Dave Begley: Live from Council Bluffs

In the world of collecting, our occasional correspondent Dave Begley might just be what they call a completist. Governor Jay Inslee (whodat???) brought his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to Iowa last night (thumbnail photo courtesy of Dave). We had Dave on hand to cover the festivities, such as they were. Dave is a Nebraska attorney practicing elder law and estate planning in Omaha. Dave has filed this report on Inslee in Iowa. This time around Dave again risked life and limb to ask a satirical question from the crowd:

About 50 climate change true believers and Trump haters showed up for Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s appearance at a Council Bluffs bar on Friday evening. Inslee’s campaign – such as it is – is focused almost entirely on climate change. I say Trump haters because whenever Inslee took a shot at the President, he was greeted with nods and applause.

My question might have puzzled Governor Inslee. Was I a true believer or a climate skeptic? Who else would show up at a bar on a Friday night in Council Bluffs? My question:

I see that your number one issue is climate change. [Inslee agrees.] Some people say that our very existence on this planet is dependent upon resolving this. I’d like to know – if elected President of the United States – would you order the Air Force to bomb coal-fired plants in China and India? [laughs, chuckles, Wow!]

Governor Inslee responded:

I appreciate the general sentiment, but the answer is no. I think there is a better way to go about this issue. And the first thing to do is to re-establish our leadership internationally. Look, it is interesting to me Trump always complains about China, India, Germany, England and every other country in the world and he argues that those other folks aren’t doing enough on this issue and we want them to do more. But it doesn’t really help to encourage somebody to do more when we are doing less. Donald Trump is trying to repeal everything that Barack Obama had done to try to build a clean energy economy.…Tried to accelerate extracting fossil fuel from our public lands. Every chance he’s got, he’s tried to do less. That hardly is successful to get other people to do more. If you want your neighbor to mow his lawn, it doesn’t help to say that you’re not going to mow your own.

I believe when we establish American leadership on this, when we say to the world that we are getting into the Paris Agreement, when we get to do the things we’ve got to do. And I’ll mention two of them. We’ve got to stop giving the oil and gas industry $27 billion dollars of our taxpayer money. We’ve got to put that money into clean energy jobs right here in Iowa. [Applause]…[W]e can move to clean energy. We’ve got to move to 100% clean energy.…

He then went on to describe a Washington bill that passed that would eliminate any coal-sourced power from that state’s electrical grid.

Inslee repeatedly asserted that clean energy jobs are a growth industry and more people would be employed in it than in our current economy. This is akin to the old Keynesian notion that it is good if the government hires a bunch of people to dig ditches and then fill them back up. The rational thing to do is to keep energy as cheap as possible. While the governor complained about the alleged tax subsidies of the oil and gas industry, the entire solar, wind and electric car industries are premised on federal tax subsidies.

Inslee’s postulate about US leadership sounds good, but the facts are that the United States will bear all the costs while China and India ride on until some future date. That was a major flaw of the Paris Agreement. He also informed the crowd that we are still technically in the Paris Agreement until 2020. On top of that, 23 states have joined together to subvert federal supremacy in foreign affairs. Getting out of the bad Paris Agreement is another good reason to re-elect Donald Trump!

Inslee bragged about defeating the Trump Administration 18 times in court. As we have repeatedly seen, some federal judges have decided that they are in charge of our foreign policy. In fact, he openly advocated for a federal judge to strike down funding for the border wall.

While complaining about the President’s use of his constitutional authority, Inslee bragged about his executive order that put a cap on “carbon pollution.”

The canard about “climate deniers don’t believe in science” was pronounced by a climate extremist in the crowd. The governor was of the same mind. He avowed, “the planet will cook if we burn coal and oil.” For Inslee, defeating climate change is job one.

The costs of a clean energy economy were not discussed. Or how it has failed miserably in Europe. Inslee was preaching to the choir and the religion of climate change is never put to any rigorous examination. It is all clichés and bromides.

My question was deliberately provocative. If, in fact, the planet is under a direct threat we should use any means necessary to save life on earth. From the conservative prospective, that has been the beauty of AOC’s Green New Deal. It shows what extreme steps would have to be taken to solve a non-existent problem.

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