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You thought the health care battle was ugly. Just wait for the climate fight.
Luckily for Obama, he has the numbers on his side. A new Washington Post poll shows broad support for the president's handling of energy policy. (Fifty-five percent of Americans think Obama is doing it right, compared with 30 percent who don't; 52 percent support cap and trade, while 43 percent do not.) Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that the House bill, if passed, would cost the average American household only $175 per year in 2020. The Environmental Protection Agency predicted it would cost between $80 and $110 a year. (Republicans say the cost would be higher.)
But as the health care debate has shown, public support matters little, and facts matter even less. And even if health care reform does pass, it's unclear that Blue Dogs will be eager to lie down for the administration a second time. In which case, perhaps climate change—not health care—could be Obama's Waterloo.
Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.
Photograph of Barbara Boxer by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.