Thursday, July 26, 2007

Change on the Cheap - New York Times


Change on the Cheap - New York Times

John and Elizabeth Edwards were sitting at a camera-friendly spot along a coastal creek in South Carolina the other day, talking with environmentalists about global warming, when Mrs. Edwards mentioned that she was prepared to give up tangerines....John Edwards has a plan to cap carbon emissions, while allowing businesses to buy the right to go over their quotas. Many people regard this as the most efficient and politically salable way to reduce greenhouse gases. But they usually acknowledge that it would make some products — like small orange fruits that have to be transported a long way to get to market — more expensive. “I live in North Carolina; I’ll probably never eat a tangerine again,” Elizabeth said...

Which brings us back to the question of whether John Edwards is capable of admitting that his plan to end global warming — to save the planet — might require some American sacrifice on, say, the tangerine front.
“It does have a cost impact. No question about it,” the candidate said at the end of the day, as his car bounced along to the airport...Elizabeth Edwards joined in, pointing out that if produce that was shipped and trucked from far away got more expensive it would create incentives for people to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables. “I think that’s a good thing,” she said. “And she likes tangerines,” her husband laughed...

Yesterday morning, a spokesman for the Edwards campaign called to clarify his position. The global warming program would not require families to pay more for everyday products, he said. “We are optimistic we will not have to raise the price of tangerines.”

This is American politics. Jesus wept, and all the angels too. This is why it is impossible for any American politician to be reasonable and honest and why Americans are contemptuous and distrustful of the whole political system because it's idiotic and corrupt. Here is a relatively decent person being open and honest and landing in the pit. Here is the dilemma--trilemma in fact--that every politician faces:

(1) Be reasonable and honest. No! You will offend, by our calculations, perhaps 0.0273 +/- 5% of the electorate, and in your position you can't afford it.

(2) Give the safe, canned answer. No--even worse! You'll alienate your Base--your most loyal fans who support you because you're different from the other candidates, because you don't give safe, canned answers.

(3) Be reasonable and honest and then, after a heated pow-wow with groomers and trainers send a representative to take back what you said and give the safe, canned answer. Worst--you are dead. Now they see you speak with forked tongue and accuse you of being a crook.

RIP my favorite candidate. Jesus Christ couldn't win at this game!

1 comment:

Jim L said...

Oh God, you're right! When I first read the comment about giving up tangerines, I thought two things immediately - First: of course, shipping tangerines from say, Israel or wherever is incredibly wasteful and not very sustainable, and then Second: Oh, is that comment ripe (pun intended...) for all kinds of abuse...Which is sad...