Right-Wingers Are No Longer the Problem; So-Called 'Moderates' Are

News & Politics

We have spent so long living under a government that is dominated by the right-wing of the Republican Party, that we are still having a difficult time coping with the new political reality. The right-wing is no longer the problem. The so-called "moderates" in Congress are.

From watering down the size of the stimulus, to weakening the climate change bill, to seriously threatening the public option, to blocking EFCA, cramdown and full voting rights for D.C., moderates have consistently blocked the truly transformative aspects of the Democratic agenda. Despite this, the full force of progressive media attacks remain focused on the right-wing, rather than upon these so-called moderates.

A perfect case in point comes from the climate change bill that passed the House on Friday. The bill had been consistently weakened from its original form. By his own admission, President Obama had originally wanted a 100% auction on the emission allowances, instead of 85% give-aways to polluting industries. Further, the renewable energy standards also plunged, and now barely surpassing the business as usual projections.

However, none of these concessions were made to appease right-wing global warming deniers, all of whom still voted against the still. Instead, the concessions were made for "moderates" in both parties, not a single one of whom would publicly deny the human role in climate change. While they claim to believe in the dangers of climate change, what they all really believed in were huge giveaways to corporate interests within their districts. Such giveaways,as Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill reminded us over Twitter immediately following the House passage of the climate change bill, is the real meaning of moderation:

I hope we can fix cap and trade so it doesn't unfairly punish businesses and families in coal dependant states like Missouri.

By which McCaskill actually means that she doesn't want the bill to do anything to Peabody Energy, the largest corporate user of coal in the world, which happens to be headquartered in Missouri. Clearly, she plans to engage in the same weakening tactics at which "moderates" in the House proved so adept on this bill.

These so-called moderates are the real barrier to the progressive change that the country needs right now. As such, we should be directing our fire at them, rather that at the right-wing. Currently, the right-wing has no power whatsoever unless the moderates in Congress choose to side with them. And yet, it is the right-wing that progressive media keep aiming most of their attacks. For example, consider Paul Krugman's column on the passage of the climate change bill, where he characterizes the main opposition to the bill as climate change deniers:

So the House passed the Waxman-Markey climate-change bill. In political terms, it was a remarkable achievement.

But 212 representatives voted no. A handful of these no votes came from representatives who considered the bill too weak, but most rejected the bill because they rejected the whole notion that we have to do something about greenhouse gases.

And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn't help thinking that I was watching a form of treason - treason against the planet.

To fully appreciate the irresponsibility and immorality of climate-change denial, you need to know about the grim turn taken by the latest climate research.

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