When President Obama announced he'd be using his executive authority to cut carbon emissions from the nation's coal-fired power plants last week, it was hailed as the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change. And, while the new regulations are a far cry from everything Obama would like to accomplish environmentally, the stakes are tremendous. Every American will be affected — whether through jobs or energy costs or cleaner air — and hundreds of coal-fired power plants are expected to close.
You'd think that that story, with such broad impacts on possible job growth and energy costs (to say nothing of implications for upcoming political elections) might dominate the news cycles, at least for the week. You'd be wrong.
A few days earlier, something else happened: The president announced he'd cut a deal to free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held for about five years by the Taliban. Obama held a rare Saturday press conference with Bergdahl's family in the Rose Garden. And then ... the Internet exploded.
Everyone had an opinion and exclamation points abounded. Was Bergdahl a deserter? Some said yes! Others no! Still others said it shouldn't matter! Did the president give Congress adequate notice before releasing five Guantanamo Bay terrorists in exchange for Bergdahl? Did he break the law? And if the president did break the law in releasing those men from Guantanamo without first being cleared by Congress, was the law even constitutional? Also, what was up with Bergdahl's dad's beard? Ron Fournier managed to stand out in the crowd simply by not having a strong opinion on the matter, noting we knew next to nothing at the time.