Days ahead of the general election, the New York Times tells me that the "Ohio working class may offer key to Obama's re-election." According to a poll, "nearly half of all white voters without college degrees here say the economy is improving, and most give Mr. Obama some credit." In "post racial America," the president's overall white support is in the thirties nationally. Having spent nearly nine years in Ohio, let me try to drill something home. Guys like wealthy Republican Willard Milton "Mitt" Romney bought, stripped, ripped and bankrupted your hometown headquarters companies in leveraged deals. They closed your factories, busted your unions and sent jobs to China. They drove down your wages to redistribute incomes ever upward. They fired you. They looted the wealth that it took Ohioans more than a century to build. Not blacks. Not Barack Hussein Obama. Guys like Romney — and in some cases Romney and Bain Capital specifically. I understand your trauma and bitterness. But get a clue.
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Arizona is even more deranged. So not much to say. Change won't happen as long as turnout is low and voting dominated by the old Anglos and the LDS. Over cocktails in Phoenix a few days ago, some genuinely smart people assured me that Arizona was changing: Moderate Anglos would shake off their apathy and Hispanics would change the state's politics. I'll believe it when I see it. Until then, the odious "Nickle-Bag Joe" Arpaio will win, despite a challenge from Paul Penzone who would restore competence and decency to the Sheriff's Office. Richard Carmona might pull it out for the Senate; if not, Jeff Flake will be even less helpful to the state than Jon Kyl. The overarching political problem remains an ineffective Democratic Party. And, as with the nation, a progressive movement that can't match the narrative of the right.
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Please, chattering classes and politicos, stop calling Hurricane Sandy "the storm of the century." I thought Katrina (2005) was the storm of the century. And Hurricane Irene (2011) shut down the New York City subways and caused "five-hundred year flood levels" in parts of New York state. This is the planet trying to get our attention. This is reality telling us that unless we act urgently with fundamental changes to quit dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, welcome to the new normal. And yet, climate change is barely mentioned. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo avoided discussing it as "too political." With the mainstream media gelding itself to appear balanced, Sandy only "raises questions about climate change," as headlines said. No, your morons, it is providing answers and all the propaganda from the fossil fuels barons won't change reality.
It's astounding that the Republicans repeat over and over how "immoral" it is to pass along federal debt to, as Romney said, "our kids" (baby goats?). The Democrats have accepted this framing of the issue. But none of our leaders are worried about passing along the costs of a brutal new planet to "our kids" and their baby goats, etc. Talk about immoral. As I have written, future generations will curse us. Instead, "denial" is given serious room in the discussion, as if we must also have round-earth deniers included in any policy debate about what's over the horizon. The deniers and the greedy hydrocarbon moguls are loud and sure, while scientists who actually know the score are measured and cautious about drawing connections. Heaven forbid that we replace most cars and many planes with transit, trains and more efficient land use.
Plenty of smart people justify doing nothing because China won't, because it will cost jobs in some industries, because there's not absolute precise certainty in the science, because...always because. Big Oil and Big Coal have spent hundreds of millions to further ensure that nothing is done. We have about five years to make a serious dent in this catastrophe before it's too late to avoid the worst. And, indeed, America as a huge hydrocarbon belcher and world leader could make a decisive difference. And yet all the presidential candidates could do in their "debates" was out drill-baby-drill each other. A question about climate change was never even raised. It is shameful, treasonous and the height of immorality.