In a case of bad timing, the White House plans to sell their energy agenda next week, at a time when that agenda has no chance to pass Congress.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and other administration officials will meet with business owners at an event Monday where the White House will launch its “Startup America” campaign. The initiative will focus on “promoting high-growth entrepreneurship across the country with new initiatives to help encourage private sector investment in job-creating startups, accelerate research, and address barriers to success for entrepreneurs and small businesses,” according to the White House.

On Tuesday, Obama plans to meet with business owners from the tech industry and hold a cabinet meeting to discuss the campaign. Obama will then travel to Penn State’s University Park campus on Wednesday to discuss energy innovation. And on Friday, Obama’s economic advisers will update a 2009 report on innovation.

This is obviously a business-heavy approach, and the President has, I think, visited every high-tech battery and energy facility in the country twice in the past two years. But to the extent that it’s connected to any actual legislation, I don’t see how it could pass. Lindsey Graham plans to introduce a bill with a “clean energy standard,” presumably along the lines of the 80% by 2035 standard that President Obama called for in the State of the Union. But does anyone really expect this to get through Congress? Are they aware that the guy who shot the cap and trade bill in a campaign ad – and won – now sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where a bill like this would have to originate? And he’s one of the Democrats?

I’d argue that an energy agenda had a salesmanship moment back in 2009. Instead, the Administration’s actions, giving goodies to Republicans before they could be used as bargaining chips for legislation, harmed the efforts at a solution. So this after-the-fact advocacy doesn’t seem useful, even as a political ploy.

…Dave Roberts has more on the President’s energy gambit.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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