Last week, The Denver Post reprinted an opinion column written for The Washington Post by John Hickenlooper giving his response to the Green New Deal (GND). Presumably with assistance from his campaign strategists, it was an artful effort to set himself somewhat apart from his competitors in the quest for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The column started with an obligatory attack on Donald Trump as “taking us in the wrong direction” in dealing with the “global threat” of climate change, which Hick labeled the “defining challenge of our time.” He spoke of his actions as governor in advancing the shift to renewable energy sources, regulating methane emissions, expanding light rail, incentivizing electric cars and creating clean-energy jobs. He described such policies along with “historic federal investments and incentives” in new technologies and science, as his “version of a Green New Deal.”
While characterizing some of the particulars of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (AOC) GND as “unachievable goals” beyond our current technology, Hick said he supported her concept. But was concerned that higher utility bills, tax increases and lost jobs attributed to AOC’s GND resolution could “abuse” public support and blow the opportunity to “save the planet.”
In taking on the GND issue Hick was faced with a dilemma and chose his words very carefully. Yes, he wanted to distinguish himself from AOC’s GND sycophants among his campaign rivals, but given the current feverish temperament of the Democrats’ left-wing base, its inconsolable anti-Trump “resistance” movement and the apocalyptic fervor of its global warming doomsayers, to have publicly derided AOC’s foolish excesses would have infuriated her callow millennial following and probably doomed his candidacy.
Hick’s diplomatic attempt notwithstanding, criticism of AOC’s absurd Green New Deal simply can’t be finessed. It offers preposterous time-tables and draconian measures to entirely eliminate fossil fuels along with insane promises to do away with cars, airplanes, hamburgers and farting cows. It’s not a realistic legislative agenda, even Nancy Pelosi acknowledges that. It’s a delusional, leftist wish-list, a political/ideological manifesto that goes beyond even the New Left’s Port Huron Statement in the 1960’s, authored by radical activist Tom Hayden (who later married Jane Fonda). Give the GND the label you choose: socialist, statist, progressive, elitist, totalitarian. Its vision isn’t utopian. It’s dystopian. Think of the socialist destruction of Venezuela on steroids.
The Democrat presidential wannabees, now almost twenty, are pitted in a free-for-all auction, each outbidding the others for unlimited government handouts at someone else’s expense, with the sky as the limit. On top of that, there’s an identity-politics contest to see who has the most “intersectionality” category credits for race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, wokeness, age, disability, etc.
Hick is a legitimate centrist, although a left-centrist. So is Joe Biden. But even he has succumbed to the increasingly leftist tilt of the Democratic Party, feeling the need to publicly apologize last week for our country’s shameful “white man’s culture.” Presumably, that includes historical paragons and national icons like Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Lincoln, Henry Ford, FDR, Eisenhower and too many others to mention that the great majority of us are extremely proud of.
There may be no place for Hick in the Democrats’ presidential sweepstakes these days, especially given the outsized influence of leftist activists in their nominating process. He doesn’t fall into any category on the progressive intersectionality roll call. He lacks Elizabeth Warren’s 1/1,024 Indian DNA-share, and geologists don’t qualify as an oppressed victim group. I’ll concede that among the menagerie of Democrat would-be presidents in the 2020 field, I’d pick John Hickenlooper as the best of the lot. But I still wouldn’t vote for him. I’d prefer any Republican, including Donald Trump, as an alternative to the Democrats’ radical agenda and political coalition that controls them.
By the way, I disagree with Hick about climate change being the “defining challenge of our time.” I believe the doomsday predictions tied to the marginal impact of human action on climate are greatly exaggerated and, in any case, overwhelmed by solar activity beyond our control. Rather, I believe the greatest tangible danger to the United States is the trajectory of unsustainable government social spending and the spiraling deficits and national debt it drives, which is propelling us to fiscal collapse. That problem is far more immediate and within our power to mitigate if politicians and the people had the will to do so, which apparently they don’t ─ especially progressives and Democrats, whose electoral bread and butter is the unlimited expansion of the welfare state.
Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for CompleteColorado.com.