I woke up this morning, and started checking my email. The first hint was a message from a Polish friend in Brussels. Al Gore had won the Nobel Peace Prize. My friend now thinks that Al Gore has a lock on the primary and general now. I responded that that was an over-reaction. But what is going to happen?
I don’t understand Democratic primary voters well enough to know what would happen in their primary. Basically, everyone would have to fold for him to have a chance, I would assume. But I don’t know.
I also wonder about the GOP primary. Will this create a backlash against the candidates who think that we need to do something about global warming, namely John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Sam Brownback?
On a broader level, I wonder where this issue is going in the national electorate. A bunch of consultants and think-tankers point out that no one really votes on global warming. But we are in a politics of narrative, not a politics of fact. The narrative that global warming denying gives us is that we are out of touch. It is another talking point in a long list that the Democrats have. When 60+% think that we are in a recession and Republican candidates talk about everything being rosy, something seems strange. When our electeds deny global warming, but 80% of NH Republicans say they would raise taxes to address the problem, something seems strange.
Last night I had coffee with my uncle. He is one of the founders of the What Would Jesus Drive movement. Today the National Association for Evangelicals — my uncle is the co-chair of their policy committee –, Bread for the World, the Micah Challenge, and a number of evangelical and mainline groups are meeting in DC to talk about a number of issues, but first on the agenda? Global warming. (Second is "torture" by the way) One of the most important swing votes right now is moderate evangelicals. And this issue (these issues? I might even throw in immigration for a trifecta) is moving on us. We need to start addressing it.
Back to my friends in Europe for a second. In February, I attended, representing the GOP, a conference of young leaders of center-right parties from around the world. All the Europeans said that this issue creeps up on you. That it is not a ballot issue, but a credibility issue. That taking a measured position had become no longer politically viable for them. The Aussies (the Liberal Party), the Canadians (the Conservative Party of Canada) and the Republicans, all said, "no no no…"
Since then the Australian Liberals and the Canadian Conservatives have switched positions, leaving the Republicans the only remaining major center-right party in the world that has not moved on this issue.