Tom Friedman, a New York Times star columnist, wrote a column entitled “The Green New Deal” 11 years ago. In this he proposed to invest vast sums to reinvent the energy industry. Conservatives (e.g., me) examine all visionary proposals with three assumptions in mind: Governments invariably over-promise, under-deliver, and overspend. We were pleased that Tom’s grand scheme was first ignored, then forgotten.

Now the “Green New Deal” (GND) reappears as an insanely grandiose scheme, popularized by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). Where Friedman aimed to head off an economic recession, AOC aims at nothing less than the transformation of America’s economy and society.

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel came near to tears of laughter while reading AOC’s Green New Deal blueprint. Here I  depart from Strassel’s evaluation and give AOC the credit she deserves. Americans are accustomed to dismissing their political leadership as clowns, but most of those clowns (Dem and GOP) give more cause for irritation than mirth. Alexandria, by contrast, is a clown with real comedic value. Consider some of the vivacious buffoon’s best boffos, contained in a background document issued by her office. She proposes to upgrade every building in the U.S. in 10 years; phase out nuclear power; and mobilize the nation to achieve “net zero” emissions in 10years by meeting 100% of America’s power demand “through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”

Sounds like a lot right there, but she’s just beginning. She would give the government a decade to install a high-speed rail network to replace air travel. This is a key to her project for “overhauling transportation systems in the United States.”

She aims to provide “economic security for all people of the United States;” “restore and protect threatened, endangered, and fragile ecosystems;” “provide resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States.” Let’s not forget her desire to “guarantee a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States”? And, like all contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination she pledges to provide “all people of the United States” with “high-quality health care.”

There are two forces driving AOC’s vast and all-encompassing plan for transforming the United States. First, she is convinced that socialism provides the ideas and means by which whole societies may be transformed. Second, she believes that the earth is warming so rapidly that we will see the end of all animal life on our planet in twelve years.

The socialism in which she puts her faith is not like any socialism ever tried, but its exact opposite (i.e., successful socialism). The source of her certainties about the coming ecological doomsday is less clear. She never took a course in climatology, nor ever distinguished herself in any other field of scientific study. I’m guessing that her conviction is derived from one or more websites, but that’s merely a guess, supported by no documentation.

I’ve read that some polls claim that 80% of Democrats support her Green New Deal. Sen. Kamala Harris, in the front rank of aspiring presidential nominees, has signed on as sponsor of a GND resolution written by AOC and Senator Markey (D-Mass). No Democrat seeking a lease on the Oval Office has a word to say against it.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican majority leader, saw an opportunity he couldn’t resist. He placed the GND resolution before the Senate. His plan was to get the Democratic senators on the record. Ocasio-Cortez pointed out what the devious old man was up to: “[McConnell] is trying to bully the party and he’s banking on people not being courageous. I think people should call his bluff.”

As it happens, the Democratic senators chose not to call his bluff. They did not vote for the resolution. They did not vote against it. All but two voted “present.” This is how a politician evades “transparency” – a thing they all praise; a thing they all avoid if possible.

John Frary of Farmington is a former candidate for U.S. Congress, a retired history professor, an emeritus board member of Maine Taxpayers United, a Maine Citizens Coalition board member, and publisher of He can be reached at jfrary8070.

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