Friday, September 05, 2008



EzraKlein Archive | The American Prospect
I don't think the GOP's sudden affection for drilling is any great mystery. Drilling may not work to solve our oil prices or bring down costs, but liberals really hate drilling, and that's enough. Folks have talked before of the GOP's affection for the politics of ressentiment; this is a policy of ressentiment.

That, at least, is what makes it a base unifier. What makes the policy politically effective is that it's extremely intuitive. Not enough oil? Drill some more. The rejoinder that "a Department of Energy analysis shows that such drilling would have an 'insignificant' effect on oil prices" isn't quite as snappy. And meanwhile, liberals really don't want to drill up every available inch of land, so the GOP has actually found an energy policy that can be their own, even as they pretend to support liberal attempts to get us away from oil. It's a political winner all around: Liberals hate it so the base loves it, liberals don't support it so Republicans can slam them with it, and it makes intuitive sense. That it also demonstrates either a total ignorance of energy policy or a total contempt for the intelligence of the electorate is really neither here nor there.
We GOTTA START KNOCKING SOME HEADS, PEOPLE!!!! You mean in a, like, totally metaphorical way, say, like, kinda, we just explain things, like, CLEARLY so it like, totally sinks in?

No. FUCK no. We need to come right out and say, "Look people! John McCain is LYING to you! Sarah Palin is LYING to you! The whole goddamn Republican Party is LYING to you! Do you really believe they care about YOU?!?!?? NO!!! They say WE want to put a bureaucrat between you and your doctor? THAT'S A LIE! They ARE the bureaucrats who are, RIGHT NOW, standing between you and your doctor! THEY are the ones who negotiated a Medicare benefit that makes it impossible for the government to get the best price for YOU when you get YOUR prescription filled. THEY are the ones that want to keep health insurance so damned EXPENSIVE that almost no one can afford it. Why? BECAUSE WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK OWNS THEM? I'll give you one guess. Don't believe me? Great - I have a fantastic deal for you on a piece of prime Florida swampland."

Multiply that by every single issue there is and you have the political equivalent of global thermonuclear war: speaking the plain truth plainly (albeit with fewer swear words). THAT will earn far more political capital - and votes - than any namby-pamby dissertation on the ROI of drilling in the ANWR.

UPDATE: Case in point, although from outside the political domain.

In a previous life, I was responsible for the electrical and systems engineering for a subway car project for a great metropolitan area (Philly). Part of the vehicle design included a stainless steel wire way which was to be installed under the car. Now there are industry standards that dictate how much wiring you can stuff in a given space, expressed as a percentage of the cross-sectional area of the wire way ("40% fill", in this case). The wiring in this particular wire way was well below that bogey, yet manufacturing insisted it wasn't. We could understand their concern, because bundles of individual wires don't behave like a box of spaghetti: the wires twist and bend and snake, so it can look like the wire way is mostly full of wire when it's really mostly full of air. So we trotted down to the shop floor, calculations in hand, and better than 50 years of collective experience between us, to assure them that everything was fine. "See?" we said. "If you look at the outside diameter of each wire, compute the corresponding areas, and add all the areas up you get 35%! So it's in-spec!" At this the VP OF MANUFACTURING snorted, saying, "I don't care what your fucking piece of paper says. I can look at that thing and tell you it's way more than 40% full!"

Technorati Tags: , , ,