Kumbaya! The world after a tough primary fight can look a bit difficult for the losing side, yes. Especially if you’re the guy who was the loudest blogger for the losing side. So you’ve all probably noticed a little Plund-awkwardness here from my end. Aside from becoming insanely busy with work and running for office, I’m finding it hard to blog about the Senate race.
But as you all know, I like nothing better than a philosophical argument of existential proportion, and this summer and fall in Ohio, thanks to BP and Lehman Brothers, we have that argument. Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher have the opportunity of a political lifetime – their victory depends on the total intellectual destruction of the Republican reason for being. It’s Shakespearean. For Ted & Lee to win, John Kasich and Rob Portman have to be forced to stand on their utterly failed principles and defend them, whether they want to or not.
That’s an argument we Democrats will win, if we only make the argument. Ted Strickland has delivered, making John Kasich’s middle name Lehman every time he speaks about Kasich. It’s time for Lee to do the same to Rob Portman, with BP.
From left to right, it is dawning on our commentariat that this may be the moment America turns a corner and forever moves away from dirty energy toward clean energy. The only measure on the table right now which takes that first step is the cap & trade bill. Lee Fisher should take a stand, now, and join President Obama in the pivot away from rage, toward action on this bill. Barack made it very clear in Pittsburgh this week.
The president’s energy plan includes rolling back tax breaks for oil companies, as well as a politically challenging carbon tax. “The votes may not be there right now,” Obama said, “but I intend to find them.”
Lee needs to tell us now that he’ll be one of those votes if the bill isn’t passed by January. If you read Lee’s energy issues page, you’ll notice that he’s already there philosophically. I’d like to see Lee visit my buddies in Tremont at Tremont Electric – nothing says Ohio green energy like a bunch of buoys in Lake Erie bobbing away delivering green electricity into the grid.
And given that Rob Portman is this minute taking money from Halliburton, while oil still gushes into the sea, I can’t think of a better time for Lee to join Barack in a principled policy stand that will channel our country’s rage at this incident toward a step we should have taken decades ago.
As I wrote yesterday, our country has been at the mercy of a conservative Republican free market ideological dogma for decades. It’s a fight we once had the courage to engage as Democrats, but we Democrats left the field to the free market fetishists for too long. Cap & trade is a market oriented solution which government must create because the market will not create the solution itself. For evidence, just look at the end of that pipe at the bottom of the sea. The market will never move us away from oil, we, the people, have to force the market to do so. It is only a first step, but it is essential if we are to remove ourselves from this tyranny of oil, and start paying for an end to this addiction, rather than for the addiction itself.
We’ve paid for this oil with the lives of New Yorkers hurling themselves from the top floor of the World Trade Center. We’ve paid for this oil with the blood of our soldiers on fields in Iraq & Afghanistan. We’ve paid for this oil with the grinding stalemate of Israel vs. Palestine for 60 years. We’ve paid for this oil with gas lines in the 1970’s, price shocks like clockwork, the endless humiliation of being at the mercy of a medieval jihad waged by the most backward fringe elements of the societies that merely sit upon the oil. We’ve paid for this oil with the nuclear warheads Iran races to develop every single day.
And now we pay for this oil with our own shoreline, our sea, our beaches, and a coastal way of life that has existed for centuries.
It is long past time we pay for removal from this tyranny with a few bucks from our wallets instead.
Lee Fisher can make that argument against Rob Portman, and through winning that argument, claim a mandate for the rejection of conservative Republican free market dogma. He would then join Sherrod Brown as the second, very liberal, very progressive US Senator from the very blue swing state of Ohio.
That’s something this Jennifer Brunner supporter can rally behind.