David Fahrenthold, writing in the Washington Post today (“Environmentalists Slow to Adjust in Climate Debate“) takes environmentalists to task for — essentially — the poor production values of their rallies and public demonstrations:
ATHENS, Ohio — The oil lobby was sponsoring rallies with free lunches, free concerts and speeches warning that a climate-change bill could ravage the U.S. economy.
Professional “campaigners” hired by the coal industry were giving away T-shirts praising coal-fired power.
But when environmentalists showed up in this college town — closer than ever to congressional passage of a climate-change bill, in the middle of the green movement’s biggest political test in a generation — they provided . . . a sedate panel discussion.
And they gave away stickers.
Taken as a whole, Fahrenthold’s article is schizophrenic. Later in the article he speaks of the disparity in money resources between the two camps:
Oil and natural gas groups have always had deeper pockets. In the first six months of 2009, the Center for Responsive Politics found they spent $82.1 million lobbying Washington on various issues, including climate policy. In the same time, environmental and health groups concerned with climate change spent about $6.6 million on lobbying and clean-energy firms $12.1 million, according to two other analyst groups, the Center for Public Integrity and New Energy Finance.
It’s almost as if Fahrenthold has been subconsciously moved by admiration for the noise and commotion (the “production values”) of the townhall screamers opposed to health care reform, and has let that feeling drive this article emphasizing the lackluster demeanor of the environmental movement.
Efforts to change policy responses both to anthropogenic global climate change and to the unsustainable and dysfunctional health care system are short-circuited by the power of money, from the oil and coal industries on the one hand, and from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries on the other.
Astroturf protesters (fake grass roots, funded by corporations) seem to be a factor to some extent in both issues.
These are just two of the most conspicuous examples of a broader pattern of the influence of money over policy.
To chide environmentalists for — in effect — lack of imagination, is churlish and irrelevant.
What’s relevant is money and its corrupting influence in Washington.