Being Liberal can be Popular

Ezra Klein writes about The Governor’s* new reelection scheme: cooperate with the Democrats in the Legislature on writing an environmental bill that will make California’s emission standards even more stringent than they already are.

[Link] Let’s just take a moment to enjoy this rarest of all passages describing the aftermath of a major piece of legislation expected to win passage in the glorious Golden State:

Business interests, especially oil companies, were irate and said they felt abandoned by the Republican governor, who had pledged to work for a bill they could support. They accused Schwarzenegger and Democrats of cobbling together behind closed doors a haphazard bill that could create unintended economic chaos.

Ahhh. What a difference a few years makes. Remember when it was Cheney and the Big Business interests working behind closed doors to cobble together an energy bill to pad their pockets and accelerate our ecological decline? Yeah, me too..

Anyway, this a Schwarzenegger film top to bottom. Conscious of the perils running for reelection in California, he’s playing up the issue area where his progressive impulses appear genuine: environmentalism. In recent weeks he’s sought a compact with Tony Blair on global warming, and in recent days he’s crossed California’s extractive industry’s to mandate a 25 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. It should be said here that California is actually rather green already, with our vehicle requirements often rendering the exhaust out my auto’s tail pipe cleaner than the LA air it mingles with, and so our state, with the sixth largest economy in the world, accounts for a mere two percent of carbon emissions.

Granted, this is California, not Colorado, but still, it’s a telling sign that conservatism doesn’t always mean electability. Just like Democrats have long had to compromise on defense and gay rights to win votes, so do Republicans start needing to compromise on the environment and health care.

* When used without a qualifier, it always means Arnold Schwarzenegger.

One Response to Being Liberal can be Popular

  1. SLC says:

    The fact that Aaaaanolds position is cited as a liberal one is indicative of the polariization of the dialog in this country. In the past, there were a number of conservatives with pro-environmental positions, such as James Buckley, James J. Kilpatrick, to some extent Barry Goldwater, etc. Even today, Bill O’Reilly occasionally takes a pro-environmental position. But like evolution, it appears that the liberal/conservative ideological split takes precedence over the science (although a few of the old line conservatives such as Charles Krauthammer and George Will accept the evolution position).

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