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Under the headline “Climate Is a Risky Issue for Democrats,” an article in Tuesday’s Washington Post talked about what the Democratic candidates are saying about the climate crisis and posited that their general we-gotta-do-something-serious-but-it-ain’t-gonna-be-cheap-or-easy-or-fun campaign statements may be harmful to their electoral prospects.
Democrats' boldness, however, could carry a political price. The eventual GOP presidential nominee is almost certain to attack Democrats over the huge costs associated with limiting emissions. "They will come at this hard," said John Podesta, who heads the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and sees an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases as necessary.
Podesta may be right, but if Democrats think it’ll be a hard to campaign on a platform of climate crisis action wait ‘til they see life in a world whose candidates dare to do nothing. They don’t know from hard. And they seem to be unwilling to tap into the general sentiment out among the voters, which is that we’re all mostly ready to deal with this climate thing.
It’s frustrating to realize that the candidates just don’t seem to get this crucial point. We’re ready. We’re waiting. We’re not afraid. But you keep telling us in a roundabout way that we should be. Maybe even to the point of doing less than we should. It’s like they’re the dentist who says “this is gonna hurt” instead of “think how good it’s going to feel to rid of that bad tooth.” Meanwhile you’re just sitting in the chair wishing someone would show you the way out of the whole mess. The dentist, like the Democrats, just doesn’t know how to sell the idea. We’re out there looking for hopeful rays of sunshine and they keep telling us to get out the umbrellas because a hard rain’s gonna fall.
The first thing they teach you in Marketing 101 is to go positive not negative. It’s not how much the other guy’s stuff sucks. It’s how good your stuff is. It’s not what happens if you don’t. It’s what happens when you do. Political campaigns, of course, have excelled in recent years at going negative, which may explain why when they speak of averting a planetary meltdown they tend to frame it in negative terms. They’ve just become programmed that way. But it’s a bad move and the wrong strategy. You’ve got to break out of the negative thought bubble. You’ll capture no voter’s imagination that way, and, frankly, we need a little more in the way of that. We need some of that pesky vision thing. Which you’re never going to get if you spend all your time wringing your hands about how in the world you’re going to hand the bill to the taxpayers and just what the Right Wing Noise Machine is going to say about all that. They need to set these worries aside. Damn the torpedoes, and move full speed ahead. Throw caution to the wind. It’s liberating. Get bold and emboldened. Be audacious and maybe even bodacious. We’re sending you the signals that you can.
I’ll even take it a step further to help things along. Here’s a stump speech free of charge to any candidate that wants to use it. My vote goes to the first that does.