The globe's future and November's choice

by A Siegel

I consider Dr. Slammy one of those thoughtful bloggers that any/all can gain from reading and considering. Yesterday, he sent An open letter to Progressive America. This piece, very worth reading, lays out Dr. Slammy’s regret for his non-vote in 2000.

I’d like to begin with a confession: I didn’t vote in 2000. It’s the only presidential election since I turned 18 that I’ve sat out, and I’m more than embarrassed about it. It remains one of the biggest mistakes of my political life, and that’s saying something. The fact that my participation wouldn’t have made any difference (I lived in Massachusetts at the time) affords no solace, nor should it. I was stupid. I fucked up. Period.

Dr Slammy then looks back on how the world and US government might have been different with Al Gore in the Oval Office. He makes a powerful appeal for all Clinton and all Obama supporters to understand the clear difference between a choice between the Democratic candidate (whichever it might be) come November and John McCain. Dr Slammy considers a raft of issues and seeks to highlight the stark choice before us / the US:

What about McCain, though? He voted in favor of waterboarding – after repeatedly calling it torture?! He not only supported the invasion of Iraq, he supports staying there for a thousand more years. He also promises that there will be more wars. He supports repealing Roe v. Wade. He voted no on a $100M initiative to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. He’s rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. He’s rated 83% by the Christian Coalition, indicating a strongly (euphemism alert) “pro-family” voting record.

A powerful statement, a powerful appeal for seeking unity post-primaries, to understand the starkness of the choice before us and the US. And, a raft of serious issues. A raft of serious issues with a very serious gap.

  • Where is the environment in Dr Slammy’s discussion? Absent!
  • Where is Global Warming? Absent!
  • Where is energy? Absent!

These absent issues are critical for our future. These absent issues are arenas of substantive and very meaningful differences between Hillary/Barack/the Democratic Party and John/the GOP (Greedy Old Polluters) on the other. And, these are arenas where John McCain’s tenuous hold on reality and deceptive “Straight Talk” create an appearance of reasonableness on McCain’s part not matched by his reality. And, it is critical to highlight the reality of these differences so that when Hillary or Barack enter the Oval Office next January (with 61 Democratic Party Senators), there is a clear mandate for substantive change when it comes to US government policies in these arenas.

Looking back over the past 7+ years, is it hard to see that Al Gore would have pursued energy, environmental, and global warming issues as incompetently and disastrously as we’ve seen from the Bush-Cheney (mal)Administration. Energy Task Force dominated by people from fossil fuel industries; tax cuts favoring polluting over renewable energy; regulatory support for mountain top removal; failure to enforce existing laws and regulations; etc … Would Gore have assigned rabid foxes to guard the hen houses of America?

While I could spend millions of words speaking to the past seven years, the issue of import is looking forward. There are fundamental differences between Obama and/or Clinton, on the one hand, and McCain, on the other, when it comes to energy concepts, global warming, and environmental issues. Sadly, however, these fundamental differences are too often obscured by the McCain “Straight Talk Express” which translates into a Dirty Energy Twisted Non-Action Machine when it comes to the real world.

John McCain gets much credit for his Straight Talk when it comes to Global Warming, speaking tough even in the face of a Republican Party that seems determine to reject reality. The Republican Base seems to trust their hatred of Al Gore more than what the data, science, and the weather all around us (US) say to those focused on reality-based policy-making. McCain, however, is on the record as to the need to invest in renewable power to deal with Global Warming, even in face of special-interest opposition.

Yet … yet … repeatedly … when given the opportunity to take action to go along with his Green Straight Talk Express, John McCain has boarded the Black Twisted Action Delay Machine and help inhibit (rather than help) a move toward an Energy Smart future. He has studiously avoided being present for votes that might have made his “Straight Talk” into reality, votes where his absence doomed action on renewable power. McCain received a zero (yes, a big 0) from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) in their 2007 scorecard. Clinton a 73 and Obama a 67. While not a perfect judge of their records, this is a pretty clear statement of some serious differences as to how these candidates have acted in the Congressional careers.

And, the traditional media has been complicit, far too often, in the blurring of the fundamental differences. USA Today reports favorably on McCain and environmental issues…

“I want to compete in California,” the Arizona senator said Monday, saying his outlook on such issues as the environment will be a help in the traditionally blue state.

…while failing to note that McCain has a “lifetime score of 24 percent from the League of Conservation Voters.”

Or, how about The Washington Post’s blurring of the differences when it comes to Global Warming?

In contrast to President Bush, the next president will not start as a skeptic about the danger posed by global warming, and he or she will favor, not resist, legislation to impose mandatory caps on greenhouse gases, even without an international agreement binding other nations.

Yes, according to the Post, there is no meaningful difference and we are to cheer that McCain has enough of a sense of reality that he is not a global warming denier.In fact, a key element of the Republican “win” strategy will be to figure out how not to anger those living in the Black Hole of Denial on Global Warming while seeking to get buy in from those who live in the reality-based world that John McCain is somehow reasonable on Global Warming and energy issues.

Yes, McCain will state that Global Warming matters, that we require green technologies. But he won’t be bothered to show up to vote for them. (As did Clinton and Obama.) McCain will speak of how polluters are obstructing progress:

Special interests. It’s the special interests. It’s the utility companies and the petroleum companies and other special interests. They’re the ones that have blocked progress in the Congress of the United States and the administration. That’s a little straight talk.

Yet, when given the opportunity, he won’t show up to vote on bills that those “special interests” oppose. (As did Obama and Clinton.)Presidential Candidate Obama is promising serious action on energy and global warming issues. Presidential Candidate Obama has laid out energy policies that will enrich the United States, lower oil imports, and improve our health while helping turn the tide on global warming. Presidential Candidate Obama has a policy construct that targets 80% reductions in US CO2 emissions by 2050, in line with science. And …

Presidential Candidate Clinton is promising serious action on energy and global warming issues. Presidential Candidate Clinton has laid out energy policies that will enrich the United States, lower oil imports, and improve our health while helping turn the tide on global warming. Presidential Candidate Clinton has a policy construct that targets 80% reductions in US CO2 emissions by 2050, in line with science. And …

Presidential Candidate McCain is talking of some action related to energy and global warming, with a voluntary target of 60% reduction by 2050, a level that scientists conclude will create a (far) greater chance of catastrophic climate change with massive implications economically, for national security, for the habitability of the planet. And …

Just as there were quite serious energy and environmental policy and philosophy differences between Presidential Candidates Al Gore and George W Bush, there are quite serious differences between Presidential Candidates Obama / Clinton and John McCain.

We cannot allow McCain’s misleading Straight Talk Express to nowhere to go unanswered, to allow RNC greenwashing to confuse the issues.

Guest Post from A Siegel, Energy Smart and Chair, Energize America.

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