Let me give you a couple of examples:
First of all, while the left was screaming about the lack of a public option in health care reform, the bill included the most massive expansion of public health care in our lifetimes - by making about 15 million more people eligible for Medicaid. In addition, there were things in the bill like the "bomb" Rick Unger talked about - medical loss ratios - which will challenge the very basis of for-profit health care.
Secondly, while the left was outraged about the 2 year extension of the Bush tax cuts, President Obama was getting another $383 billion in stimulus for the economy.
Finally, while everyone was just sure that President Obama had caved on the debt ceiling deal, we now know that he was laying the groundwork for the possibility of the largest reduction in military spending in our lifetimes.
So today President Obama will release his latest federal budget. I'm sure that all the talk coming from both the left and the right will be about his proposed tax increases for the wealthy and investments in infrastructure, education and jobs.
Those are all important policies. But what will likely go unnoticed is something I read about a few days ago.
The White House believes it’s figured out how to get more money for clean energy programs touted by President Obama without having it become political road kill in the wake of the Solyndra controversy: Put it in the Pentagon.
While details are thin on the ground, lawmakers who work on both energy and defense spending policy believe the 2013 budget request to be delivered to Congress on Monday probably won’t include big increases for wind and solar power through the Energy Department, a major target for Republicans since solar-panel maker Solyndra defaulted last year on a $535 million loan guarantee from the DOE.
But they do expect to see increases in spending on alternative energy in the Defense Department, such as programs to replace traditional jet fuel with biofuels, supply troops on the front lines with solar-powered electronic equipment, build hybrid engine tanks and aircraft carriers, and increase renewable energy use on military bases.
This strikes me as one of President Obama's most brilliant moves...the greening of the military. As I've said before, our defense budget is over twice that of the entire national budget of countries like Germany. If the military goes green, it will have a HUGE impact not only on global warming, but on clean energy development in general. And the military loves it because it contributes to their security should access to oil from unstable foreign markets be limited.
The military support for this means that most Republicans will be pressured to be on board. But they'll likely have to stay quiet about it in order to maintain their position of calling climate change a hoax.
Liberals tend to have a knee-jerk negative response to ANY military spending but will have a hard time complaining about this level of investment in clean energy. And so they will find themselves in a bit of a conundrum as well.
In the end, I don't expect this part of President Obama's budget proposal to get much attention - even as its likely to be the part that actually passes. But it will go down as one of the President's most progressive achievements that will impact all of us for decades to come.