Democrats strug­gle to de­fend mocked Green New Deal

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON

Democrats strug­gled Sun­day to de­fend the Green New Deal af­ter Rep. Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez’s botched roll-out threat­ened to turn the sweep­ing cli­mate-and-more plan into a na­tional punch­line.

Pete But­tigieg, a Demo­crat run­ning for the 2020 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, called it “the right be­gin­ning” and a “right di­rec­tion” while stress­ing that the non-bind­ing res­o­lu­tion was “a frame­work” not a pol­icy.

“Ob­vi­ously, the Green New Deal, as we have seen it so far, is more of a plan than it is a fully ar­tic­u­lated set of poli­cies,” Mr. But­tigieg, mayor of South Bend, In­di­ana, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, South Carolina Repub­li­can, was less diplo­matic, call­ing the Green New Deal’s pro­pos­als “nuts.”

“These people have gone in­sane in terms of try­ing to fix prob­lems,” Mr. Gra­ham said on Fox’s “Sun­day Morn­ing Fu­tures.” “The Green [New] Deal is ba­si­cally an eco­nomic night­mare for the coun­try.”

Crit­ics on both sides of the aisle have ques­tioned the Green New Deal’s de­mand to phase out fos­sil fu­els by 2030; retro­fit all U.S. build­ings; im­ple­ment a fed­eral jobs guar­an­tee; over­haul the trans­porta­tion sec­tor with high-speed rail; and pro­vide uni­ver­sal health care.

The doc­u­ment has also spurred jokes over an ac­com­pa­ny­ing fact sheet that said spon­sors set­tled for a goal of net-zero car­bon diox­ide emis­sions “be­cause we aren’t sure we’ll be able to fully get rid of fart­ing cows and air­planes that fast,” as well as “eco­nomic se­cu­rity for all who are un­able or un­will­ing to work.”

“In the doc­u­ment, I don’t know what this has got to do with cli­mate change, they guar­an­tee … pay, not a job, for people un­able to work or un­will­ing to work,” Mr. Gra­ham said. “They ban cows, ba­si­cally. This is nuts.”

Rep. Tim Ryan, Ohio Demo­crat, said he dis­agreed with pay­ing those un­will­ing to work, but that pro­pos­als like Medi­care for All and the Green New Deal are “value state­ments.”

“These plans I think across the board re­ally are value state­ments, these are value doc­u­ments,” Mr. Ryan said. “I be­lieve that ev­ery able-bod­ied Amer­i­can needs to go to work, they need to work hard just like every­body else. But work needs to pay, too, and the prob­lem is that for most work­ers the last 30 years, they haven’t seen a raise.”

As for Ms. Oca­sio-Cortez, “I think what she’s try­ing to do is to high­light these is­sues,” he said.

Other Democrats have been more crit­i­cal. Ernest Moniz, for­mer en­ergy sec­re­tary in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, sug­gested the pro­posal was “im­prac­ti­cal,” while Paul Bled­soe, cli­mate ad­viser to Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, said “Democrats need to chan­nel the en­thu­si­asm in more prac­ti­cal di­rec­tions.”

“I sin­cerely be­lieve that the Green New Deal ef­fort will help com­pel Con­gress to grap­ple with ac­tual cli­mate leg­is­la­tion, and I think there are many spe­cific ap­proaches that could be ef­fec­tive,” said Mr. Bled­soe, strate­gic ad­viser for the Pro­gres­sive Pol­icy In­sti­tute. “But it’s im­por­tant that they not make blan­ket sweep­ing state­ments that can’t be achieved.”

Sen. Chris Mur­phy, Con­necti­cut Demo­crat, in­sisted the Green New Deal res­o­lu­tion was “ab­so­lutely re­al­is­tic,” af­ter be­ing told Sen. An­gus King, Maine in­de­pen­dent, had de­scribed it as “un­re­al­is­tic.”

“I think it’s ab­so­lutely re­al­is­tic and I frankly think we need to set our sights high,” Mr. Mur­phy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Ms. Oca­sio-Cortez’s staff has told me­dia out­lets that the fact sheet, or FAQ, was an un­fin­ished draft not in­tended for pub­li­ca­tion. A sim­i­lar doc­u­ment posted on the New York Demo­crat’s web­site was re­moved Thurs­day.

Sev­eral top Demo­cratic 2020 pres­i­den­tial con­tenders, in­clud­ing Sens. Cory Booker, Kirsten Gil­li­brand, Ka­mala Har­ris and El­iz­a­beth War­ren, tweeted their sup­port for the Green New Deal af­ter it was un­veiled Thurs­day, and Mr. Booker con­tin­ued to de­fend it as crit­i­cism sur­faced.

“There’s a lot of people now go­ing back on the Green New Deal, they’re like, ‘Oh it’s im­prac­ti­cal, oh it’s too ex­pen­sive, oh it’s all of this,’” Mr. Booker told a crowd in Ma­son City, Iowa. “If we used to gov­ern our dreams that way, we would have never gone to the moon.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

“These people have gone in­sane in terms of try­ing to fix prob­lems,” Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham said on Sun­day. “The Green [New] Deal is ba­si­cally an eco­nomic night­mare for the coun­try.”

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