For establishment Dems, it’s Party before people and the planet

Wikimedia Commons/Lesserland

Well, if you haven’t figured it out in recent weeks by reading this column, I’m really tired of politicians who just can’t seem to tell the public their real position on fracking and oil and gas without hiding it behind a wall of green-wash garble. I mean, it’s actually painful to watch all the verbal contortions being used to hide the truth.

Here’s a really good example of what I’m talking about from the “issues” section of establishment Democrat Joe Neguse’s campaign website. Here’s what Joe says he’s fighting for:

“The right to breathe clean air and drink clean water, which means combating climate change by significantly increasing investments in renewable energy, eliminating subsidies for fossil-fuel companies, repealing the Federal “Halliburton-loophole” for natural gas development, and supporting the incredible Federal research labs throughout our district[.]”

Well, thanks for that, Joe. Now we know for certain that you — like every establishment Dem in Colorado taking money from the national party and its billionaire funders — fully support fracking and the natural gas industry, oppose the 2,500-foot setback initiative that will soon be gathering signatures to put it on the ballot, and of course, oppose the right of communities and counties to outright ban fracking to protect their health and property values.

Look, I know it’s not your fault, Joe. We all know that if you didn’t publicly take those positions, the DCCC, the billionaires of the Democracy Alliance like your pals Tim and Pat and all those fake environmental groups the billionaires set up to disperse campaigns funds to establishment Dems wouldn’t be allowed to give you millions of dollars to get you elected to Jared’s old seat.

That’s just the game, and you’ve been playing it for a long time now.

Not that it will do any good, but I’d like to point out a couple of things to Joe that might save him some future heartache. I’m guessing he saw the election results in 2016, the ones where the Bernie wing of the Democratic Party in Colorado gave victory to Bernie over Hillary, particularly in CD2 where the establishment’s coronation of Joe was over before Polis ever officially announced he was running for governor. And I’m also guessing, or at least hoping, Joe has seen the Podesta emails on WikiLeaks wherein Hillary’s campaign got all scared to death when it realized the fracking issue (Bernie wanted to ban it) was catapulting Bernie to victory. Of course the emails go on to say that — in order to counter Bernie’s ban-fracking position — Hillary’s campaign thought the best solution was to send in Polis to attack Bernie from the left because Polis doesn’t actually want to ban fracking. Like we didn’t figure that out in 2014.

You really should look at the emails, Joe. If it wasn’t so serious it would be comical. The folks running your wing of the Party were falling all over themselves trying to figure out how to be for fracking without sounding too pro-fracking. They came up with all these really contrived arguments about how good natural gas is for fighting global warming and how talking about fracking bans takes attention away from the really important issues like “mandatory disclosure of fracking chemicals, closing the Halliburton Loophole” and making sure that natural gas development is done “safely and responsibly.”

What I’m saying here, Joe, is that the Hillary campaign folks created this green-sounding, pro-natural gas spin in the Podesta emails that reads nearly exactly like your campaign website does right now. What a freaking coincidence — or should I say fracking coincidence?

All you need to add to make your pro-fracking spin as bad as theirs is a little of that scientifically outdated, 15-year-old bridge-fuel jargon. By the way, Joe, did you notice that renewables including storage have recently become less expensive than the natural gas you and your wing of the party are constantly pushing on the rest of us for the benefit of your billionaire donors? But I guess such amazing progress on renewables doesn’t matter to establishment Dem donors who’ve already “impact invested” billions in natural gas and its infrastructure. In their minds we’re stuck with dirty, global-warming-causing natural gas and its byproduct, oil, for decades to come until they get their money back. 

It wasn’t an evil plan in the beginning, Joe. The actions of the Democratic Party’s major funders that committed us to another 75 years of fossil fuels were made back before we knew natural gas was worse for global warming than coal. But let’s face it, for the past seven years, establishment Democrats still pushing natural gas are doing so with the full knowledge that their position is in direct conflict with the available science. In other words, they have chosen their party over people and the planet. And that sucks.

But back to those pesky facts, Joe. Raising all that money doesn’t guarantee you victory when you’ve staked out a position on a litmus test issue like global warming that is fully opposed by 80 percent or so of the people you hope to represent. That’s right, the vast majority of voters in CD2 are fully aware that natural gas puts out half the CO2 of coal when burned to make electricity but when you add to that the leaking methane that’s 82 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2, it’s actually worse for all of us than coal.

And here’s another interesting and important fact. I was at a conference in Denver a few years ago hosted by The Center for the New Energy Economy. I’m pretty sure you know what that is, Joe. It’s that CSU institution started by your pal Pat Stryker, one of those billionaire funders of establishment Dems in Colorado. Well, anyway, this speaker at the conference was explaining to me how — because it comes out of the same hole in the ground — that the Democrats’ push for fracking natural gas has actually caused the production of oil (the dark liquid stuff) in the United States to double. That’s right, the establishment wing of the Party’s position on natural gas has doubled oil production at the very same time our best scientists are telling us if we don’t leave at least 80 percent of the known reserves of oil and gas in the ground, we will lose the planet.

So let me say it clearly, unlike an establishment Dem campaign website: The Joe Neguse wing of the Democratic Party’s position on fracking and natural gas will kill the planet, destroy our children’s and grandchildren’s futures and — unless we have all gotten stupid over the last two years — possibly kill our chances of taking back the House of Representatives come November.

And by the way, this isn’t an assault on Joe Neguse. It’s an assault on the hypocrisy of Colorado’s and the nation’s establishment Democrats and their funders. And if you want to see this hypocrisy on full display, just go to Joe’s website and click on the “endorsements” tab.

What you will find is name after name, mayors and county commissioners, House and Senate members, political movers and shakers by the dozens. Why is this important? Because there are several other Democratic candidates who are running against Joe Neguse. And more importantly, other Democrats who have virtually identical positions to Joe on all the important issues except for a couple; the role of money in politics and oil and gas extraction, including fracking.

I should point out that the CD2 race appears to be a lot like CD6 and other contested Democratic races in Colorado that have made the national news recently because of the national Party’s interference in our primary process. The establishment wing of the Party has been telling funders, campaign managers and volunteers that they should steer clear of all but the establishment’s chosen candidates if they want to continue to work in this state in the future. In other words these idiots learned nothing from the last election and are working overtime to repeat their same mistakes, the same mistakes that gave us Trump.

I bring this up because this Party pressure is the only thing I can think of to explain all those Neguse endorsements from local politicians who have repeatedly told us that they oppose fracking and will fight it to their last breath. I guess all those mayors, commissioners and representatives have just been lying to us about their positions in order to get elected. Why else, given multiple Democratic candidates with virtually identical stands on the issues apart from fracking and taking money from PACs, would they endorse the candidate who supports fracking rather than choosing one who opposes it? I mean, we are talking CD2 here, folks, it isn’t like you can actually be afraid that a Republican might win if you don’t endorse the person who raised the most money. CD2 was gerrymandered for the Dems ages ago. A three-legged dog running as a Dem would win this district come fall.

And so that leaves us with only one explanation. All those political endorsers who are willing to back pro-fracking, pro-natural gas and pro-oil (because it comes out of the same damn hole), candidates like Joe, must be doing it so that the people who are filling Joe’s campaign coffers will one day fill their own.

And that likely means that when their time comes, they, like Joe, will be willing to make the same deal with the oil-and-gas-industry-supporting funders of the establishment wing of the Democratic Party.

Thank you, Joe, for showing us the true colors of all those establishment-wing Democrats listed on your website. We’ll remember who they are and what they really supported when it mattered most, before it was too late. We’ll remember they chose Party over people and the planet.

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.