Friday, October 28, 2011

What's Really Happening (Maybe)

Applying some educated intuition to stories from here and there, on three topics:

Iowa GOPer Caucus

One of the Iowa conservative leaders says he doesn't feel strongly enough about any candidate to endorse.  Meanwhile a Tea Party leaders calls on Michele Backmann to drop out.  Taken together what they mean: unless Teaevangelists coalesce around one candidate in Iowa very soon, Romney is going to win it.

The U.S. Economy

While the major media narrative remains the same, there have been signs of economic improvement, most recently of a higher than expected--and normally respectable--economic growth rate.  The conventional wisdom is that nothing will lessen the unemployment rate before the election enough to matter.  But a feeling that the economy is growing might--and it might even be Wall Street that gets behind it.  Why?  Because of Occupy Wall Street and all the support and attention it's getting.  That support may generate interest in the efforts of the New York and Delaware Attorneys General to investigate Wall Street and the mega-banks chartered in their states, which so far has drawn the often prescient attention of Rachel Madow.  How do they get the public view turned away from them?  A better economy.  Whether that motivation is enough to sway them from the temptation to try to get a wet dream deregulatin' GOPer in the White House by cooperating in keeping the economy weak, remains to be seen.  But actually promoting a better economy to lower the temperature and get eyes off them is a possibility--especially if Occupy Wall Street and jobs remain a hot focus, and the GOPer presidential field continues to look so weak than their efforts on their behalf wouldn't make a difference anyway.

Climate Crisis Denial

The most recent study once again proving that the planet is getting warmer has gotten a lot of attention, probably because it convinced at least one prominent denying scientist.  But the economically and politically  motivated professional deniers just go to the next of four levels.  First, prove to our satisfaction that the earth is heating.  Second, prove to our satisfaction that this heating is caused by industrially produced gases--i.e. that it's "manmade."  Third, prove that it's going to get so bad that we have to do something preemptive about it.  Fourth, prove that your solutions, like green energy, will work.

It's taken at least 20 years to win the first argument, if it is well and truly won now.  The pros are moving on to the second.  So this is not much of a victory, if we continue to insist that we have to convert deniers before we do what's necessary.

Meanwhile, Cowboy Rick has announced a jobs program which is all about extracting more oil and gas.  If this gets traction, it's very dangerous.  If there's any hint of public acceptance of this premise, it could doom efforts to influence the Obama administration to stop the oil sands pipeline from Canada, an issue which is otherwise gaining strength among the environmentally conscious.  I don't think activists appreciate the political risk in stopping the pipeline, though I support stopping it.  It vivifies an issue for the GOPer candidate--it puts a name on the abstractions of too much environmental regulation, etc.  Just about the only hope is that authentic polls show that voters aren't buying the "drill our way out of this" strategy.  Beyond electoral politics, it's hard to say no to something that will create jobs, especially if "safety" isssues are addressed.  Unless opposition coalesces around the longterm Climate Crisis catastrophe with enough clarity and force to make it real.  Or--even better--unless opposition can show that the promised jobs won't materialize.        

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