Magazine | March 11, 2019, Issue

No Deal

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey (at right) hold a news conference for their proposed “Green New Deal” on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., February 7, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

It’s the iron rule of political reporting: Democrats appeal to the voter’s hopes — “I hope this candidate takes someone else’s property and gives it to me” — while Republicans appeal to the voter’s fears. Con­servatives, you see, live in a constant state of perspiratory worry, jiggling like Jell-O as they consider a changing world. First Rosa Parks, now this? How far will they go?

A piece in Roll Call on the proposal for a “Green New Deal” provides a nice example:

“The rollout, while widely cheered by progressive groups and the more liberal Democrats, opened a door for Republicans to tap into voters’ fears by framing the Green New Deal as a socialist to-do list.”

Framing and tapping, tapping and framing: It’s the fearmonger’s old playbook. But if something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and advocates total government control over the nation’s economy like a duck, it is indeed a duck, and probably one with an M.A. from Columbia. A remarkable duck! But still a duck.

The Green New Deal will never happen, but it is revelatory — starting with its very name. If you asked 100 youths who thought “socialism is awesome because it’s fair ’n’ stuff” what the New Deal was, you might have to wait a minute while they accessed eleventh-grade history. Some­thing to do with President Teddy Eleanor Roosevelt?

The term “New Deal” has no currency today except among people who worship central planning and think FDR brought the economy out of the ditch instead of holding a pillow over its face. It’s like saying, “We propose a new Green Entente Cordiale!” Huh?

The plan itself is amusing — an instruction manual for unicorn assembly. But since we have only twelve years before the planet turns into a crispy cinder, isn’t it a good place to start? It’s what the planet has been waiting for, said The Hill, apparently believing that an insentient rock in space has hopes and expectations. If you criticized the preposterous goals, the defenders had two reactions:

1) Okay, well, I guess we just let the oceans rise ten feet and everyone burns to death. What’s your proposal?

First of all, if the oceans do indeed rise by ten feet, people will probably have time to get out of the way. Put the saddles on the big turtles, Maw, we got to get movin’ inland! A freakishly tall basketball player who decided to stand on the beach for the rest of his life would still have his head and shoulders above water before he died of old age.

Second, I don’t have a proposal. I don’t need one. If you say we have to eliminate plastic straws because there’s a trash island the size of Long Island, if that’s not tautological, and I say it won’t make a difference, it’s not up to me to offer a ban on plastic toothbrushes and insist we go back to scraping our choppers with hog’s-hair bristles.

My proposal is nuclear energy and natural gas, but the latter is a fossil fuel and hence the Spittle of Satan, and nuclear energy is bad because Jane Fonda made a movie a hundred years ago about that syndrome they had in China.

2) The second reaction, which is had by well-educated chestless whelp-men who talk through their nose and end every sentence as a question: “It’s an opening statement? Like, when you’re haggling? This is a negotiation?”

The GND would involve replacing the heating system of every structure in the country. That is, indeed, an opening gambit. So the GOP should say, “That’s an absurd idea, akin to replacing everyone’s skeleton with titanium bones while they’re running a marathon. Forget it! We counter-propose retrofitting half the buildings in the country over 30 years.”

“I’m sorry,” the Left retorts, “I was watching a YouTube video of dolphins committing suicide in warming oceans by dashing themselves against the coral reefs, which are dying. Two-thirds of the buildings in 20 years.”

“One-fourth of the buildings in 18 years.”

“Fifteen years, with all construction work done by a new federal work force that’s unionized.”

“One-fifth, federal work force, 16 years, with E-Verify to make sure the workers are citizens.”

“We have a deal — if E-Verify doesn’t kick in for six years and is not applicable to sanctuary cities.”

Then the Dems take to the airwaves to declare the planet saved. A year later, the New York Times runs a story about how the retrofits are mired in local regulatory issues and blames conservatives for “balking at fast-track options that would have ensured a more comprehensive approach to fighting climate change.”

Some things cannot be negotiated. You can’t wish away the fossil-fuel dependence of freight rail by saying we can electrify the entire system and run the whole damned thing on giant pinwheels.

To return to the original point: Maybe people have tappable fears about socialism because it’s a miserable idea antithetical to our culture and inevitably ends up with people using revalued currency for toilet paper because actual Charmin hasn’t been available since the Ministry of Hindquarter Hygiene nationalized the pulp mills.

The most lasting and significant contribution of Venezu­ela’s socialist experiment — which was totally awesomely socialist, guys, right up until it wasn’t — might be the cryptocurrency pegged to their pathetically state-crippled oil product. The money’s so worthless you could wipe your bottom with it — if it existed at all.

What are they doing for TP down there, anyway? Printing out tweets from Ocasio-Cortez?  

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