Wednesday, December 07, 2016


Nobody could have predicted that an incoming president who's said climate change is a hoax would do something like this:
President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general and a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, to run the Environmental Protection Agency, signaling Mr. Trump’s determination to dismantle President Obama’s efforts to counter climate change -- and much of the E.P.A. itself.

Mr. Pruitt, a Republican, has been a key architect of the legal battle against Mr. Obama’s climate change policies....

“Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” he wrote in National Review earlier this year. “That debate should be encouraged -- in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.” ...

“During the campaign, Mr. Trump regularly threatened to dismantle the E.P.A. and roll back many of the gains made to reduce Americans’ exposures to industrial pollution, and with Pruitt, the president-elect would make good on those threats,” said Ken Cook, head of the Environmental Working Group, a Washington research and advocacy organization.

“It’s a safe assumption that Pruitt could be the most hostile E.P.A. administrator toward clean air and safe drinking water in history,” he added.
A lot of delicate souls told us all year that they couldn't possibly vote for Hillary Clinton -- and what difference would it make anyway, given how indistinguishable she was from the Republican nominee? Okay, so now that we are where we are, how indistinguishable was she? Who might have been her EPA secretary?

In August, Politico said that Clinton campaign chair John Podesta might have sought the job himself; a couple of months later, the Huffington Post, citing Wikileaks emails, noted that Podesta had twice recommended billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer to President Obama for the EPA job, and also put in a good word for former Colorado senator Tim Wirth, who organized Senate hearings on climate change (with NASA scientist James Hansen) back in 1988, and who led the U.S. negotiating team at the Kyoto Summit.

Trump vs. Clinton on the EPA? Yeah, I guess it's a tossup.

This is what left purists always refuse to grasp: that presidents have a tremendous amount of influence, and not just in the areas covered in purist talking points. It sure seems damning to run through the anti-Clinton bill of particulars (Goldman Sachs! Glass-Steagall repeal! The Iraq War vote! "Superpredators"!) -- but then a Republican sneaks into the White House, and this is what happens:

(And really, this would have been true if any of the Republicans who ran in 2016 had been elected.)

Just to pick one office from Berman's list: Who might have been Clinton's attorney general? Politico suggested that the top pick for the job that's going to go to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions would have been Tom Perez, the current labor secretary and a former civil rights lawyer. Perez's bio reads in part:
Previously Perez served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice.... Under his leadership as Assistant Attorney General, the division successfully implemented the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act; expanded equal housing opportunity by bringing and settling the largest fair-lending cases in history; protected schoolchildren from discrimination, bullying and harassment; dramatically expanded access to employment, housing and educational opportunities for people with disabilities; protected the right to vote for all eligible voters free from discrimination; took record-setting efforts to ensure that communities have effective and democratically accountable policing; and safeguarded the employment, housing, fair lending and voting rights of service members. He also expanded the division's partnerships across federal agencies to address cross-cutting challenges in human trafficking, employment discrimination and fair lending, among others.
Perez vs. Sessions? Yup, hard to choose!

I don't want to limit the blame to purist lefty voters. They get some of their information from like-minded voices in the left media, but they're also exposed to the mainstream media, which regularly insists that Republicans really aren't that bad, and are just a few millimeters to the right of dead center. And Democrats never runs against the Republican Party itself -- they never attempt to portray the GOP as an existential threat to common decency (which is how Republicans routinely describe the Democratic Party to their voters). So maybe it's understandable if the inevitable consequences of allowing a Republican into the White House come as a shock to so many people.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I hope Mar-a-Lago gets slammed by a category 5 hurricane so Vulgarmort learns the hard way that Science and Nature don't give a hoot about politics and right-wing spin.

Never Ben Better said...

To hell with the purist left. They aren't the sole reason we're in this death spiral but they played their part all right.

About the only marginally positive note in all this is that some of the biggest whiners are going to find out what "hippie punching" actually feels like when the fists aren't metaphorical.

Riverboat Grambler said...

Yeah, those damn "purist leftist" voters sure lost us the election all right. I mean, the vast majority of Sanders voters turned out for Hillary, myself included, but it's all their fault anyway. If Sanders hadn't ruined everything by running in a primary against The Anointed One none of this would have happened! I'm glad we can all agree that the blame for this election rests on the voters and definitely not on the party or the candidate that failed to turn them out. After all, they were being ever-so "pragmatic" in their choice of candidate.

Never Ben Better said...

Get stuffed, McS -- I clearly stated the purity left wasn't the sole cause and you know it, but you just have to wallow in your reflexive self-pity, don't you? "Wah, wah, wah, I spent months bashing Clinton and spreading my contempt for her far and wide, but that didn't have any effect on other voters," no, of course not.... And don't tell me you didn't; "The Anointed One" is the tell that you did just that.

And turning out all the voters is kinda tough when states like North Carolina roll out active vote-suppression schemes, including outright ignoring court orders to knock it off. Funny, isn't it, how despite all the flaws of the candidate (unlike St. Bernie, who had none, to hear his supporters tell it), the endless scandal-mongering of the media, the efforts by GOP-controlled states to depress Dem votes, and the last-minute sabotage by the head of the FBI, Clinton still managed to win 2.5 million or so more votes than Himself.

CF2K said...

Does McS want to talk about the *actual* Stein purity voters in Michigan and Wisconsin who handed those states to Trump by not voting for Clinton?

opit said...

And the whining continues. I wonder how many ordinary voters believed the the carbon tax was a tax and that it needed no reason to assess. Money grab. Sanders and Clinton both were after an ongoing raid on the pockets of people who had less to lose regularly. And the climate ? Weather always changes. Climate is just long term trends that vary by area. And those trends are cyclic. Check out the Pacific Decadal Oscillation ( el Nino/el Nina ) for instance, not to mention Milankovich cycles. Saying that sunshine drives climate more than orbital and solar sunspot variations or the cloud buildup from cosmic rays is saying that man drives change and his influence overrides other factors - including change we had before. We don't live in an enclosed cage. Claiming we do and our future is dire is unsupportable by evidence. The future....has not happened.

swkellogg said...

The old man used to say "When you're done assigning the blame,maybe we can get some work done". While I understand your anger towards the crusaders, we are where we are. The people who fucked up will come to terms with that and the true believers won't hear you anyway.

Too much time spent pointing fingers only feeds into the divide and rule strategy that has been so effectively employed by the R's.

Jimbo said...

Unfortunately, it looks like a lot of Americans are going to get sick and die unnecessarily in the next four years and a lot of those will be the WWC that voted for Trump as well as a lot of innocent men, women and children. If the Democrats can somehow get back even some power, we will have decades of recovery work ahead just get back to 2016.

Professor Fate said...

I must note that at least the people that I know who were quoting Jerry Garcia about how picking the lesser of two evils is still picking evil have shut the f-k up as they are getting to see pure evil in action.

Riverboat Grambler said...

I wasn't talking to you in my comment, Never Ben Better, I was talking to the guy who owns the blog and wrote the article for the blog. To be fair, your sentiments are pretty much the same.

You don't know me or anything I said during the campaign. I voted for Sanders in the primary and Hillary in the general, and I did not spend the campaign shit-talking Hillary in the run-up to the general. Believe it or not, I wanted her to win even though she wasn't my preferred candidate. Furthermore, the idea that Hillary critics on the left were what sunk her campaign is ridiculous; her high negatives and general unpopularity with the electorate were built in when the primary voters chose her, and she went on to lose to Donald Trump. Can't blame Sanders and the "purist left" for nominating someone with such heavy baggage. We tried to warn you.

I did, however, predict that if Clinton lost, that centrist Democrats would learn nothing and reflexively blame "purity leftists" for the defeat of their candidate. "But Stein voters stole the election from her!" Did they? Hillary lost states that Obama won twice. She underperformed with women and people of color compared to Obama and how well she should have done running against Donald Fucking Trump. She ran a poor campaign filled with hubris, tone-deafness and unforced errors, just like 2008.

Of course that's not the only factor, there's also the appeal of racism, the general stupidity of the electorate, and the catastrophic failure of the media to do even a basic semblance of their job. But the Democrats would never be in the position they are now if they were still seen as the party of the working class, and they definitely are not. Instead they nominated one of the few politicians who could conceivably lose a presidential race to Donald Trump.

But whatever. Dem centrists never learn, and indeed will go to great lengths to stave off any kind of self-reflection. That's why it's so discouraging to see all these articles about "GRRRR, why didn't the American people rally around our neoliberal incrementalist candidate? They're so stupid, grrrrrr!" And meanwhile, the new plan is....? Where do we go from here? More foot-stomping and teeth-gnashing at the electorate, who are apparently all Nazis even though they voted in Obama twice? Double down on the current trajectory of the party that's currently led us out into the fucking wilderness? Please.

Keep on blaming Sanders and Stein for Clinton's loss. Whatever you guys have to do to avoid looking in the mirror.