When Politico broke the story, "New Obama ad hits Romney on coal 'kills people' remarks," I clicked on the link expecting an article about the Obama campaign slamming Mitt Romney for telling lies. Instead, the link steered me to a piece that should have appeared in the Onion.
"I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And that plant, that plant kills people."
Those words belong to Mitt Romney, not President Obama, and they're from a 2003 press conference Romney gave in front of a coal plant while he was governor. Yes, you read that right. In a bizarre Twilight-Zone-esque twist, the Obama campaign is accusing Romney of spreading misinformation by claiming that coal kills.
Obama has long been an advocate for "clean coal", despite repetedly being told that no such thing exists. However, it's the Republican party that tends to ignore science. It's an unsettling turn of events when the "greener" mainstream candidate starts to blatantly pander to dirty energy.
Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) gave a speech that unitentionally revealed the ridiculousness of the Obama campaign ad. He said,
It's no secret coal plants kill. Each year, more than 24,000 deaths are attributed to emissions from coal-fired power plants in the United States alone.
Oops. Do you think the President is blushing?
Reid also called Americans to action.
It's time for us all – whether we're leaders in Washington, members of the media, scientists, academics, environmentalists or utility industry executives – to stop acting like those who ignore the crisis or deny it exists entirely have a valid point of view. They don't.
When it comes to coal, Obama really ought to take the Senator's message to heart. Think we can help him? Taking action is something that y'all here in the Power Shift community are experts at.
The ad is one minute long. Go ahead and listen to it, over on the ThinkProgress website. Joe Romm wrote a great article putting the whole situation in context. Then come back here and answer this question:
Powershifters, what can -- what will -- we do?
You've already been posting some great suggestions on Facebook:
- "national big greens revoking their endorsements of Obama and endorsing someone else (or no one else)."
- "force the conversation to be about the real energy solutions we need (ending extreme energy, energy subsidies), and addressing climate change (particularly in light of this wicked summer)"
- a strategy that is all about "keeping both candidates accountable."
- "bird-dogging, media stunts, campaign office occupations, etc around the fact that climate has all but disappeared from the election debate amidst a summer of unprecidented extreme weather."
Please! Leave more in the comments.
You can be sure we'll listen; the WeArePowerShift site is a place to have conversations, brainstorm tactics, and connect with each other to respond to scenarios just like this.
If you comment, I promise to reply. The rest of the Leadership Team is here as well, ears waiting, eyes wide open.
Has the whole world suddenly turned upside down? North Carolina policy no longer needs to follow science.