As part of the site revamp, I am introducing some new features at TheNewTasman, including this one: Flushpoints.
The self-evident political opportunity open to President Obama and the Democrats in the coming twelve months is to identify issues that will drive a wedge between 70 percent of the public and the 30 percent represented by the so-called Tea Party. In this way, he can build coalitions around specific policy areas, but most importantly flush the right-wing of the Republican into the uncomfortable spotlight and thereby drive moderates and independents into the President’s camp, not to mention trigger spectacular internal rifts in the GOP. I call these opportunities for the Democrats flushpoints, and I will keep tabs on them as they play out, starting today. I will keep them archived under Flushpoints above.
This is part and parcel of our mission at TheNewTasman.com to tell stories about US politics from my regular perch in New York, and to do so in a way that contributes to its understanding and enjoyment among Aussies and Kiwis in particular (I also blog about media and politics in NZ and Australia and visit both places regularly, as I am doing now).
Anyway, today’s Flushpoint is Energy from the NY Times, from an article about how Tea Party are already shitty with the GOP leadership even before they have been sworn in. There is plenty to chew over in the piece, but this reference to an op-ed penned by Tea Party organisers Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler stood out as a fine way to kick off the segment.
In an opinion article on Politico, the two also criticized Republican leaders for choosing Representative Fred Upton of Michigan to lead the Energy and Commerce Committee, saying the choice “indicated they are not serious about expanding the nation’s energy-producing capability” through expanded oil drilling and a relaxation of regulations on nuclear power and coal.
I also spotted this nugget from an earlier Politico piece about this so-called moderate Republican, Fred Upton:
Conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck both called [Upton] a socialist because of his co-authorship of legislation banning the incandescent light bulb.
So how much of a pinkie-commo is this Upton character? Well, over to today’s Boston Globe:
Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan, who is set to become chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he was not convinced greenhouse gases needed to be controlled or that the EPA had the authority to do so.
“This move represents an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs — unless Congress steps in,’’ Upton wrote last week in a Wall Street Journal opinion essay.
His coauthor was Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group financed by Koch Industries and other oil companies that has spread skepticism about global warming and supported many of the Tea Party movement candidates who will take seats in the new Congress.
So a man who coauthors climate denial opinion pieces in the Wall St Journal with a Koch Industries-funded Tea Party organiser and oil lobbyist is too left-wing for the most powerful and well organised bloc of modern Republican Party?
This will be delicious.