Friday, November 02, 2012

The Turning Point

Along with New York City, the current incarnation of the Republican Party was washed away by Hurricane Sandy. Just as many Americans don't realize that New York City has been as devastated by Sandy every bit as much as New Orleans was by Katrina, many Republicans don't realize that their Party has been devastated too.

Here's the cold, hard fact that is worming its way into the American consciousness: Two major U.S. cities have been destroyed by storms that can be blamed on human's lack of concern for the environment. Global warming will be front and center. The altering of the Mississippi River and its delta will be in the background. I'm not talking science here. I'm talking about Americans knowing it in their gut.

Americans may have been able to shrug off Katrina in New Orleans as a backwater city full of the uneducated and poor but that isn't going to fly in New York. Instead of a Republican President playing politics with an ineffectual rescue and response -- cursed by the very ideology that Bush himself espoused -- we now have a disaster in one of the most sophisticated cities in the world being handled by a competent President that believes in the government that will be in charge of the recovery. Instead of President Bush blaming Louisiana Governor Blanco and sending her "Good Job Brownie"...we now have the partisan Republican Governor Christie of New Jersey embracing President Obama.

There is no sentiment in my statement. I have no use for Governor Christie. I don't believe he's had a change of heart. He is simply a cunning politician and he can see the writing on the wall. The Republican Party is toast. Cooked. Stick a fork in them -- they're done.

Make no mistake, they'll be back. Just as New York City will be back. New York City will be rebuilt. It is now dawning on people that much of the infrastructure that makes New York City go is underground -- and under water. Salt water. We will pump out the water. The electricity will be turned back on. But everybody knows that the saltwater is going to quickly corrode everything. Pipes, wires, rails, beams, everything.

If you're a regular reader of mine can you see all this coming together? Cue Paul Krugman. Rebuilding New York City will be the stimulus spending that he has wanted since 2008. Al Gore must be quietly relishing all this. Talk about an ITYS moment. Say hello to wind and solar. And buried power cables. Don't leave me now but take a look at this clip from The Rachel Maddow Show later.

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That clip ties a lot of what I'm talking about together but if you're pressed for time, fast forward to the 11:30 minute mark and see if anything looks familiar.


If you click on the link above, you'll be reminded the picture came from James Fallows at The Atlantic. You'll also be reminded that the conversation started because of another massive, freakish storm (the derecho) that wiped out the power grid from Chicago to Virginia Beach. Freak summer storm. Freak winter storm. Are you noticing a pattern?

I only mention the power line thing as a touchstone. A talisman. When it all comes together, even the seemingly insignificant (my hatred of over-head power lines) comes together. We have reached a turning point. The lies and extremism of the Republican Party have been laid bare. The foundation of today's Republican Party has been washed away. Global warming is real. It's here and it's going to hurt. Government has a rightful and important place in our society. It will resume that rightful place as it rebuilds New York. It will become blindingly obvious because the simple fact is that no other entity can do the job. 

And we will have to pay for it. Taxes will be levied. Wall Street will go along and its individual members will pony up. The dumb ones might fight but they will lose. The smart ones will be like Governor Christie -- they'll detect the wind change and adjust their sails. (Also, like the Republicans, they won't go away.) We'll discover that instead of hurting the economy -- as Republicans have screamed it would for 30 years -- it will improve our economy. As we spend over a trillion dollars (That's right, I said a trillion. You heard it here first.) on rebuilding New York, New Jersey, et al. we will rebuild our job base and our tax base. America will get busy being America again.

 The only thing that can hold all this up is a Republican House of Representatives. The House isn't supposed to be up for grabs this election. But it will be in two years. If you can vote to change it this election -- if you can vote on a House seat that is contested -- get out and vote for the Democrat. For none of this is a etched in stone.

We will have more once-in-lifetime storms. Europe is still a mess and could melt down. And speaking of meltdowns, Fukushima isn't over. That cold, hard reality is that Fukushima will never be over. Nothing is coming up roses. There is nothing but hard work ahead. But the path we should take is clear to see -- even if it is choked with downed power lines and trees. It's time to get busy cleaning all this up instead of watching it all fall down. It will be hard but anything worth doing always is.

Don Brown
November 2, 2012

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