Don’t be an Asshole. Mayor Pete Talks Green New Deal

March 22, 2019


Got a dental cleaning today. My dentist is a pretty conservative guy who seems to have awakened to the reality of climate change relatively recently.

He sometimes feels me out on politics when he’s checking my fillings.
“Some political changes going on – are you on board with kill all the cows and no more flying?”

I explained there was some oversimplification in play there.

Mayor Pete Buttiegeig strikes the right tone, I think, here. Excerpt from l


What’s the single best plank in the congressional version of the Green New Deal and the single worst plank?

To me what’s really important about the Green New Deal isn’t like one of the elements of it, it’s the concept. It’s the concept that we have a national emergency commensurate with a depression or a war. And then the second part of it, the concept that, in rising to meet that challenge, there’s a ton of economic opportunity. To me, that’s what’s really appealing about it. Also, the Green New Deal today is a set of goals, not a fully articulated plan. Which is fine.

Obviously some of the rhetoric around the Green New Deal has gotten a little silly about farting cows and abolishing airplanes, and that sort of thing. But fundamentally I think it’s a sound framework, and it creates the right sense of urgency in that we can kind of luxuriate in a debate over what the right gear might be to do carbon targets, but scientifically the right time to do it was yesterday.

Is there anything that is considered a conservative idea that you wish Democrats owned?

A big part of my political vocabulary is about this because I think Democrats should own freedom. I think conservatives have gotten hung up on this very narrow view of freedom because they’ve forgotten that the government’s not the only thing that can make you unfree. And that’s why I talk about access to healthcare as a source of freedom. I remind everybody that freedom to marry is a pretty important one that matters more for a lot of us in our lives than freedom from this or that obscure regulation. And I think if we succeed people will understand freedom as something that is secured by good government, just as much as it is damaged by bad government.

On the flip side, is there anything that is considered right now a progressive idea and that the Democrats are associated with that you wish the Democrats would ditch?

I think a lot of it is tonal. You just gotta make sure that even as we demonstrate we can fight those in power right now—stand up to them and reject everything that’s wrong and correct everything that’s false—but we don’t have to be assholes about it.

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