Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Polar Bear is getting hot

While I normally do not respond well to publicity stunt political action, sometimes they are so spot on that you can only stand up and cheer. In this case Green Party Eco-Action Committee member Jean McMahon takes to spotlight as she dogs Okla. Senator (and well known global warming denier) James Inhofe. The full story is at the Tulsa World.

I note that this is starting to have some legs, as science journalist / blogger Chris Mooney has picked up the same thing.

Go get'em, Ms. Bear.


Delta said...

Wes, Alex, and Orval,

As fellow progressives would you mind giving your opinion on a strategy that I've been tossing around in my head for the progressive movement?

It's over at my blog if you have time.


Wes said...

I left a short comment over at your blog (which I had to look up but finally found here.)

Like most people, I was pretty naive concerning the political process and especially the connections between non-profit, apparently non-partisan organizations and the actual operation of any political campaign.

To begin with, at your blog, I took issue with your first point. While there are many failures in the media to fulfill their obligations as the fourth estate, there are even more failures of the so called progressive movement to do what needs to be done to make their story interesting to the media. It is far too easy to blame the media for our own failures to do the hard, honest work of helping the media to understand things from our viewpoint.

I obseved a very professional effort have significant impact on the media coverage of Richard Pombo during th 2006 election. It was time consuming. It had ups and downs, frustrations and successes, but in the end, when it really counted, most of the media did their job honestly and fairly. (Exception being the editorial board of the Stockton Record and that was mostly kept to the editorial pages.)

In a similar manner, I found that the environmental organizations that poured money into that race were very careful about the manner in which they used their money. The Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and Clean Water Action Committee all devoted significant resources to removing Richard Pombo, as they all held him to be a major impediment to an honest environmental policy. Of all members of the House of Representatives, they were probably right. However, this would not have happened had they not had some evidence that Pombo was beatable. They were not going to spend money on an issue campaign where the outcome would anyway have been the re-election of the incumbent. That is why their focus was on Pombo and not on John Doolittle.

If you look carefully at the current election cycle, you will notice that they are not making an equal effort to defeat Senator Inhofe (R. OK). He is deemed to be not beatable and so they will not waste their money. It is all about winning elections and not about supporting the candidates who best fit their profile.

If your intent is to make a fundamental change in the policies of our government, then you must win elections and right now, those same environmental organizations will almost exclusively support Democratic Candidates in partisan elections just for the simple fact that they are "electable." In order for a Green, or any other political candidate, to garner the same level of support, they will have to prove their electability.

Every single organization that I know of that claims to be non-partisan, inevitably makes choices over candidates to support and what level of support they should be given. These choices are always made concerning electability.

The idea that a Popular Front could avoid making that trade off is very naive unless you can convince someone that you have enough support to elect just anyone who agrees with you, and by that time you are a political party.