The Corner

Obama’s ‘Most Crypto-Radical Line Ever’?

Does President Obama support the movement to press university endowments, city governments, and churches to divest themselves of fossil-fuel-company stocks? If so, Obama would be waging war on a lot more than just coal. He would be supporting a movement dedicated to destroying America’s entire conventional energy industry.

Obama inserted a supportive nod to the fossil-fuel divestment movement in his recent climate speech at Georgetown University. Yet he phrased his support for divestment in such a way as to avoid mainstream notice, while nonetheless telegraphing a clear endorsement to campus divestment activists. Here’s what Obama said: “Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. Invest. Divest. Remind folks there’s no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth.”

The New York Times caught the reference to the campus fossil-fuel divestment campaign. It also quoted MSNBC’s Chris Hayes calling Obama’s signal of support for the campus fossil-fuel divestment movement, “the most crypto-radical line the president has ever uttered.” The Times article gives plenty of evidence of the paper’s usual bias in favor of divestment. (I touch on that in the final installment of my three-part series on the campus fossil-fuel divestment movement.)

According to the Times, “The White House is not elaborating on what the president meant at Georgetown by ‘divest.’” Sounds like it’s time for a reporter ask Jay Carney whether President Obama supports the fossil-fuel divestment movement or not. Whichever way it goes, the answer should be awfully interesting.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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