PR Rains on Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ Parade

It's hot out there for a president.

Many believe this country hasn’t been any closer to experiencing true clean energy than we are right now, and a majority of Americans believe that we are very much experiencing climate change. That’s why what President Obama is experiencing right now is a little dumbfounding.

The Clean Power Plan was announced Sunday and the news cycle is still spinning about its possible effect on this country. Its goal is a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s coal-burning power plants.

Yesterday, Obama began his public tour to shill for support:

“Today after working with states and cities and power companies, the EPA is setting the first ever nationwide standards to end the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from power plants…Washington is starting to catch up with the vision of the rest of the country. “

He may be a “lame duck” president, but that’s why he’s swinging for the fences. Even The New York Times called it “the strongest action ever taken to combat climate change.”

And he’s not getting one bit of support. Wait, what?! 

The problem with PR is that it’s a momentum play. To get a nice spike in PR is one thing. To keep that spike sharp for days, weeks, or months is another thing entirely. It didn’t take the trolls, haters, and staunch conservatives to figure out that Obama has been down this road before.

  • 2008, “I have no intention of softening or delaying his aggressive targets for reducing emissions that cause the warming of the planet.”
  • 2010, “This year, I am eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate.”
  • 2012, “Climate change will be a campaign issue.”

That was about it because those two polarizing words didn’t make it into the last two State of the Union speeches in 2011 and 2012.

It would seem that Obama is the Commander in Chief who cried wolf.

If you want to be a politician, you can afford that luxury because there’s always someone else to blame your flubs upon. If you are a politician in need of some serious PR points, you have to hope people have a strong sense of forgetfulness … eh, forgiveness.

obama sweatWhen you’re president, you need another tool, so Obama went for “old faithful” because it really hasn’t worked before. But even if he doesn’t seem to have the majority of Americans on his side, Obama does have one big influencer: Mother Nature.

Last year was the hottest year ever, and 2015 promises to be a balmy candidate for the tip spot. So, by 2030 (based on a story by NBC News), things could be dramatically different:

Obama’s final proposal requires states, over the next 15 years, to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent compared to 2005 levels. The goal is more ambitious than the 30 percent cut he called for last year. The revised plan also give states more time to comply.

Regardless, the media is wary of it, Americans still don’t really care about it, and his political adversaries are hell-bent against it. Apathy continues and until that needle is moved in a favorable direction, no announcement in the world will cause this country to embrace what the environment needs: a good PR narrative that brings us together so we can all be seen doing the right thing.

Until then, I guess we will always know how many thin-lipped conservatives it takes to screw in a light bulb. The answer is none, because right now they’re all busy sitting in the dark and blaming Obama for the outage.

[PHOTO: AP file, 2013; Evan Vucci/AP, 2014]