The game sensation that’s sweeping the nation, from Hasbeen©!
MITT ROMNEY certainly has his weaknesses as a candidate, but his biggest challenge in attracting independent swing voters will be overcoming a well-earned reputation for saying whatever the Republican base wants to hear. Having watched him in the primaries, you have to wonder whether there is any issue in which he would turn to the far-right in his party and say: “I’m sorry. You have this wrong. Here’s the hard truth. …”
But that’s your job, Tom! Only you know “the hard truth”. We’re just so fortunate you share as much of it with us as you do.
One place he could start to change that perception is with the issues of energy, conservation and the environment. In recent years, the G.O.P. base has fallen into a knee-jerk drill, baby, drill attitude that clean energy is for sissies and protecting the environment only hurts jobs, therefore, conservatism and conservation can’t mix. Last week, Romney traveled to a remote coal-mining town, Craig, Colo., where he trashed President Obama’s green jobs record, while addressing workers wearing caps that said “Coal = Jobs.” Yes, it does, for lung doctors.
Bada-bing, bada-boom! Ho-ho, what a riot!
But go ahead, Tom, put on your conservative thinking cap and tell us how to think. I’m sure we don’t need to ask you twice:
[T]here is a more intelligent conservative energy strategy: a campaign to develop an energy mix that is “American, diverse and clean.” Put the G.O.P. behind whatever fuel sources or technologies the marketplace produces — be they natural gas, wind, wave, solar, nuclear, efficiency, biofuels or sequestered coal — provided they’re produced in America, give us diversity of supply and steadily move us to cleaner air.
Cleaner than what, thirty years ago? It already is! Cleaner than your beloved China’s air? Give me a break. Facts, dear boy! Bring me facts.
[T]his slavish devotion to coal and oil, and sneering at environmentalism, contradicts the G.O.P.’s long tradition of environmental stewardship that some Republicans are still proud of: Teddy Roosevelt bequeathed us national parks, Richard Nixon the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency, Ronald Reagan the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer and George H. W. Bush cap-and-trade that reduced acid rain. Does the G.O.P. really think it will attract the idealism of next-generation voters with mottos like “Coal = Jobs”?
I seem to recall Nixon, Reagan, and Bush feeling more than all right about oil. Roosevelt I don’t know—but I bet if you told him to lay off the coal, he’d run you through with his saber.
As for those idealistic next-generation voters, Tom, if we just tweak the signs to say “Coal = JOBS“, they might come around.
Finally, the G.O.P.’s Tea Party base has grown more hostile than ever to conservation just when some big conservation groups have redefined their missions — from protecting nature for its own sake, a noble goal, to also protecting our “natural infrastructure” that provides jobs, food and security.
How ’bout it, Tea Partiers, are you “hostile” (more than ever) to “conservation”? Me neither. It’s not mere coincidence that “conservative” and “conservation” share a root. Anyway, how can the Tea Party be more anything “than ever” when it’s been existence barely three years?
That odd noise is the sound of Tom Friedman speaking out his ass. (You’ll get used to it.)
Now that he’s told conservatives how they think—and then how they should—without even citing one, he turns his attention to the environmentalists. And just happens to have a lobbyist handy!
This shift is best summed up by Glenn Prickett, the chief external affairs officer for The Nature Conservancy: “We spent the 20th century protecting nature from people, and we will spend the 21st century protecting nature for people.”
The conservancy has broadened its emphasis from buying up natural land and locking it away so it can never be despoiled to building lasting economic partnerships between those who control “natural infrastructure” and those who benefit from it — so both will have the interest and means to preserve it.
Once you show what healthy ecosystems provide for people, “conservation” takes on a whole new meaning: healthy farms depend on pollinators, healthy rivers on the forests that filter the water and prevent soil erosion, healthy fishing grounds on preserving the coral reefs where fish spawn, healthy coastal areas on the reefs and mangroves that blunt storm surges, healthy hydroelectric power on water from cloud forests. Good stewardship of natural infrastructure = jobs, security, food and water.
Wait, did he just start making sense? Oh, that’s because he talked to someone who knew what he was talking about, not himself. Clearly.
So, after setting up a series of straw-man arguments short on fact, sense, and experience (does he even know any conservatives?), he contrasts those with reasonable proposals to manage our resources, neither to rape them, nor cloister them.
And he says conservatives are unreasonable?
Spare me the drivel about wind and solar (and nice the way he just slipped nuclear power in there to show how sensible he is—as if his enviro-buddies would ever allow a single neutron into their aquifers), this sounds like drill (wisely), baby, drill (wisely).
Okay, fine. You win.
So what was the friggin’ point?