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.

  • Pingback: I support cap & trade, so should Lee Fisher « Tim Russo for Cuyahoga County Council – District 7()

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  • I support cap & trade, but the issue isn't nearly as cut and dry as you make it. Down here in Southeastern Ohio where Fisher needs to net some votes to win, it's more controversial than abortion.

  • mvirenicus

    nobody gives a damn what some chain-smoking hillbillies down in se ohio think about cap and trade.

  • David has a point. Ohio is a big coal producing state. I guess Lee has to ask:

    1. Does he really have a chance of winning any of the counties in SW Ohio that would vote against him for supporting cap and trade?


    2. Would supporting it really improve his chances in any other counties?

    I'd guess the answer to both these questions is No.

  • mvirenicus

    sound analysis. this is why i'm voting for dan la botz in november. i want a candidate with solid positions that represent my views, not one who tests the political winds and/or does an accounting of campaign contributions to arrive at his/her talking points.

  • It's a great idea Tim, but that's not the way Lee rolls.

    As much as I like Brunner and as much as I regret the fact that she isn't our candidate for Senate this year – we've got Lee now and his style of campaigning is much different than hers.

    We're not going to see him moving too far in either direction especially not on something like the environment.

  • To be fair, I think Lee will make a pretty good Senator. The guy isn't shy and he can give a good speech and, despite his conservative campaign strategy this time around, he's certainly not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination.

  • 614boi

    well that's rude. Appalachian American's care about the environment too.

  • mvirenicus

    I apologize for my generalization. However, it has been my experience that although many appalachians exhibit economic populist tendencies, they are far more likely to have a reactionary stance on many social and environmental issues than the general population.

    My significant other can trace her roots throughout appalachian ohio, west virginia and pennsylvania, and she's 10x more likely to disparage those roots for the same reasons than my crotchety cleveland arse. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. 🙂

  • modernesquire


    I think Joseph better identifies the issue. It's not reactionary as its part and parcel of their general protectionist views. Coal mining is still a significant source of jobs in Appalachia. However, because Ohio has been cursed with high-sulfur coal, it has made those who are dependent of coal mining for work in regions with generations of above-higher than state average unemployment chafe at anti-coal environmentalist who depend on Appalachian coal to power their coffee shop machines every day.

  • modernesquire

    1) First, the issue should be framed as the SEO counties where coal is mined, not SWO.
    2) I wouldn't completely rule out opposing cap and trade as a winner for those counties, counties that Fisher needs to win in order to offset Portman's margins in SWO.

    I will note that Charlie Wilson voted AGAINST cap and trade while Zack Space voted for it.

  • mvirenicus

    yeah ok you made your point and I SUCK!! but no, i say the folks simply need inspiration and leadership and the hope of finding new and improved employment in green energy fields. does fisher inspire? will he lead? feck no.

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