Chuck Schumer Borrows Nancy Pelosi's Spine Again, Green New Deal Edition
Chuck Schumer isn't falling for Mitch McConnell's banana in the tailpipe. The Senate majority leader, who walks the earth in a rough approximation of human flesh, is scheduling a sham vote for the Green New Deal resolution. He knows all 53 Republicans, including himself, will vote against the resolution because of their patriotic devotion to air travel and hamburgers. However, he wants to create a public rift among Democrats who are ambivalent about the resolution and those who have publicly supported it. Like all of McConnell's norm-shredding acts, this is nothing more than petty politics.
Schumer's spine is usually the consistency of a Twinkie filling, but maybe he's started taking Pilates classes with Nancy Pelosi: He basically told McConnell to go shove it. Not only are Democrats refusing to participate -- likely voting "present" as a bloc -- but Schumer himself demanded that Republicans "put up or shut up" on the very real threat of climate change.
SCHUMER: I understand my friends on the other side of the aisle don't like the Green New Deal. OK, that's fine. What's your plan? Maybe a lot of members think they can get away without having to answer the question. They won't.
Republicans aren't your "friends," Chuck, they're a pack of cynical creeps owned by the fossil-fuel industry, but we'll take this as a start.
Freshman House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey have spearheaded an ambitious proposal to confront a serious problem, which Republicans refuse to treat seriously. They'd rather just dismiss Ocasio-Cortez as a "former waitress and bartender." Of course, same goes for John Boehner -- and half of Human League (that much is true).
Senate Republicans took the floor Wednesday to shout doom and gloom lies about the Green New Deal. Texas Senator John Cornyn warned of a "socialist power grab of the entire US economy." He didn't even bother with new material. It's all repurposed fear mongering from when Republicans warned us about the tyranny of affordable health care.
MCCONNELL: Cars, lawnmowers, commercial airliners — everything must go. All this and more can be ours for the low, low price of a staggering expansion of centralized government.
See, it's funny because McConnell is less ethical and trustworthy than an actual used car salesman. Not a single word in the Green New Deal resolution text proposes eliminating "cars, lawnmowers, and commercial airliners." Even the president's beloved Big Macs are safe. McConnell and his Republican cronies are getting their "facts" from "Donald Trump Digest."
What the resolution actually does is lay out a road map for a transition to carbon-free energy. This wouldn't end air travel to Hawaii, as that moron on "The View" suggested, but help ensure there's still a Hawaii to visit. The Green New Deal doesn't want to deprive Americans of cow flesh but reduce the agricultural sector's greenhouse gas emissions as much as "technologically feasible." There's also no diabolical plan to wreck capitalism and put everyone in communist work clothes. The Green New Deal proposes the creation of millions of new high-wage jobs that won't give you black lung.
Data show that the Green New Deal isn't just some "green pipe dream." Clean-energy jobs are starting to surpass jobs in the fossil fuel industry. If Republicans were worth a damn, they'd want to get on board. We don't expect Joni Ernst to have the same perspective as Markey, but we'd like her to at least acknowledge the problem. Unfortunately, the GOP is a party of climate deniers, essentially modern-day flat-Earthers. They are only an obstacle to any real progress. They proved that during the health care debates and they'll continue proving it until we vote them all out of office.
Realistically, reducing the number of Senate Republicans is as much a challenge as reducing any other form of greenhouse gas. Still, we should aim toward denying McConnell a Senate majority in 2020. Yesterday, Schumer called climate change an "urgent crisis, an existential threat to our country and our planet." He then introduced a resolution to create a select committee on climate change. This is the vision and serious leadership we need and won't have as long as Republicans control the Senate.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He recently fled Seattle, where he did theatre work for Book-It Rep and Cafe Nordo.