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Will the Commons Emerge as a 2008 Campaign Issue?

Obama is already embracing climate policies that come close to the Cap-and-Dividend approach.

Many are wondering if the commons will emerge as a bona fide political issue in this year’s presidential election.

Even if it doesn’t become a centerpiece of policy for the next administration, discussion of an issue like the commons on the campaign trail can significantly raise public awareness.

In Barack Obama, the Democrats have a candidate willing to think expansively about a wide range of issues beyond the usual electoral perimeters.

It’s not inconceivable that a candidate who cut his political teeth as a community organizer and has made the “audacity of hope” a personal slogan might welcome a fresh new approach that stretches the usual boundaries of ideology and political practicality. In addition, the converging crises of a lame economy and skyrocketing energy prices will likely embolden presidential hopefuls to reach out for new ideas that once would have been dismissed as radical.

Obama has already embraced policies on climate change that come close to the Cap-and-Dividend proposal conceived by On the Commons cofounder Peter Barnes.

Obama outlines his ideas on climate change and numerous critical issues in a thoughtful interview with Rolling Stone magazine:

“If we institute a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, that’s going to generate billions of dollars. Now, that’s also going to mean higher electricity prices for consumers, so a huge chunk of that has to go back to consumers in the form of rebates, so they don’t feel the pinch as badly.”

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