Hey y'all, do you remember the liberal media? You know, that liberal media who rubber-stamps everything Democrats try to do while criticizing every damn thing the right-wing does? That one?
Yeah, I don't either. Here we have a panel discussion on MSNBC during Andrea Mitchell's hour about..Howard Schultz and how he faltered over paying more taxes. For those that missed it, he said yeah, I need to pay more taxes but a 70 percent marginal rate is punitive and so not that much more in taxes and honestly, I really don't know how much more I should have to pay in taxes but something, yes, sure, sure.
Psssst, Howard. 30 percent of millions is still a whole lot more than 99.9 percent of this country has, y'know? Nothing punitive about it at all. In fact, the country did really well with that tax rate. But I digress.
The discussion went off the rails when Kristen Welker helpfully redirected her panel's attention to the Green New Deal and just how left-wingy it is. The panel worries that the combination of Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and a higher tax rate is just TOO LEFT WING for everybody.
Here is the graphic they flashed up on the screen while NBC Politics Editor Beth Fouhy told viewers and the other panelists that the combination mentioned above needs some Very Serious White Candidates to set us all straight. Here's the graphic they put up while she said this: "You'll start to see candidates -- Sherrod brown isn't in yet but he's exploring, Senator Michael Bennett from Colorado on Meet the Press this weekend -- they're saying, hey, guys, this is all sounding very coastal, it might work on the coast but here in the middle of the country where the election is probably going to be decided in 2020, these positions still seem a little out there.
Here's the graphic, just to drive the message home:
Yep, beside the fact that Rep. Seth Moulton magically morphed into Senator Sherrod Brown, your eyes are not deceiving you. I'll leave it to you to decide whether the message tracks with Fouhy's worry beads; namely, that the idea of aggressively tackling climate change in the short time we have left before we cannot reverse or slow it is a left-wing fancy dream.
I want to talk about how the media in general is looking at the Green New Deal, which is a resolution saying that we need to reduce our carbon emissions drastically, guarantee jobs in the green sector, particularly for those communities hardest-hit by a hard pivot away from oil drilling and production, and deal with the changes we have to make before it's too late.
The Green New Deal, as it exists today, is a call to action and organizing. It is not much different from someone calling for national sacrifice during times of war, the way FDR did. Can you imagine if gas and food rationing such as what happened during World War II were proposed in today's times? Oh, the right wing would howl, cry foul, whine about how they couldn't eat their cheeseburgers and steaks. We'd lose the damn war because we couldn't be bothered to make the sacrifices needed.
Imagine the outcry over aspiring to put a man on the moon. We can't possibly do that! they'd cry. It's too expensive, we have to build a wall to keep people out, not spend money to explore the moon or space or our galaxy or any damn thing like that. They'd whine and whine.
The only good thing to come out of the Green New Deal so far is this: They aren't denying climate change. Charlie Pierce, whom I will quote extensively here because it's so good:
Let's leave aside for a moment the fact that the idea of a GND is wildly popular among the people who will be voting for the next 40 years, so maybe McConnell isn't as much clever as he is a dick on this one. The GND forces on people two realities with which their 30 years of climate denial has managed to insulate them. First, the problem is so severe that it is going to require a massive national response even to mitigate the effects of the crisis which are affecting us now. (This is why the Pentagon has taken the crisis as an existential one.) Second, the denial argument itself is completely out of steam.
This is why you're hearing so much from Republicans about how "innovation" and "entrepreneurship" are going to bail us out. Senator Ben Sasse is one of the leading illusionists on this front at the moment, as is Cory Gardner of Colorado, who faces a ticking doomsday clock on his re-election in 2020. Last Sunday, on Fox News via The Hill, Sasse said:
“What the U.S. needs to do is participate in a long-term conversation about how you get to innovation, and it's going to need to be a conversation again that doesn’t start with alarmism. But that starts with some discussion of the magnitude of the challenge, the global elements to it and how the U.S. shouldn't just do this as a feel-good measure but some sort of innovative proposal.”
A number of things jump out here. First of all, we may not have time for a "long-term conversation" about how we confront this impending catastrophe. Second, we already are losing pieces of Alaska and Louisiana, Miami turns into a lagoon with some regularity these days, and Sasse's home state is being battered by wild swings of extreme weather, so maybe a touch of alarmism is warranted. And last, I don't even know what that last sentence means, except that Sasse seems to be reiterating that we should all relax and talk about it some more, chilling until the next Ice Age. One thing I do know: we aren't going to laissez-faire our way out of it, no matter how hard Republicans pray to the Deregulation Fairy.
So here's a memo to Beth Fouhy: Climate change is not merely a coastal problem. Just ask those people who froze in the insane cold a little over a week ago what they think about being locked in their homes for a week while sub-zero winds howl through their land. Yes, coasts are disappearing at record rates. Florida will be underwater right alongside parts of California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. But sure, let's sit around and raise a verbal middle finger to anyone who actually wants to tackle it.
Next time, get people with ideas about how to get this done instead of putting on Beltway bloviators who have nothing better to do than worry about the coastal tint on a Big Idea.