Thursday :: Jan 8, 2015

What You Liberals Should Do About Keystone Pipeline

by paradox

I’m always interested when a professional journalist opines about what we liberals should do with a particular political strategy, tactical study is always worthy and perhaps a precious grain of truth will be discovered in the murk.

Unfortunately in this case the thesis—that liberals could easily make significant climate change policy progress by using Keystone as a bargaining chip—is rife with misperception, obscured political realities and lousy tactics, so a rebuttal is necessary.

Keystone is merely a pipeline among many in a vast network of carbon fuel distribution, yes, but tactically liberals and environmentalists chose it not only for its ferocious carbon footprint relative to other pipelines but much more importantly for a battle that will be fought to the last, no matter the outcome.

This is a very old story in politics, truly committed groups aligned with a principle they fervently believe in pick a battle they are sure in every atom of their souls is righteous, here we will fight for what we know is right. Defeat us, seemingly weaken us, banish us in failure if you can, we don’t give a damn, everything we have is worth losing to defend this battle, this principle, in this time and place.1

So the first notion that Keystone is a small infrastructure element unworthy of effort is exposed as ludicrous, but it’s the second dimension—that Republicans would actually negotiate in good faith with energy policy and climate change—that wildly launches off the mark into a fantasy world where so much truth is obscured.

Republicans are completely captured by the carbon energy industry, they unabashedly represent Chevron as what’s good for their Party and America.2 Republicans would never, ever compromise with Keystone by promoting carbon free energy, it runs counter to everything they know as cash-bashed politicians.

Much more importantly in the obdurate, ever-lasting refusal to compromise with energy would be the collapse of modern Republican identity politics, Republicans do not give in to those weenie liberals, never, half of our politics is devoted to smearing and repressing them!

Liberals, hah, those patchouli cannabis tie-dye vegan environmentalists, they’re way worse! Admit they right all along, admit we can’t exploit and pollute the Earth at will, that they can threaten our money and tell us what to do? Not in a million freaking years, Ms Laskow, identity politics are huge in America, especially with Republicans, and there never was and never will be any compromising with liberals, especially with energy and the environment.

What to do about climate change, what to offer as progress? I kept waiting and waiting but the word “solar” never once appeared, just “supporting other groups the rest of us will need.” In a meandering way a national smart grid was flopped into the idea mix.

An extremely noble idea, yes, but a national smart grid means nationalizing the entire American electrical industry, regional power companies don’t have anything like the resources necessary to build out a new, uniform grid. Not only that, their revenue model is completely crushed with smart micro solar production, bye-bye regional power companies, a national grid means in fact the United States now owns the biggest municipal public power grid in the world.

Furthermore, the cash for such a project simply can’t be borrowed, not even by DC. The United States would have to finally abandon its ludicrous military-industrial complex and arrogantly stupid foreign policy to devote all that military cash to carbon-free energy policy, to become, in fact, vastly more socialist.

That’s what you’re asking us to do, Ms. Laskow, to abandon a completely worthy fight for political goals and tactics that simply don’t exist, to a captured opposition that wouldn’t compromise with liberals and environmentalists in a million years, they fiercely loathe the ideas of municipal solar power and a $250 billion defense budget with every atom in their souls.

I did appreciate throughout the work an impatience to get real with it all, blocking Keystone is indeed a tiny victory, but victory for what?

A carbon-free energy system, as incredibly vast and ludicrous as that goal may seem. As with any seemingly vast task, the crucial thing is to make a start, get some real progress and there’s less to do. A start for the United States would a 50% electric car fleet and 100% electric rail. Respectfully, far as I know, Ms Laskow, no Democratic Party leader has ever proposed such a policy goal.

[1] A story for another time, but the Democratic Party better re-learn this political lesson and reality as soon as freaking possible.


[2] Is in fact the United States government captured by the energy industry, not only the Republican Party? I, along with most American political observers, would say obviously yes.

paradox :: 8:37 AM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!