Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Least surprising news of the year:
President Trump has made his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision. Details on how the withdrawal will be executed are being worked out by a small team including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. They're deciding on whether to initiate a full, formal withdrawal — which could take 3 years — or exit the underlying United Nations climate change treaty, which would be faster but more extreme.
But ... but ... Ivanka! She's so green! What about her vast influence on her dad? Why didn't she prevail in the end?

Here's a Twitter exchange between Axios's Jonathan Swan, who broke the story of the pullout, and a snarky Democratic strategist:

Well, maybe -- but it makes no difference in the end. In fact, if a New York Times story is accurate, the debate within the White House was already so far to the right that an Ivanka victory would have been all but meaningless:
For a president not steeped in policy intricacies, the decision is vexing. On both sides are voices he profoundly respects: chief executives of some of the world’s largest companies urging him to remain part of the accord and ardent conservatives like Stephen K. Bannon, his chief strategist, and Scott Pruitt, his Environmental Protection Agency administrator, tugging him toward a withdrawal from the 195-country agreement.

Exxon Mobil’s chief executive, Darren W. Woods, wrote recently that remaining in the agreement would be prudent, part of a nearly united corporate front. Within the administration, Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council; the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump; and his secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, say the United States can remain a party to the accord even as the administration moves to eviscerate the Obama-era climate policies that would have allowed the United States to meet its pollution-reduction targets under the agreement.
(Emphasis added.)

In other words, the "liberal" position in the Trump White House -- the one favored by Ivanka -- was that the U.S. should remain a party to the accord even as the Trump administration carried out policies that thoroughly undermined it. The Times story makes clear that this was the option favored by Ivanka's husband:
... Jared Kushner, a senior adviser in the White House, also favors staying as long as doing so does not legally limit the steps Mr. Trump is taking to move away from the restrictive environmental standards President Barack Obama put in place.
And yet reporters will still tell you that the president isn't really a Republican, that he has no fixed ideology, and that someday we may wake up and find him turning into Barack Obama or FDR on some issue.

This will never happen. Whatever Trump's politics might have been twenty or thirty years ago, he's a creature of Fox News now. He follows only 45 Twitter accounts, but of those, 10 are Fox-related accounts. He's a conservative Republican. His deviations from conservative Republican orthodoxy are, with very few exceptions, based in paleoconservative white nationalist Republicanism of the Pat Buchanan variety. Maybe he'll toss paid leave into his budget as a sop to his daughter, but on everything else, he'll never govern like a Democrat, and he'll rarely govern even as a Republican moderate. He relishes the Fox/GOP permanent war against the Democratic Party and liberalism. He'll never give that up.

No comments: