The One Sentence

I agree with some of what James Meigs says in his post at City Journal about the Democratic presidential candidates’ climate change plans and I disagree with some but what I want to focus on in this post is this sentence:

It’s almost as if bringing down carbon emissions isn’t the candidates’ top goal.

Of course it’s not their top goal. Their top goal is to secure their party’s nomination for president. Then the prevailing candidate’s top goal will be to become president.

Something I think that very few people really realize is that everybody has a hierarchy of values. Those candidates are perfectly sincere in their support for reducing carbon emissions but they’re also perfectly sincere in their support for a dozen other goals. Those are their principles. If you don’t like them, they have others.

Those goals are arranged in a priority sequence with the next rung in the process of becoming president the topmost priority. No candidate who puts some other goal above that one can possibly prevail. It’s a lousy system but it’s the one we have.

But things are drastically different than they were when the three leading candidates were young which is now a half century or more ago. They apparently believe that they can leave the excessive promises they’ve made reaching that next rung in the dust as they reach for the next rung. I think they’re wrong but we’ll see.

I do not see how the carbon emissions they’re claiming as their objective can be achieved without embracing nuclear power, making a highly improved energy grid a top priority, and quickly adopting technologies for carbon capture but each of those would lose them votes, i.e. would be at the expense of their prime objective.

The object of power is power.

8 comments… add one
  • steve Link

    “I think they’re wrong but we’ll see.”

    Worked for Trump. That said, I do think Democrats expect a bit more from their candidates and are not quite as much into the cult of personality like we have seen with Trump.


  • are not quite as much into the cult of personality like we have seen with Trump

    I’m so old I remember when Barack Obama was elected president. In my lifetime I do not recall ever having seen “cult of personality” to that degree. Other than Jack Kennedy, of course.

  • steve Link

    You hate politicians from Chicago which biases you. There is no comparison with Trump’s cult of personality and any other president’s. On your own blog here you have quite a few people claiming that Trump is the best president ever. That he was the only one who could/can solve the country’s problems. That just isn’t unusual among Trump supporters. You haven’t seen anyone here say that about Obama. Being a Trump supporter has meant that Republicans have had to reject or ignore what they at least talked about as being some of their core values. Stuff like character matters, caring about debt, pushing for smaller government, free trade. While there was some hysteria about Obama when he was first elected, that went away and you didnt need to reject a lot of what you believed if you were a Democrat to support him.


  • I think there is a pathology in our politics, not isolated to a single political party, and much of that pathology is driven by television. Trump is the epitome of that.

    You hate politicians from Chicago which biases you.

    That is untrue. I hate political corruption, regardless of who practices it or the form that it takes. I comment on Chicago and Illinois because what goes on in New York or Louisiana just isn’t any of my business.

    I know you don’t believe it but all politicians are corrupt to varying degrees and the higher they rise the more corrupt they are.

    Is Trump corrupt? Of course he’s corrupt. I said that while he was running. Why perseverate on it? The situation of someone with his business interests in the presidency is inherently corrupt.

  • Roy Lofquist Link

    Steve wins because he has a 50,000 watt bulb in his projector.

  • Guarneri Link

    “Steve wins because he has a 50,000 watt bulb in his projector.”

    And a straw man factory running at capacity in his back yard……

  • steve Link

    Straw man? Easy to find the quotes from people here claiming Trump is the best president ever. Good luck finding anything I said that makes such a claim.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    “Trump is the best president ever”.
    Not yet anyway, but given our options……..

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