It may not be the “green dream” – as Nancy Pelosi incorrectly described it – but for the GOP, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” plan is certainly a dream come true as the GOP prepares for a contentious election fight in 2020.
After Mitch McConnell promised to bring the plan to a vote in the Senate, a tactic likely intended to force the five Democratic presidential contenders in the chamber to put their support (or opposition) to the measure on the record, Bloomberg reported on Friday that the GOP has launched a multi-pronged political offensive to tie Dems to the plan – which calls for the abolition of airplanes, beef and fossil fuels while offering welfare to anybody who is unable (or unwilling) to work. President Trump called the plan “brilliant”, and
“If nothing else, Democrats gave Republicans a great talking point on climate change,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and former communications director for Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential bid.
“Whereas before Republicans avoided the topic all together now every Republican will start the conversation be denouncing the green new deal.”
Admittedly, AOC has already handed the Republicans a few unforced errors, including publishing – then retracting – then lying about a fact sheet that promised “economic security for all who are unwilling and unable” to work.
Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel derided the plan as “a GOP dream” and said the plan “encapsulates everything Americans fear from government, all in one bonkers resolution.”
“The flubbed rollout has made Democrats vulnerable,” Paul Bledsoe, who worked on climate change issues in the Clinton White House, said in an interview. “The far-left has gotten attention and done it poorly and Republicans are pouncing.”
Anticipating the Republicans’ opposition, Nancy Pelosi has also derided the deal and sought to distance mainstream Democrats from the plan. Meanwhile, Democrats are hoping that the plan will aide them in their quest to paint Republicans as not sufficiently alarmed about the advance of man-made climate change.
“Republicans don’t want to debate climate change, they only want to deny it,” said Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey, the plan’s lead champion in the Senate. “They have offered no plan to address this economic and national security threat and want to sabotage any effort that makes Big Oil and corporate polluters pay.”
Trump heaped criticism on the plan during his rally in El Paso earlier this week.
Trump invoked the plan while speaking at a rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday. “I really don’t like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane rights, of let’s hop a train to California, of you’re not allowed to own cows any more,” he said.
Democratic contenders for the 2020 nomination have already been forced to equivocate about their support for the deal while out on the campaign trail.
“I’ve endorsed the framework and the resolution, but I don’t endorse doing things that are going to hurt the independent family farmer…“if anything, I want to let people know that we can have a green future that no way is contrary to a strong economy but actually creates a stronger economy.”
Just as Booker did, other primary contenders will likely struggle to square that circle as the base of the Democratic Party continues to drift further to the left, while the broader electorate continues to be wary of policies that involve blithely handing out taxpayer money.