Monday, June 12, 2006

On truths inconvenient

We saw Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth last night. It's a must see (red rabbit may be posting on this later). What I'll say for now is that it underscores my previous post about the immediate need to define a core progressive position upon the belief that government can and must be used to solve certain problems. To be sure, the film leaves us with a host of things we can do as individuals to reduce our personal greenhouse emissions to zero, but there’s no getting around the fact that our failure to act collectively to address global warming by establishing fuel efficiency standards, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and ratifying the Kyoto treaty stems from having allowed corporate interests rather than the public good determine national priorities.

Democrats have colluded in bringing about this state of affairs, and Paul Krugman gives us insight into how this happens in his Monday column on the way Republicans rhetorically use the phrase “Some Americans believe” (or alternately “other Americans don’t believe”) to attribute to Democrats all sorts of opinions they do not hold. This is to be expected from the Right, but part of our problem is that we get the same treatment from the left side of the aisle. Among the offenders Krugman cites is our own Senator Obama. Krugman writes:

And when Senator Barack Obama told The New Yorker that Americans "don't believe that the main lesson of the past five years is that America is an evil hegemon," he seemed to be implying that influential members of his party believe just that.

Krugman goes on to note, wryly that some might observe “that the alleged influence of the Some is no more real than the problem of flag-burning, that right-wing propagandists are attacking straw men to divert attention from the Bush administration's failures. And they wonder why people like Mr. Obama are helping these propagandists in their work.”

But, hey, this has been Obama’s m.o. from the outset. His much-ballyhooed keynote address at the Democratic National Convention included the following, “Now, don’t get me wrong. The people I meet -- in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks -- they don’t expect government to solve all their problems,” implying, of course, that Some members of his party do expect this very thing and that the first battle to be waged is against these wild-eyed “Tax and Spenders” about whom the Republicans have warned us. But the truth is, Democrats since the Reagan era have been so intent on proving themselves not to be the stereotypes of Republican propaganda who believe that government should do everything they have systematically compromised all of the things government can and should do by granting loopholes and concessions to the corporate sector. And all that this has gotten us is a government almost unable to do anything—Grover Norquist, for one, is thrilled . . ..


Kate said...

Obama has been a huge disappointment from the beginning. He's our own f**king Lieberman! Al Gore, on the other hand, impresses me more and more. We went to see his film opening weekend. I thought it was an excellent film: powerful message, messenger, and top notch production values. Now if only we can get these anti-science wingnuts to accept that there are factual truths, not just Biblical truths, we'll get somewhere!

the professor said...

Maybe Obama and Hilary are reading from the same playbook . . . and as for the "anti-science wingnuts," we're unlikely to convince them, but are likely to persuade that larger group that as, Colbert put it, believes we should "wait until all the science is in."