Bad for Copenhagen?

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I recently was chatting with one of the folks who run Organizing for America, the offshoot of the Barack Obama presidential campaign that is now housed within the Democratic Party, and I mentioned that I thought OFA had come late to the climate change party—meaning that it had only moved to mobilize its millions of supporters in support of the cap and trade bill a few days before the legislation hit the House floor this past Friday. I got no argument. And it’s even arguable that the Obama-backed Waxman-Markey bill barely passed (219-212) partly because the White House did not put much of its organizing muscle behind the measure.

Sure, a win is a win. But this narrow victory will certainly embolden the bill’s opponents for the next—and more difficult—round: the Senate, which may or may not take up similar legislation in the fall.

This close win might also make life more difficult for the US official whose job it is to save the planet: Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s climate envoy. He’s now preparing for the Copenhagen conference, scheduled for December, where a successor to the Kyoto climate change accord is supposed to be negotiated. One of Stern’s big jobs is to persuade China, India, and other developing nations to cut back on their rising emissions of greenhouse gasses. But to have a chance of doing that he has to show them that the United States, the number-one emitter in historic and per capita terms, is serious about reducing its own emissions. Foreign governments looking for a sign of US seriousness could take a 219-212 vote (for a bill that will not reduce emissions as quickly as some scientists call for) as a mixed signal.

For more on Stern and the tough position he’s in, see my just-posted article on him.

You can follow David Corn’s postings and media appearances via Twitter.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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