Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Tomasky Solution

Atrios links to this post over at The American Prospect. He asks what we think. Here's what I think.

I don’t know what it is about those folks over at The American Prospect, but every time I read one of their essays on what it will take for the Democrats to regain power, I get a very uncomfortable feeling. The essay linked to above is another example. In this essay Michael Tomasky explains how to become the dominant party, once again. I usually find nothing to really piss me off in these essays, nor do I find anything that really gets the hairs on the back of my head to stand up. I just find these essays to be irrelevant, in the long run. Tomasky supports the Kos book. & while I think NARAL, among others, made a huge mistake with the endorsement of Chafee, Kos has shown over & over again that he is no friend of women’s rights at all. He has been consistently dismissive of everything related to women. I actually believe that it is a core tenet of Democratic thought that there is a Constitutional right to an abortion. No one should be telling a woman what to do with her body. The other written work Tomasky cites is the awful The Death of Environmentalism. He claims Nordhaus & Shellenberger “blasted the environmental movements’s tactical narrowness and outdated intellectual frameworks.” I use the word “awful” very purposely. Global warming is, to my body, the greatest threat to every thing that breathes on this earth, it is also the greatest danger to those beings that do not breathe. But to accuse the environmental movement of dying because of bad actions or old thinking is completely absurd. What Nordhaus & Shellenberger proposed was only divisive. It did not help. I think it is really telling that Tomasky uses these two examples as the basis for his ideas. Kos & the sad environmental essay are, I suppose, interesting, but they do not, please read, DO NOT, provide positive, measureable help in the Democrat’s attempt to not so much regain their leadership roles, but to take those roles. As an ending, here are a few responses to the “Death” essay. I would say that the essay is no longer controversial because nobody even thinks about it anymore. Tomasky’s essay may well end up in the same intellectual place. Maybe that’s why I feel weird when reading essays from The Prospect, it’s like reading The World According To Garp - you like the book because of Irving’s clever ability to make you feel smart, although in the end, you’re just the same person, only with more pages in your brain.

Carl Pope-
“I was one of the twenty-five people interviewed for this piece. While I personally was treated fairly, I am still deeply disappointed and angered by it. I share the thesis that some fundamental changes are needed in the way environmentalists approach the challenge of global warming. But I believe that their paper, because it is unfair, unclear and divisive, has actually muddied the water and made the task of figuring out a comprehensive and effective set of strategies more difficult.”

Phil Clapp-
“But even though substantively there were some good points in the paper, the exaggerated rhetoric is really preventing it from being a constructive contribution. People simply can't hear what you're saying when you engage in an enormous amount of rhetoric and diatribe.

“Moreover, efforts to forge coalitions with other parts of the progressive movement have been underway for decades. You would think from reading this paper that no one in the environmental community had ever talked to the United Auto Workers about CAFE [Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards], or to the United Mine Workers about global warming. These conversations have been ongoing for many years, and we've been making progress in fits and starts toward reaching common ground. Also, keep in mind that a majority of the proposals put forward by the Apollo Alliance, which they're calling next-wave environmentalism, first saw the light of day as the renewable-energy job-creation component of Carter's energy program in 1979, so most of them are hardly novel ideas.”

Frances Beinecke-
“It goes without saying that we should be working with people from the labor community, from the religious community, from the corporate world, and from every other community that has similar goals. No one would argue with that. We've been building those ties for 10 years and we will continue to build them. OK, we have plenty more work to do in this area, but the paper implies that these strategies are not underway, which isn't the case.”

Dan Carol-
“The notion that the existing membership of established environmental groups -- collectively over 10 million members strong -- is moot, or that the ongoing policy work of these groups is a waste of time, is preposterous, and distracting from the real work ahead.

“Though Shellenberger and Nordhaus's paper refers extensively to the Apollo Alliance, it by no means represents our views. We believe that labor, environmentalists, government, and community leaders need each other now more than ever if we are to choose the right pathway toward energy independence and rebuilding our economy. The challenges ahead are too great to be nitpicking with our friends. The alliance does not do push-off politics, meaning we don't define ourselves or our vision by defining others' shortcomings. We try to evangelize and model new frameworks, and we're making good headway nationally and in 22 states. But our success is hardly contingent on the movement's demise. It depends on the movement's success.”

& remember that Tomasky ends his essay with this exhortation:
“I’d like to think they can do it. But the Democrats must become republicans first.”
I don’t care that he small-cased ReThug - it’s still the same thing.

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