The Green New Deal is great news for the GOP

Republicans loved Obamacare. Really! In fact, “repeal and replace” and its variants may have been the most effective slogan in drawing Americans away from Democratic candidates since “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.”

Thankfully, 2019 has brought an equally heavy-on-high-hope, light-on-logic policy for Republican pundits and congressional hopefuls alike to treat as their personal punching bag throughout next election cycle. Smart conservatives are praying that the wise sages of the new Democratic House majority bring each of the proposals in the Green New Deal up for a vote — every single one of them.

As it turns out, the Green New Deal has been around for quite a while; it is nothing new. So why is it only now at the forefront of American dialogue? The answer is quite simple; just three short letters. A. O. C.

In touting her signature policy, Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOmar controversy looms over AIPAC conference Senate gears up for Green New Deal vote Overnight Energy: Green New Deal vote set to test Dem unity | Renewables on track to phase out coal, study finds | EPA chief reportedly recuses himself from mine review MORE (D-NY) often reduces it to a regurgitation of progressive buzzwords and embellished analogies.

ADVERTISEMENT

In her recent interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, for example, she dodged specifics, and instead mentioned that eliminating fossil fuels was the broad goal, how the rich “should start paying their fair share,” and for good measure, threw in a subtle comparison to Abe Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation. In the past, she’s said “we need to invent technology that’s never even been invented yet;” and boasted, “This is going to be the New Deal, the Great Society, the moon shot, the civil-rights movement of our generation.” And, yes of course, there is also the classic, “people will die.”

Some progressive media outlets see its vagueness as an advantage. Surely the Green New Deal sounds good to progressives, it has “green” and “new deal” in the title; but best not to confuse people with the details or rile up the Fox News crowd. Vox put out a voluble hymn on the topic entitled “The Green New Deal, explained,” but admitted, “the exact details of the GND remain to be worked out.” In The Atlantic’s ode of praise, the subtitle brags, “Democrats may have finally found environmental consensus in the Green New Deal.” Yet, the article does not spell out exactly what it is they all agree upon.

To be clear, the ambiguity of the proposal is popular. A Yale and George Mason survey showed that 81 percent of registered voters liked the Green New Deal when the question was phrased with clear bias. Who wouldn’t want to “produce jobs and strengthen America’s economy by accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy?” Even conservatives like that.

The problem for Democrats is that the Green New Deal is not that vague at all. The left and their media allies have crowned Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the new face of the party, and she has put out a fairly detailed proposal, in writing, on what the policy should entail. Now they own it, like it or not.

The bullet points of the Green New Deal read like a “best of” album of liberal eco talking points. It is as though a concert audience shouted up to the band, “Play the old hits!” And they obliged. All Sgt. Pepper’s; no Yellow Submarine.

The counterpoints to each of the controversial proposals have been made elsewhere, and are easy to figure out once you digest the cost. The money it would take to close 80 percent of the country’s power plants and “upgrade every residential and industrial building” is astounding; the toll in jobs and economic output, immeasurable. Add to that the non-environmental parts of the plan: universal income; living wage requirements; federal job guarantees; and universal healthcare. Of course, to pay for this she’s proposed a predictable 70 percent tax on the rich; only to be one-upped by the 90 percent levy cited by Julian Castro, as he struggles to gain traction in the 2020 field.

It is nothing short of a sample pack of socialism in one convenient bundle.

ADVERTISEMENT

This will be a tough issue for the Democratic Party as the progressive wing takes further control and demands adherence to its liberal dogma. Fortunately for Republicans, Ocasio-Cortez and her co-sponsors will soon learn that the majority of the country is dissimilar to the Bronx; and for the rest of us living on the planet she hopes to save, the prospect of bearing the immense personal costs of her grand ambition outweigh the presumable benefits.

One need only look to the recent gilets jaunes riots in France to see the outrage that can follow burdensome environmental laws, even if they are well intentioned, if the working class ends up paying dearly out of their monthly bottom-lines.    

Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Dems look for traction following Barr-Mueller findings Democrats face dilemma after Mueller probe ends Raskin embraces role as constitutional scholar MORE is not worried about losing her member from NY-14, and representatives from San Francisco and Seattle won’t pay a price for supporting the Green New Deal. But for the seats Pelosi needs to hold on to her majority — those in the rust belt, the south, and the Midwest — this will prove to be a significant wedge in her ranks and in the media.

Republicans should be so lucky if Democrats forge ahead on the Green New Deal.

Joseph Borelli is the minority whip of the New York City Council, Republican commentator, professor and Lindsay Fellow at the City University of New York's Institute for State and Local Governance. He has also been published in the NY Daily News, Washington Examiner, and appears on Fox News, Fox Business, BBC, CNN and HLN. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeBorelliNYC.