Obama hasn’t given up on energy bill just yet

OBAMA HASN’T GIVEN UP ON ENERGY BILL JUST YET…. About a week ago, a Senate Democratic aide told Roll Call that the White House has brought a renewed sense of urgency to work on a climate/energy bill. “He’s really doubling down on this,” the aide said of President Obama.

That was on Monday. By Thursday, 47 senators — including every Republican in the chamber, and six Dems — had thrown their support to a scheme to strip the EPA of its authority to regulate carbon emissions. The notion of finding 60 votes for a meaningful energy reform package suddenly appeared implausible, and those who take the matter seriously felt dejected.

While most of the people I’ve spoken to who work on climate/energy policy have just about thrown in the towel, it looks the White House hasn’t quite given up yet.

President Obama sent a letter to supporters Monday emphasizing the risks of the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and exalting the economic and environmental benefits of alternative energy sources.

“This is how we will reinvent our economy and create new companies and new jobs all across the country,” Mr. Obama wrote. […]

He asked supporters to sign an online petition at barackobama.com, his campaign site run by Organizing for America.

The letter didn’t just reference energy policy in general; it specifically references “comprehensive energy and climate reform.” Obama added, “There will be transition costs and a time of adjustment. But if we refuse to heed the warnings from the disaster in the Gulf — we will have missed our best chance to seize the clean-energy future we know America needs to thrive in the years and decades to come.”

What’s more, Mike Allen reported yesterday, “President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies plan a major new push for a broad global warming bill, fueled in part by public outrage over the BP disaster, according to top aides.”

Democratic pollster Joel Benenson has also prepared a new briefing, intended to show lawmakers that public attitudes on the issue, especially in the midst of the BP oil spill disaster, make a climate/energy bill “a potent weapon to wield against Republicans in the fall.”

With all of this in mind, keep a close eye on tonight’s Oval Office address, and the way in which the president makes the case for a new domestic energy policy. More on that soon.

As for the larger political dynamic, I’m not even close to getting my hopes up, and given Republican obstinacy, and their intention to filibuster literally every bill of significance, it’s hard to imagine good legislation getting 60 votes. But political winds can shift quickly, and health care reform and Wall Street reform both looked nearly dead more than once.