For the next couple of years, Obama is playing defense on climate change, and that could explain the fairly tame energy policy he announced yesterday, says Ezra Klein of The Washington Post. Like the Kung-Fu masters of yore, he knows that he cannot hope to defeat his opponents in a frontal assault. These are, after all, politicians who would strip the EPA of even its existing power to regulate greenhouse gases, so there's no way in hell they'd vote for strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Rather, he's got to bend like the reed. If he puts forth a bold plan to, for example, put a price on carbon, it could reduce his chances of re-election, and then he's of no use to anyone who cares about action on climate change.

Klein doesn't let Obama off the hook completely, however: he points out that he could have at least endorsed a bolder plan for funding energy innovation, like the one put forward by the American Energy Innovation Council, whose roster of supporters includes Lockheed Martin, Xerox, Microsoft, Bank of America, GE, and Cummins.

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