Thu 2022-Jul-21

While the World Burns

Tagged: Politics / Sadness

Everybody (well, every non-Republican) in the US is mad at Democratic Senator Manchin for being the vote blocking any meaningful climate change legislation at all. Well… there are a few other things to be mad about, right?

Really? What else?

Krugman @ NYT: Worse than you think Paul Krugman writing a the NYT is our guide today. [1]

He points out that, yes, there are many reasons to be angry with Manchin:

  • Manchin has just pulled the plug on US efforts to do just about anything about climate change.
  • He’s the gadfly who stopped the Biden’s Build Back Better plan for post-COVID recovery.
  • He personally profits from a coal business, exactly the sort of thing that should be shut down in favor of solar, wind, and nuclear.
  • He negotiates in bad faith, asking for compromise after compromise before finally refusing to cooperate.

So, yeah: pretty irritating guy. He’s only of interest for 2 reasons:

  • In an evenly divided Senate, we cannot lose even a single vote to get things passed. Manchin, realizing this, plays prima donna to solicit as much change in his favor as he can manage.
  • West Virginia is deep red. So when Manchin goes, he will almost certainly be replaced by an even more despicable Republican.

But, as Krugman points out, this misses an important point: the 50 Republican senators, marching with goose-step precision against clean energy (or really anything of public benefit). In a few months, either Democrats will gain a few more Senators, or Republicans will take control of the Senate. Either way, Manchin will then be irrelevant. His relevance is a creature of the finely balanced Senate and his last-Democrat status in West Virginia.

Manchin is small potatoes, compared to the deep and uniform Republican hostility to clean energy, fighting climate change, pandemic preparedness, or anything else that benefits mere people.

Here’s the problem, in Krugman’s summary (emphasis added, since I’m a scientist):

The fact is that one of America’s two major political parties appears to be viscerally opposed to any policy that seems to serve the public good. Overwhelming scientific consensus in favor of such policies doesn’t help — if anything, it hurts, because the modern G.O.P. is hostile to science and scientists.

And that hostility, rather than the personal quirks of one small-state senator, is the fundamental reason we appear set to do nothing while the planet burns.

Republican areas refuse vaccination, and thus die at higher rates. While the planet burns.

Why does anyone vote Republican, for any imaginable office, under any conceivable circumstance?!

Notes & References

1: P Krugman, “Climate Politics Are Worse Than You Think”, New York Times opinion pages, 2022-Jul-18.

Published Thu 2022-Jul-21

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