A must-read piece today from Grist’s David Roberts on why clean energy is a huge political winner:
With the Wall Street Journal editorial page beating its chest, Politico making sweet, sweet love to the Solyndra non-scandal, and the Chamber of Commerce dumping money into attack ads, Democrats have gotten unduly spooked. They’ve started believing John Boehner’s trash talk, that energy is a wedge to divide unions from greens.
It’s an empty threat. The fact is, overwhelming majorities of Americans – across party, age, and regional lines – support clean, modern energy. A poll conducted by ORC International in November found that 77 percent of Americans, including 65 percent of Republicans, believe that “the U.S. needs to be a clean energy technology leader and it should invest in the research and domestic manufacturing of wind, solar, and energy efficiency technologies.” Last February, a Gallup poll offered a list of actions Congress might take. The most popular option, with an incredible 83 percent support, was “an energy bill that provides incentives for using solar and other alternative energy resources.” […]
Clean energy isolates the Republican base from the broad mass of American opinion and, in particular, from swing-state independents. It’s a wedge issue and an electoral winner for Democrats if they can quit playing defense and go on the attack. The appropriate response to threats from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a well-administered ass kicking.
Next time you hear a Democrat waffling on support for clean energy, kick them in the shins. I am not making this up: Some focus group testing this week showed clean energy is almost as popular with swing voters as killing Osama bin Laden (although who gives killing the mastermind of 9/11 a B minus?). Plus, we all know how much voters love candidates apologizing for what they believe in.