A few columns ago I announced that I was forming an exploratory committee to test the waters for my possible entry into the 2020 presidential election. So far it doesn’t look like there will be enough of a groundswell of support to allow me to compete with the more established candidates, but I did get some nice compliments on the platform I suggested I would run on.
One item from that proposed platform stated that I would “address the issue of climate change with the seriousness and urgency that it deserves.” I gave no specifics about how I would do that, and, of course, there are no easy answers for such a complicated problem.
People running for political office tend to be vague about such issues because if you lay out specific solutions to problems such as climate change you are sure to upset a lot of people and endure vicious attacks from your political rivals. And that brings me to the topic for today’s column — the ambitious legislative proposal offered up by some of the more liberal Democratic members of Congress known as the Green New Deal.
You’ve probably been hearing about this proposed legislation, and you probably know that it’s more than just an aggressive plan to combat climate change. It’s really a left-wing wish list that includes guarantees of good-paying jobs, health care coverage and free higher education for all Americans.
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This ambitious and unapologetically socialist proposal has garnered only a lukewarm reception from less liberal Democrats and quickly became an object of ridicule that Republicans are trying to use to cast all Democrats as radical socialists. President Donald Trump, our climate-change denier-in-chief, gleefully tweeted that the plan reminded him of a “high school term paper that got a low mark.” That comment is especially rich coming from a man with the vocabulary of a dull 12 year-old who cannot grasp the difference between weather and climate.
If there is anything worse than this unrealistic liberal plan to defeat climate change via socialism-on-steroids it is the current Republican response to the problem, which we could summarize thusly — “we get too many campaign donations from fossil fuel companies to even acknowledge that all the CO2 we are pumping into the air is screwing up our own ecosystem.” The Green New Deal is not a workable solution in its current form, but at least it is a proposal that takes the problem seriously.
And it could be a starting point for moderates in both parties to negotiate a plan to combat climate change that won’t cripple our economy and drive us even further into debt. It’s too bad that in our hyper-partisan environment most of the moderates have left Washington, leaving us at the mercy of radicals who seem increasingly out of touch with reality and obsessed with their all-out war on their political opponents.
I did find one small ray of hope this week while listening to one of the many announced Democratic candidates for the 2020 Presidential race discussing the Green New Deal and other critical issues facing the country. Sen. Amy Klobuchar entered the race last week and at a town hall meeting held with voters she called progressive dreams like the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all great “aspirations,” but things that we can’t afford to implement for the time being.
She also said that we have to be realistic about enacting new spending programs in a country that is already drowning in debt. Her views actually seem very similar to the platform I offered a few weeks ago for my own potential campaign. Coincidence? We will probably never know for sure!
In any case Sen. Klobuchar is my early favorite for the 2020 contest based on what I have heard from her and the other announced candidates so far. It would be quite a refreshing change for the country to be led by someone whose views are grounded in reality and not driven by the prevailing partisan political winds.
Bill Ferguson is a resident of Warner Robins. Readers can write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.