It’s a new Democratic Party.
As Republicans try to take down the Green New Deal proposal over a glitchy rollout with some missteps, Democrats are… not backing down from the larger point.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said on CNN Sunday that the Green New Deal is “absolutely realistic.”
“If we don’t command this country to think big about saving our nation and our world from destruction, then I don’t think we’re going to get close to meeting the mark,” the Democrat who co-sponsored a resolution outlining the Green New Deal in the Senate said.
Watch here via CNN:
Sen. @ChrisMurphyCT says the Green New Deal is “absolutely realistic”: “If we don’t command this country to think big about saving our nation and our world from destruction, then I don’t think we’re going to get close to meeting the mark.” https://t.co/whl2tZGqtn #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/krkHZbDZm1
— CNN (@CNN) February 10, 2019
Murphy explained, “I think it’s absolutely realistic and I frankly think we need to set our sights high. I think there are a lot of people who said that it wasn’t realistic for the United States to get a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s when President Kennedy initially outlined that goal. But we did it. And I think we have to set our sights high.
I have a 10-year-old and 7-year-old. Global warming is an existential threat to the planet. And so if we don’t command this country to think big about saving our nation and our world from destruction, then I don’t think we’re going to get close to meeting the mark.”
The Point Of The Green New Deal Is To Set An Agenda, Not Pass A Bill
It is common sense that the Green New Deal won’t pass the Senate, or be signed into the law by Trump. The point is to set an agenda for when Democrats take back The Senate and the White House, they will have a proposal ready for January 2021.
Democrats are laying the groundwork for major action on climate change.
That’s the entire purpose of unveiling the Green New Deal in 2019.
Instead of falling for the “glitch” attack, which might ring bells because it’s how Republicans and the media tried to take down Obamacare – as if a glitch in the website somehow meant people no longer needed affordable insurance – Democrats like Chris Murphy are staying focused on the big picture of saving our planet.
The flap is over a published draft version of an outline and list of “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) about the Green New Deal that was posted on Ocasio-Cortez’s official website, which mistakenly pledged to guarantee economic security even for those “unwilling to work.”
Because the Right has so long caricatured the Left thusly, they fell over themselves pointing to it as proof that “socialists” (note: Democratic Socialists are not the same thing as Socialists; one seeks to achieve its ends through democratic means, the other through authoritarian means.) want to ruin America. Of course, this particular proposal is meant to actually save lives, much like Obamacare. But that is of little concern to the Right when they’ve finally managed to find proof of their boogeyman version of Democrats.
That version of the Green New Deal was a wrong draft version. It was mistakenly published. Yes, this is a misstep. But it does not dismiss the ideas in the proposal, anymore than a Trump misspelling in a tweet means automatically that his ideas are wrong. These are two different concepts.
Conservatives and Republicans have been in full on hysteria mode since Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came on the scene, and since she unveiled the Green New Deal with Sen. Edward Markey and other progressive leaders, they’ve been in full-on ‘socialists are taking over the country!’ mode.
Weirdly, their cries aren’t doing much. As I’ve repeatedly said, it’s very hard to fear-monger about socialism when there’s a plutocrat with fascist tendencies in the White House. Bonus points for trying this while American working families are staring in horror at the amount their tax bill has gone up, thanks to Trump and the GOP‘s tax cuts for the rich. They couldn’t make tax cuts for the rich work unless they hit the middle class, and so that’s what they did, and now it’s tax time and Americans are discovering this first hand in a very visceral way.
The bottom line is no matter how much Republicans try to paint the Green New Deal as extremist, and yes it has to be fleshed out but it’s meant as a vision, not specific bills, it seems more extremist to keep ignoring climate change and how our current policies allow grave and sometimes lethal social injustices like the water in Flint, Michigan.
Ocasio-Cortez told NPR Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep in an exclusive interview about using her fame for political power that she is hoping to help the nation rediscover the power of public imagination:
“I’m learning. I think that really what I hope we’re able to do as a party and as a nation is rediscover the power of public imagination.” Ocasio-Cortez made the point that this is something Trump has done with his wall, in fact. And that’s an idea that experts don’t think will actually work, whereas experts are screaming at us to deal with climate change.
The New Green Deal might be idealistic. It might be seen as extremist, but that’s only because we have for so long normalized putting corporate profits above citizens’ health. We are talking about the life of not just our citizens, but of the planet. It’s a BFD. Anything that takes aim at dealing with this problem is going to sound extreme and even nuts in relationship to how we currently do business for the elite only.
But that doesn’t make it so.
“Socialist” was the attack Republicans used against Obamacare, which was based in part on Republican idea. That word has lost its ability to immediately turn people off quivering in fear, especially after Republicans tried to take Obamacare away from folks. In fact, earlier on CNN, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg said the word socialist had lost its meaning. “So, I think the word has mostly lost its meaning. And it’s certainly lost its ability to be used as a kill switch on debate.”
Trump has given Democrats something they haven’t had for years – not just a spine, but a willingness to be all in on ideas that help the least among us, including our planet, who has no billionaires routinely making a profit off protecting her. Next to Trump, who seemingly believes things he sees in movies are real, is it really that nuts to push a radical agenda to protect our lives?
No. And that is the one thing Trump has done for us. He has made it okay to stretch the boundaries of imagination, as Ocasio-Cortez pointed out.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.