak of his powers and energy.

    I don’t, if that energy is going to be directed towards implementing disasterous policies. In fact given how useless most politicians are, I’d rather they have no energy and achieve nothing rather than stuff around in matters they don’t understand and make things worse.

    Obama is in a position to call on the best and most competent Americans for his Cabinet and, in the present circumstances, few would refuse.

    He could, but that’s not the question that’s on my mind. The question is: WILL he?

    I think that Obama’s election is also very healthy for the U.S. in world terms.

    It certainly doesn’t impress me. However, I’m become extremely cynical and will say no more.

  136. paul
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

    Steve, thank you for the science you regularly present. From reaind the posts it is an excellent decision to limit comments on politics, etc.

    I am happy to see a racial barrier overcome in the US. I am appalled that the person so elected is so far left and far from reality. He is apparently more attractive to non-US citizens than to those of us who will live with his arrogance.

  137. Nicholas
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 10:36 PM | Permalink

    The point of my thread was to encourage people to try to think about climate, peak oil, current account deficits and Chinese/Middle Eastern investment funds in the same sentence.

    Hmm, OK, I see. Some thoughts:

    If you assume that carbon dioxide is a problem, in my opinion, it will only be solved through technology. Government used to be pretty good at technological innovation (Apollo, jet aircraft, etc.) but they seem to have become too bureaucratic and corrupt to continue that any more. So, I think this is going to fall to private industry. There are then three basic approaches: 1) wait and hope that existing incentives (price of fuel, increasing demand for energy, private desire to preserve the environment, etc.) drive the required technological innovation. Or, you can provide carrots or sticks or both.

    In my opinion carrots are the way to go, firstly because I think they will be more successful (sticks can easily do more damage than good) and because the disadvantages if they are wrong are much smaller. Perhaps some kind of prizes for innovation in the appropriate areas. I prefer that idea to grants, which can lead to further corruption.

    I fear the US left-wingers are more in favour of the stick approach. I fear it will stifle rather than encourage the required innovation. In my opinion if the US gov’t would stop blocking existing technology like nuclear reactors, the problem (if there is one) would largely solve itself. However Democrat or Republican-lead, they seem to like meddling areas they really shouldn’t. I’m not optimistic about them taking an appropriately careful approach to this issue.

  138. Harry
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

    As Coulter suggested, ” … we owe it to the Democrats to show their president the exact same kind of respect and loyalty that they have shown our recent Republican president.” :)

  139. Eric Anderson
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

    Steve wrote:

    “Whereas for Obama, there will be no days off and it looked like he was ready to work just as hard today as he did yesterday.”

    Must have watched a different speech than I did. Obama did a great job in his speech — definitely a gifted politician and rhetorician. However, he was clearly pretty exhausted at this juncture, as anyone would be after a non-stop campaign for the last couple of weeks. At one point I turned to my wife and remarked: “He’s going to go home and crash tonight.”

    “The graciousness of last night’s speeches by both McCain and Obama was a big step in this direction.”

    Agreed.

  140. hswiseman
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

    Any further comment would be superfluous.

    TVWEEK 10/30/08
    ‘Truth’s’ Guggenheim Had Hand in Obama Infomercial

    By Ira Teinowitz

    Barack Obama’s half-hour infomercial, which drew rave reviews for production, was produced by two leaders of the campaign’s ad team—Jim Margolis of ad agency GMMB and Mark Putnam of ad agency Murphy/Putnam—but it had some Hollywood help.

    Playing a role in its production was Davis Guggenheim, the Academy Award-winning director and executive producer of Al Gore’s “The Inconvenient Truth.” Mr. Guggenheim was a producer and director of HBO’s “Deadwood” and has directed episodes of a number of TV shows.

  141. Dan White
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:37 PM | Permalink

    As a comment not directed at anyone in particular, I am amazed at the naivete that can be displayed by otherwise very intelligent individuals. Nothing in Obama’s short resume indicates he is anything but an opportunist and idealog. This is not a person who must be cooperated with, but one who must be confronted and defeated whenever he attempts to weaken the institutions that made America great. I’m hoping for the best, but the evidence so far indicates “change” is not going to be exactly what people expect.

  142. Declan O'Dea
    Posted Nov 5, 2008 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

    I don’t have huge hopes for Obama, but I am mightily relieved that Sarah Palin is not Vice-President Elect. She revealed herself to be an idiot, and her views I found repugnant, so the prospect of McCain dying in office was extremely worrying to me. Surely eight years of stupidity in the White House is more than enough.

  143. PhilW
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

    I liked McCain’s line: When anybody ever asks anything about my age, I always introduce them to my mother.” At 72 he has a life expectancy of another 10-11 years so I did not worry about him dying in office. At the same time, I think Sarah Palin is smarter more capable than the press gave her credit for.

  144. Anthony Watts
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 12:11 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I just wanted to say thank you. Science should be color blind to red and blue issues as you have well demonstrated. That leaves green, which now seems pervasive. By itself it is not so bad, but when it gets tangled up with one of the other colors we end up with a Jackson Pollack policy picture.

  145. PhilW
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

    I have seen some amazing speculation that Pelosi will make a run for the Presidency in 4 years time – but she will then be the same age as McCain is now.

  146. Raven
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 12:19 AM | Permalink

    Good grief. As a moderate Canadian I normally would be inclined to support a politician like Obama and hell would freeze over before I supported someone like Palin. However, this AGW debate has made me very wary of politicians that seem to be willing to make huge economic bets on dubious scientific theories.

    I am quite concerned that AGW skepticism has become associated with US right wing politics and that will scare away many people that might be inclined to express support for the skeptical POV. The posts lambasting Steve for expressing support for Obama are a perfect example.

  147. Bill Coleman
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 12:23 AM | Permalink

    Steve,
    Thanks for hosting this site. It shows that the search for the truth is not limited to people of certain political agendas or outlooks. It is truly a testimony to your approach to the scientific method and discussions in general, that open and honest discussion of issues can occur with a minimum of acrimony. I especially appreciate John A. and all of the regulars on the site. I have been remiss and lately I have spent much less time lurking or adding to disccussions than I should have.

    Anyone serious enough to spend time at this site should do the same with their political research and dig into the background of political issues. Not everyone is as interested about such things but with a better understanding of the core issues, a more informed discussion can take place.

    Unfortunately Steve there appear to be a number of trolls commenting on politics on this thread. thanks for allowing the discussion and thanks for limiting the discussion period to one day.

  148. PhilW
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 12:28 AM | Permalink

    Gee I hope I am not classified as a troll. As someone who trained in statistics and worked as a statistician in an earlier career (30 years ago) I have been following CA for many months but because I am somewhat rusty I have been reluctant to comment until the subject today.

    • Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 2:10 AM | Permalink

      Re: PhilW (#173),

      Well Phil, believe it or not Steve McIntyre also started a little rusty in his statistics knowledge but burnishing it with statistics papers and learning R has given him a cutting edge so deadly that some climate scientists are afraid even to mention his name.

      If you’re interested, its a fun way to get a grasp on some half-forgotten knowledge that may yet come in useful.

      So welcome to CA.

    • Bill Coleman
      Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 2:19 AM | Permalink

      Re: PhilW (#173), Phil,
      I would hope that you would be welcomed to this site as a participant at whatever level you wish to be involved. I have learned much about statistics from interacting on this site. The serious participants with expertise on the issues, present an intellectual give and take that is refreshing and open.

      Classical “Liberalism”, is similar to the US “Libertarianism” in basic premises. A truly liberal viewpoint is what many of us aspire to. With this open ended approach, we can investigate as much information as is available, to formulate our opinions on subjects of interest to us.

  149. Richard Giroux
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 12:29 AM | Permalink

    Well, Steve I have to take exception with the “blue state” image. I can see how from your TO vantage point (Toronto is the centre of the universe) it may seem that way but a quick look at the last electoral map and the (pre-Trudeau) history of our country (Canada) we really are more of Red state. As a former Liberal and a former resident of Toronto, what you see largely depends on your vantage point.

    Any way, keep up the good work.

  150. david m brooks
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

    Steve, I very much appreciate your meticulous auditing of the work of some climate scientists (or “scientists”. The decision to keep the blog free from US partisan election discussions was well considered.

    I do see a parallel between the biased media reporting on AGW and the partisan, pro-Obama coverage, on AGW evidence not supporting the hypothesis is suppressed or attacked, with Obama the media ignored or attacked those who brought up his radial past and associates.

    I thought that McCain’s concession speech last night was remarkably and commendably gracious and that it was the high point of McCain’s campaign, in which he showed the positive aspects of his character in a way that was little evident in the campaign.

    I thought McCain failed in communicating the nature of his opponents, and he thought he could “make nice” with Obama and the Democrats like he did in the Senate, and only at the end, when it was too late, did he begin to bring up issues, Obama leftist past and his Chicago cronies, that it was McCain’s responsibility to discuss much earlier. McCain was harsher on his Republican primary opponents than he was on Obama. And Obama and his campaign gave no quarter to McCain and his running mate.

    I thought that Obama’s acceptance speech was equally gracious. Obviously any politician has to have an ego and I presume that Obama is no different; but he at least expresses himself with a commendable humility, which I, for one, am prepared to take at face value.

    Obama’s speech was well delivered.And he knows the “trick” of “how to talk to white people.” But in reading the text
    of his speech it didn’t seem so “humble”: He was saying, in effect, America is a good country because it elected ME! And we’re going to change it, Yes We Can!

    Will there will be end to the generation-long embargo on nuclear power construction in the United States in an Obama administration? Surely that should be one of the first topics on the agenda. For climate change activists, it is one of the few ways to seriously dent CO2 emissions; for people worried about foreign oil, it’s one of the few ways to seriously reduce dependence on foreign energy. If something better comes along, so be it, but right now, in Ontario, we’re dependent on nuclear stations designed and built in the 1970s and my guess is that people in the 2040s and 2050s will appreciate any nuclear power plants built in the next 10 years.

    No we can’t! Obama’s energy policy involves no offshore oil drilling, “a reduction of carbon emissions by 80 percent,” with an economy wide cap-and-trade scheme,
    and for practical purposes no new nuclear power plants. He doesn’t technically “take nuclear off the table” though. McCain proposed an extensive nuclear power building program.

    Obama has stated he plans to vastly increase energy costs for the US economy, and does not have any apparent concern about the economic effect, to address global warming.

    The problem is not technical, uh, and the problem is not mastery of the legislative intricacies of Washington. The problem is, uh, can you get the American people to say, “This is really important,” and force their representatives to do the right thing? That requires mobilizing a citizenry. That requires them understanding what is at stake. Uh, and climate change is a great example.

    You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.

    They — you — you can already see what the arguments will be during the general election. People will say, “Ah, Obama and Al Gore, these folks, they’re going to destroy the economy, this is going to cost us eight trillion dollars,” or whatever their number is. Um, if you can’t persuade the American people that yes, there is going to be some increase in electricity rates on the front end, but that over the long term, because of combinations of more efficient energy usage, changing lightbulbs and more efficient appliance, but also technology improving how we can produce clean energy, the economy would benefit.

    If we can’t make that argument persuasively enough, you — you, uh, can be Lyndon Johnson, you can be the master of Washington. You’re not going to get that done.

    The comments on this thread have been interesting, and as R DeWitt noted in an early comment, it is interesting how people have projected their own hopes upon Obama.

  151. PhilW
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    The use of the word “Liberal” always intrigues me. I would describe myself as a classical liberal, and am a member of the Liberal Party in Australia – but in the US this word has attained a completely different meaning to classical liberalism, which focuses on individual freedom and limited government.

  152. Eddy (Europe)
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 12:56 AM | Permalink

    Hello,

    The whole western world is happy that the bush catastrophy is over. In most countries more than 80% would have voted for Obama.

    Some comments on this blog make me feel rather sad or even sick ….

    Regards

  153. Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 1:33 AM | Permalink

    Paulus:November 5th, 2008 at 12:26 pm wrote

    quote Watching the celebrations on TV today in Germany, I had a distinct feeling of déja vu. Tony Blair started out adored by one and all – at least in the UK – in 1997. His campaign song: “Things can only get better …”
    Young, articulate, decent, attractive, attractive wife, attractive family. A nice guy. A thoroughly good egg. unquote

    Has anyone ever seen Blair and Obama in the same room? No? Anyone seen Blair recently? No? I rest my case.

    SM wrote
    quote My frustration with the climate industry is their inability to provide a clear engineering quality A-to-B explanation of how doubled CO2 leads to a big problem and that so much depends either on arm-waving or poorly described and articulated models. As Warren Buffett said, Beware of geeks bearing formulas. The promoters often detract from selling their message effectively by their angriness – people like Pierrehumbert, Schmidt and Tamino are obvious examples. Obama seems mercifully free of that sort of pettiness.
    But regardless of whether any of these folks are right or wrong, I happen to think that energy future is going to bite us first and possibly related economic issues have already bit. unquote

    Canada is very nicely placed if you really became an energy Czar. CANDU reactors run on Canadian thorium would power the US grid from just north of the border, nuclear-powered oil extraction and cracking would fuel USian cars from the Athabasca tar sands with minimised CO2 emissions. All you need to square the circle is a big peridotite deposit to sell carbon indulgences via Wall St.
    Who owns lots of thorium deposits? And peridotite? Now that’s what I call an investment opportunity…

    JF
    BTW on a rather laxer than normal thread, might I advance the opinion that the important climate proxy, the one which really matters, is receiving little attention, namely the equation of atmospheric CO2 with anthropogenic emissions. I’ve puzzled over the arguments and they look, to me, to be illogical. If that equation is wrong then all other proxies become meaningless.

  154. harold
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 1:54 AM | Permalink

    The video link to Obama’s 17 Jan 2008 interview has not yet been posted here.

    On Carbon Cap and Trade:
    Let me sort of describe my overall policy.
    What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there.
    I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.
    So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

    On Nuclear Power:
    The same with respect to nuclear. Right now, we don’t know how to store nuclear waste wisely, and we don’t know how to deal with some of the safety issues that remain, and so it’s wildly expensive to pursue nuclear energy. But, I tell you what, if we could figure out how to store it safely, then I think most of us would say that might be a pretty good deal. The point is, if we set rigorous standards for the allowable emissions, then we can allow the market to determine, and technology and entrepreneurs to pursue what’s the best approach to take, as opposed to us saying, at the outset, here are the winners that we’re picking, and maybe we pick wrong, and maybe we pick right.

    Anyone interested in Obama should read his first book “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance”, and perhaps Steve Sailer’s “America’s half-blood Prince” as well (forget about vdare.com, and skip the intro)

    http://www.vdare.com/half-blood_prince/half-blood_prince.pdf

    (repost, was comment 139 awaiting confirmation, last sentence deleted)

  155. Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 3:10 AM | Permalink

    SteveM,

    If I had been a US citizen, I would have voted for Obama anyway, despite his (or Gore’s) stance on climate change. That makes me a member of the minority within the skeptics community. Thus I know your feelings! Nice comment anyway, which I fully endorse. For the rest, we will have to wait and see what will really happen in the next months/years…

    JF,
    About your doubts about the human cause of increasing CO2 levels, see my comments at:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html
    That doesn’t tell us anything about the influence of CO2 on climate…

  156. Pierre Gosselin
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 3:11 AM | Permalink

    Everyone here is ignoring the Pay As you Go retiremnt crisis in western countries. It’s behind the CO2 hysteria.
    It works as follows:
    1. The working generation pays the pensions of retirees.
    2. Right now 4 workers pay for one retiree.
    3. The current generation of workers aren’t having or didn’t have many children.
    4. So when they retire the ratio will be 2 workers / one retiree.
    5. So how will you fund the retirement system?

    Answer: Exactly! Tax CO2 and use the revenue to pay the retirees.
    Here in Germany there’s an ecology tax on fuel. Is the generated revenue used to develop earth-saving technology? No. The revenue flows into the retirement coffers.
    Bluntly speaking, the working generation are soon to be enslaved by the retirees because the retirees weren’t clever enough to make a sustainable retirement system.

    CO2 is the latest government scam to raise more revenue. Climate crisis is the justification.

  157. Andrey Levin
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 3:11 AM | Permalink

    Personally, I think things will get better before they will get worse.

    September Dow-Jones of 10-11K from 14K high already discounted recession worries, housing bubble burst, and most of US financial burst of subprime mortgage securities. October fall of D&J was on mortal worries of world financial system meltdown, when Wall Street realized that same crazy leverage is bursting in Europe (eternal attempts of the European elites to arrange somebody to work for them, this time Third world countries). However, financial crisis is subsiding, money begin to flow again, and cyclical recession will wear itself out in due time, in about a year. No Obama/Pelosi regulation will be able to have effect on the economy that fast.

    After that, it will be bumpy ride. Government overspending will devalue dollar, and another commodity bubble will be on the way. Granting citizenship to millions of illegals will create another housing bubble. Scared-out investments in energy sector will provoke another oil bubble, plus California-like brown-outs. Increase in capital gains taxes will cripple American high tech for a long time. And who knows how many new Community Reinvestment Acts will be passed and will be ticking.

    In short, leftist’s monopoly on political power will cost US 0.5% less growth annually for some 30 years to come.

    PS: I am truly disgusted by apparent Palin derangement syndrome.

  158. Pierre Gosselin
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 3:13 AM | Permalink

    For all you Obama supporters, I do hope he moves to the center. But is he doesn’t, I’ll come seeking your opinion one year from now.

  159. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 3:34 AM | Permalink

    Time zones, late reply.

    I feel I can almost tell the ages of the writers of the 180 posts above, from their content. Here in Australia we have seen not a bit of policy from Obama so we have no idea what he has in mind. I would not have voted either. I’m 67.

    Local radio had a man in New York. He interviewed the “zero tolerance” ex-mayor, who came through as calm, dispassionate, logical and we know he delivered the goods. Then we had a similar time from Obama’s acceptance speech. Heavy on platitudes, much emotion, much about “me” and a later item about two Kennedy family people heading up the environment charge. Will he/they deliver the goods? I think not.

  160. johnmccoy
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

    I grew up and live in a country where you learn very young that you never talk in public about religion or politics (Northern Ireland), and I think we can all see why Steve forbids this here. Science is objective, dogma and opinion must always submit to the data, that is why I love this site – it is all about the data. When it comes to religion or politics then I don’t care if you are right/left, fundamentalist or liberal so long as you don’t let these beliefs get in the way of objective analysis of facts. I’m sad that so many on the left cannot yet see that the green agenda is anti-human, but I’m a leftie at heart and I can see it, so I’m sure that if we stick to objective auditing and honest criticism of the climate fearmongering then others will too. This site is a community of critical thinkers, some of us have very different views on things that have nothing to do with the purpose of this site, but we can still be friends. Obama to me looks like a true leader, someone that the rest of the world can respect and maybe even admire, unlike the current incumbent. The US needs this if they want the world outside their boarders to listen to them. Now the job is to convince him that environmentalism has taken the wrong path and that is something we can contribute to here irrespective of our political feelings.

  161. Richard
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 3:52 AM | Permalink

    Politicians are generally speaking the lowest form of humanity. I would be careful before being taken in by a few nice speeches. I think it would be foolish to imagine that Obama is not very closely tied to big business. It will be principally for them that he will govern.

    There are many parallels with the euphoria mixed up with Tony Blair’s election in 1997 and the reality that we can see today.

  162. Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

    Re: johnmccoy (#186),
    You will never convince Obama. He does not care about the science. He does care about wealth redistribution. Not only do we have recently released videos of him saying that the founding Father’s had a primary flaw in not setting up wealth redistribution, look at how he won the election. He sent his “publicly funded political action committee “ACORN” into the streets to register millions of new democratic voters with the promise of giving them $500 to $750 if they just vote for him.

  163. Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

    Sorry should have been re 188

  164. Chris Wright
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 5:14 AM | Permalink

    As at least one other poster mentioned, I am forcibly reminded of Tony Blair: the adulation, the oratory, the fine promises – and the endless promises of ‘change’. I never liked Blair, and my instincts proved to be right. His administration was rotten to the core, with endless spin, corruption and lies, even if you don’t include Iraq. I hope that Obama will not descend into a similar state of sleaze and I’m reasonably confident that he won’t. But I find the similarities very worrying nevertheless.
    I’m not a big McCain fan but I would have voted for him if I had been an American. Sadly, both candidates seemed equally deluded about climate change. It seems that the next president believes that carbon dioxide is pollution which must be eliminated. That might not be good news for plants! To see the leader of the world to be so utterly deluded like this is very depressing. It really does look like the lunatics have taken over the asylum….
    I’m not terribly optimistic, but maybe Obama will make a positive difference. Time will tell.
    Chris

  165. Scott Brim
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

    It could be that rich societies inevitably degenerate into lazy corrupt societies — something which happens as a more-or-less natural part of their political and economic evolution once the general wealth of a society reaches some certain point of critical mass.

    This is what has happened in Europe, and this is what is now happening in America with the result that we see a nearly all-pervasive lack of honesty and integrity in all areas of science, politics, and business; and among all political factions left, right, and center. And it could be that the now-vibrant economies and societies of Asia will eventually suffer a similar fate in fifty or a hundred years time.

    The politics of Global Warming / Climate Change is founded in its power as a marketing tool in selling a variety of political and economic agendas, and in its exceptional usefulness in cloaking one or more policy agendas inside of other more palatable and more marketable policy agendas so as to hide that less popular agenda from those who might vigorously oppose it.

    Sometimes this ploy is successful in promoting a less-than-popular agenda, and to everyone’s benefit; but other times it is a formula for a spectacular public policy failure, as for example when we discovered that Dubya is actually a 21st Century Woodrow Wilson.

    On a different topic, I attended a highly professional presentation Tuesday evening given by the director of one of DOE’s major national laboratories concerning the emerging nuclear renaissance here in the US southeast. Thankfully, the usual platitudes we hear from nuclear advocates concerning the supposed dire need to limit carbon emissions were given only the most brief and cursory lip service.

    Instead, one part of the presentation was a heavy dose of reality as to what it will take to put nuclear power back on the table as a practical long-term energy option here in the US. Maintaining adequate cost control and proper quality control in pusuing nuclear construction is the true key to putting nuclear back on the table — not whether Yucca Mountain does or does not ever open, not whether Barack Obama does or does not ever choose to support the nuclear renaissance, not whether AGW is or is not a real environmental and public policy problem.

    As much of a laize-fair capitalist, free-market monetarist conservative Republican type of person that I am, I think one should ask the question, “What single action could the new administration take if it was determined to prevent the re-emergence of a safe and productive nuclear construction industry?” That one action would be to limit the significant additional resources the Nuclear Regulatory Commission now must acquire in order to do an effective job of new-construction oversight.

  166. Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

    Personally, I am not too worried on the climate change side. Of course, President Obama will talk about climate change, push for some kind of Kyoto-like committment, embrace world leaders at the 2009 Copenhagen Conference, etc etc. That is, he’s bound to go through the motions.

    But then what? I contend that the AGW message (”Humanity is to blame!“) is incompatible with the Obama message (”Change we can believe in!“).

    First of all, one cannot be positive about humanity’s capacity for change and negative about humanity’s role in the planet’s well-being.

    Furthermore, Climate Change has been explicitly presented time and again as “THE challenge for the present generation” by the likes of Al Gore. Well, Barack Obama’s “Change” is enough of a generational challenge in itself, much bigger than Climate Change and perfectly capable to outlive it.

    In all likelihood, it’ll be the President’s outlook on political life that will carry the day. If that’s the case, AGW as we know it will slowly wither away, ironically under an AGWer President just as it kept on growing during the 8 years of an anti-AGW White House Resident.

  167. MrPete
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    FWIW, here’s evidence of the value of this site.

    Steve and I are in passionate agreement about the importance of integrity on the facts, and the value of science in sifting reality vs imagination. (Obviously) I strongly support the work he’s been doing here; it dovetails with my own professional interests and work. I’m not an accomplished statistician; my contributions have been in information management and computer technology.

    And, surprise surprise, while we have not discussed any of this in detail, our leanings are pretty much polar opposites when it comes to politics, and quite possibly matters of faith. Believe it or not, one can even be “evangelical” and argue forcefully for the need to be good stewards of our four billion year old planet.

    My real point: ClimateAudit is a large boat when it comes to refining the integrity of climate science. This site has room for every color of politics and faith (or lack thereof in either case.) Just don’t cook the books or you’ll find the fire gets very hot very quickly.

    Those who make assumptions about others’ ability to think critically about science–based on age, politics, faith, etc–are themselves not thinking clearly.

    • RomanM
      Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

      Re: MrPete (#196),

      Hear, hear! This thread (plus the fact that that the Climate platforms of the McCain and Obama camps were similar) certainly demonstrates that CC skepticism is not rooted in any particular political bent, but in the difference between the blind acceptance of a bandwagon and actually thinking about and evaluating the real evidence, pro and con, for it.

  168. Steven
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    If you think Obama will embrace nuclear power you weren’t listening to what his campaign was saying.

    If you think his term will be less contentious, you are reflecting the liberal cocoon in which you live. Obama got about the same number of votes as Bush did in his win. That means he will have the same number of people in opposition as did Bush. Are you implying that the left is more contentious per capita? I guess you could make that argument.

  169. Ed Hinton
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 6:30 AM | Permalink

    Steven: I hope you are right, but even if not I am hopeful that in the long run things will correct themselves. I didn;t have time to read all of this thread, but here’s my view. If Obama does govern towards the middle, which I doubt, great. If not, I lived through Carter, who ruined the economy, and the result was Reagan, a man of great vision and principals, though not enough staunchness to prevent runaway spending by the democrat controlled congress at the time. I read articles about this being the worst economy since the 30′s, and laugh because the late 70′s was worse with double-digit inflation, double-digit unemployment, and double-digit mortgage rates. All are single digit now, so it can get better or much worse, and it will be on Obama’s watch. I also take heart from the early 90′s when a democratic controlled congress and Clinton couldn’t ram through socialized medicine due to public outrage. SO chances are, we’ll be all right in the long run. It’s up to Obama and the democrats now to decide whether to roll the dice and lose attempting far-left policies, or be more moderate if they want to retain power more than a few years.

  170. Allen63
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

    As symbolism, Obama’s win has several large positives.

    As a leader, he is not only untested, he has assiduously avoided making decisions for his entire career. As a manager myself, I know making decisions that genuinely solve problems while being confronted by conflicting inputs is hard. It takes years of experience with the subject matter and practice. I doubt Obama can get “there” from where he is today.

    Regarding AGW. I think a Carbon tax, Cap & Trade, Carbon as a pollutant is shear madness — but that is what Obama seems to have proposed. Otherwise, going more green based on objective engineering and cost/benefit calculations is OK.

    I hope he does a great job — he has a chance to get his face on Mount Rushmore. But that remains to be seen.

  171. Terry B
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

    It’s clear that Barrack Obama has universal, worldwide appeal, and that special x-factor. In the UK I already sense a revival of our love affair with the USA.

    As for climate policies, I think the wider objectives that Steve alludes to will inevitably rule the day, regardless of science – its just that at the moment, the science helps make the case. Here in the UK, nuclear is already back on the agenda.

  172. Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 7:11 AM | Permalink

    The US is energy independent in terms of production of electric power. More nuclear plants would serve to augment the base load generation, possibly replacing coal fired plants some time in the future.

    The only way nuclear will have an effect on the use of oil is by the use of plug-in electric cars. Even if they suddenly become economically justifiable, there is not sufficient utility for enough people to switch from their current cars.

  173. BraudRP
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    Harry: Reply 164

    As Coulter suggested, ” … we owe it to the Democrats to show their president the exact same kind of respect and loyalty that they have shown our recent Republican president.”

    So we have a repeat of what happened with the Democrat president before Bush. Then we can look forward to the Democrats repeating how the last Republican president has been treated. Not a happy prospect. But perhaps we deserve nothing better if we can’t find better ways to resolve our differences.

  174. Andrew
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

    I am quite concerned that AGW skepticism has become associated with US right wing politics and that will scare away many people that might be inclined to express support for the skeptical POV. The posts lambasting Steve for expressing support for Obama are a perfect example.

    This is a perfect example of regugitating leftist propaganda.

    Paint AGW skeptics as right wingers. It’s right out of the Democrat Party playbook. It’s a play they are running 24/7 365 without a break.

    • Raven
      Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

      Re: Andrew (#206)

      Paint AGW skeptics as right wingers. It’s right out of the Democrat Party playbook.

      They obviously aren’t if you take the time to read this thread. My point was that some posters seem to think that one cannot be skeptical of AGW without holding a wide range of right wing views. I think these climate discussions would be greatly enhanced if people would agree to disagree on outside issues like healthcare or the war in iraq.

  175. Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    While most of us have varying degrees of skepticism about the Hansen-IPCC-Gore AGW orthodoxy, we must face the fact that a majority of politicians, particularly the Democrats who now control both houses of Congress plus the White House, go along with it. We’re going to get some kind of major legislation in this direction, but perhaps we can still direct it in some way which will be least harmful and even have some beneficial effects.

    Most economists would agree that the most transparent and least distortionary way to restrict something that has important negative externalities is with a tax. I therefore would recommend a moderate tax on carbon emissions. Probably something in excess of $1 per gallon of fossil gasoline, plus equivalent taxes on coal, natural gas, etc, would be required to meet IPCC goals, but it would be more politic and less risky to start with something smaller, say $.50 per gallon plus equivalents, to see how it goes and to give the world time to audit the AGW case in the detail it deserves.

    Even if there is nothing to the AGW story, such a tax would have many benefits. It would:

    1. reduce fuel consumption and therefore conventional pollutants, which we all agree are nasty.

    2. reduce the supply price of crude and therefore the income of anti-American OPEC countries

    3. encourage people to drive fewer vehicles fewer miles, thus relieving traffic congestion.

    4. encourage people to seek out greater fuel efficiency, alternative energy sources, etc, in their own interest, thus eliminating the case for boondoggle subsidies to ethanol, wind power, carbon reburial, etc.

    5. reduce coal mining, which tends to be destructive to the landscape.

    6. raise a lot of money for the Treasury to spend on whatever Congress decides — but there is no reason to tie this to energy, since the tax itself already provides the necessary incentives in this direction. It could be used to reduce the national debt (my favorite), to build multiple bridges to Ketchikan, to occupy the entire Middle East for the next 100 years, to insure all mutual funds against negative returns, or whatever Congress fancies.

    7. And who knows, perhaps despite all the IPCC hype, time will tell that there really is something to the AGW story, and we can jack up the tax to a higher level. Or if not, we can just eliminate the tax.

    In theory, a market for quantitative controls as has been proposed could achieve the same effects as a tax, if the proceeds go to the Treasury. However, such quotas tend to end up being given to the incumbent producers, which is equivalent to giving them the tax proceeds! A tax is far more transparent and less cumbersome, plus it’s easy to see where the benefits are going.

    But enough politics …

  176. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 6, 2008 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    Thread closed. EVerybody’s let off a little steam. Back to business.

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