Can I have a favorite Republican?* At the US Mayors Climate Conference, the nation's mayors met our Congress to talk climate. Here's Medford guy Mike Bloomberg taking on global-warming deniers in his own party, in the reporting of Grist's David Roberts:
The event was recorded, so I assume a transcript will be available at some point, but just going from memory it went something like this:
“Continuing to pollute to teach [China and India] a lesson doesn't make any sense to me. You can't make them do anything, you can just do it and hope they follow. This is America! Since when do we wait on other countries to make progress? You're pushing on a string! I can't tell New York City we're going to do nothing because people on the other side of the world are. This is America!”
And so on.
By the end poor Walden was sputtering, “you're missing the point! You missed my point!” I almost felt bad for him — unlike Sensenbrenner, who really is as dense as Bloomberg's reaction would lead you to believe, Walden's actually a reasonable guy. He just wanted to know how to prevent jobs from going overseas in response to higher energy prices.
Bloomberg's substantive reply is that energy prices aren't that decisive a factor; labor prices are a bigger deal. America's most important assets are its dynamism and innovation, the quality of its engineers and scientists and entrepreneurs. We should be more worried about poor education, anti-immigrant policies, and anemic R&D funding — those are sapping America's real strengths.
When Sensenbrenner offered the other conservative nostrum — “isn't it technology that will save us, not regulations?” — Bloomberg practically shouted, “we cut our energy R&D by two-thirds since the '70s! R&D is leaving this country!”
YEAAAAARGGGGH! And that's why in many ways, local government is so much cooler than national: It's easy to fall prey to posturing and cant when you're in Washington, but these folks actually see the effects of Big National Policy up close.
*Yeah, I know he's in the party by convenience — but it's still a better story this way.