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Depressed June 13, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, politics.
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Last Wednesday, our only hope for near-term legislation that takes a first step toward confronting climate change was put to rest. Lindsey Graham, the only Republican who would even talk about such legislation, withdrew his support from the Kerry-Leiberman bill (which Graham helped to write) because it doesn’t allow enough oil drilling to please conservatives. And if Graham is not on board, no Republican is on board.

However, Stanford researcher Jon Krosnick claims this is exactly what the American public wants:

When respondents were asked if they thought that the earth’s temperature probably had been heating up over the last 100 years, 74 percent answered affirmatively. And 75 percent of respondents said that human behavior was substantially responsible for any warming that has occurred.

….Fully 86 percent of our respondents said they wanted the federal government to limit the amount of air pollution that businesses emit, and 76 percent favored government limiting business’s emissions of greenhouse gases in particular. Not a majority of 55 or 60 percent — but 76 percent.

Large majorities opposed taxes on electricity (78 percent) and gasoline (72 percent) to reduce consumption. But 84 percent favored the federal government offering tax breaks to encourage utilities to make more electricity from water, wind and solar power. And huge majorities favored government requiring, or offering tax breaks to encourage, each of the following: manufacturing cars that use less gasoline (81 percent); manufacturing appliances that use less electricity (80 percent); and building homes and office buildings that require less energy to heat and cool (80 percent).

As Kevin Drum notes:

So there you have it: the American public believes in global warming and wants the government to do something about it. However, the American public doesn’t want to do anything — carbon taxes or cap-and-trade — that might actually work. But they do want to open the federal goody bag and dole out subsidies and tax breaks to everyone under the sun, presumably because these all sound like pleasant things to do and they’re under the impression that they’re all “free.” Whether they work or not isn’t really on their radar.

And it looks like that’s what Congress is going to deliver. We are, in this case, getting exactly the government we deserve. A government of children.

Indeed. I complain quite a lot about clueless politicians on this blog. But behind every clueless politician there are millions of clueless voters.

But perhaps the descriptor “clueless” gives them too much credit. It isn’t as if the threat of global warming hasn’t been publicized.

Voters aren’t clueless. As Drum says, they are just juvenile.

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com

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