One of the smartest moves the Republican Party on Capitol Hill has made of late – and yes, we recognize that is faint praise, because the GOP hasn’t covered itself with glory in the past eight months or so – was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to call a vote on the idiotic Green New Deal plan offered up by the infantile freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her staff. You’ve heard about the Green New Deal, certainly – that dog’s breakfast of pseudo-environmentalist leftism containing such gems as the elimination of air travel and the cattle industry, the renovation of every structure in America to comply with “green” standards and government guarantees of a salary for those unwilling to work a job.
Parts of the Green New Deal were so poorly written and implausible as policy that Ocasio-Cortez actually took it down from her website. But that didn’t stop McConnell – who recognized a good political opportunity when he saw one – from hustling the Green New Deal into form as a piece of legislation and presenting it to the Senate for a vote. After all, several Senators among the multitudes of Democrat contenders for president in 2020 had signed on to the Green New Deal without even knowing what was in it, so McConnell figured he’d give them an opportunity to stand behind that pledge.
And in so doing he’d force them to admit they’re as economically illiterate and reality-challenged as AOC is.
The response to McConnell’s gambit by minority leader Chuck Schumer was predictable: whining.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday ripped into Republicans for planning to force a vote on the Green New Deal, calling the plan a “stunt,” a “cheap, cynical ploy” and “a game of political gotcha.”
“The Republican leader announced he’s going to bring up a resolution he intends to vote against,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Now that is what the American people hate about Congress — the pointless partisan games.”
Isn’t that rich coming from Schumer, whose antics precipitated the longest government shutdown in American history last month?
Schumer is the latest Democrat to criticize Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for calling a vote on the plan that many in the party have already rallied behind. Still, Schumer, joined by colleagues on the Senate floor, said: “Bring it on.” He said Democrats “believe that we need to do something about climate change” and added: “Do Republicans?”
We’re intrigued by this debate and we’d like to see it vetted by voters as often and soon as possible. But seeing as though it’ll be 2020 before Senatorial and Congressional seats might change hands over the Green New Deal issue, not to mention there’s a presidential election that year, it appears the only plebiscite we’re going to have at which the Green New Deal could be at issue is this fall’s gubernatorial race in Louisiana.
And that is only depending on what the incumbent Democrat has to say on the Green New Deal. So far: silence.
That isn’t good enough, is it? Ralph Abraham didn’t think so…
Abraham was referencing an article in Governing that noted the left-wing activists behind the Green New Deal are mobilizing professional dog-walkers and pourers of coffee to push legislative initiatives rich in idealism but not particularly grounded in the tangible.
A month before the federal legislation was introduced, on a Wednesday in early January, more than 100 young people gathered in the Minnesota Capitol for a meeting with newly inaugurated Democratic Gov. Tim Walz. The group, Minnesota Can’t Wait, had come to push for a state-level Green New Deal. As the meeting drew to a close, Walz said he would establish a statewide cross-agency working group on climate change. The governor’s 18-year-old daughter, who was in attendance, even promised to hold him accountable.
The idea of a Green New Deal has been around for at least a decade and a half. It was first floated in 2007, when New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote about the concept as a way to realign American jobs around a greener economy. In 2016, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders included a Green New Deal as part of their platforms.
But given the gridlock at the federal level, activists are focusing their attention on states and cities where action on climate change seems more likely. “There’s already been several precursors to a Green New Deal at the state and local level [in the absence of federal action],” says Ben Beachy, director of the Sierra Club’s Living Economy program. “These efforts offer models for what a national Green New Deal could look like.”
One such effort he points to is Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act, which was signed into law in December 2016 after two years of collaboration between the state, unions, environmental groups and consumer associations. The law sets new energy efficiency standards and invests in weatherizing buildings across the state. According to its supporters, the act is expected to generate more than 7,000 new jobs in the state each year, reduce air pollution and climate change, and produce $4 billion in energy savings for Illinois families by 2030, with priority access for low-income households.
So far there aren’t hordes of Birkenstock-wearers descending on Louisiana’s Capitol yet to demand a Green New Deal in the Bayou State. We don’t know if it’s the fear of falling chunks of the building keeping them away, or the knowledge that the Green New Deal would go over like a balloon filled with leaded gasoline among this state’s voters. But true leadership should involve Edwards taking Abraham up on his challenge and offering Louisianans some guidance as to his position on the fundamental transformation of our economy, shouldn’t it?
We think Edwards needs to speak up. Is he willing to repudiate the left wing of the Democrat Party which seems so willing to bankroll his re-election campaign by standing against the Green New Deal? Or is he their captive, willing to push part or all of it as part of his agenda should he be elected to a second term?
Louisiana’s voters deserve to know. Edwards shouldn’t be allowed to hide on the Green New Deal.