The top candidate backed by the fossil fuel industry – big oil, gas and coal – just lost the election.
The latest data (October 15) from the Center for Responsive Politics, further refined and analyzed by Oil Change International, indicates that President Barack Obama received $769,435 from the fossil fuel industry and it’s employees in this election.
Mitt Romney received more than six times as much dirty energy money – $4,854,051 – and he lost.
The oil boys from Houston must be feeling sick as dogs this morning as they backed the wrong man. They must be feeling sick that their corrosive funding of politicians has failed. We should celebrate that today, in this historic moment, when America re-elected our first ever African-American President, the country stands with the many, not the money.
Obama’s win was all the more remarkable as it was against “an unprecedented torrent of advertising”. At least $153 million of this propaganda storm surge was funded by the fossil fuel industry – not even counting the $400 million that the Koch brothers pledged to defeat Obama and Democrats around the country.
Jack Gerard, the head of the American Petroleum Institute that brought you the vile and omnipresent “Energy Voter” campaign who was said to be well placed for a top job in any Romney Administration.
Gerard was a long-time admirer and fundraiser for Romney. As the Huffington Post recently noted, “Jack Gerard is not just another big-shot oil lobbyist with ties to a GOP campaign. He’s in a class by himself. A fellow Mormon, Gerard is close friends with Romney and widely considered one of his most trusted allies in Washington.”
The article continued: “A Romney victory would put a friend and ally of Washington’s top oil lobbyist in the White House … Over the past year, Gerard has provided the Romney campaign with a gusher of financial and political support, helping lead several Washington fundraisers that raked in millions.” The two men are said to be so close that Romney even attended a fundraising dinner at Gerard’s home.
Gerard was Romney’s main man in Washington, who probably would have had a position in Romney’s administration, even in Romney’s cabinet, maybe even becoming Romney’s chief of staff.
Sorry Jack. Not this time.
It’s up to Obama now to show true, clear, concise leadership. The President is widely reported to be very concerned with his place in history.
Having been criticized by many for his climate silence during the Presidential debate, Obama at least rectified some of the damage by making sure that climate change was mentioned in his victory speech. “We want our children to live in a world without the destructive power of a warming planet”.
Indeed we do Mr. President. But backing an “All of the Above” energy strategy will not solve climate change – it will in fact, create it. The President once again last night also talked about “freeing ourselves from foreign oil” – which at this point is thinly veiled code for increased domestic drilling and tar sands. You can bet Jack Gerard is happy about that part this morning.
The President cannot simultaneously fight climate change and support an All of the Above/Drill Baby Drill energy strategy. It would be like launching a war on cancer while promoting cheap cigarettes for kids. Leadership on climate requires understanding this.
The oil industry was very, very loud in this election – but in the end – they were not very powerful. Their millions didn’t buy them the Presidency, or the Senate. This should be a huge lesson for the Democrats who have often seemed afraid of the fossil fuel industry.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the political landscape – and the public’s understanding of the threat of climate change and it’s causes – has shifted. Obama needs to seize that initiative – and all of us who care about the climate, clean energy, and our future – need to help him. It begins now. On day one of term two.
Fired Up. Ready to go.
-This piece was written by Andy Rowell and Steve Kretzmann