Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ted Sounding Windy

Wowsers, nearly three years since writing about Cape Wind and that overdue, specks-on-the-horizon wind farm off Cape Cod. Now Sen. Ted Kennedy remains determined to smear around that slight stain on his considerable reputation.

In a real way, it is wonderful that he'd be such a jerk about this.

Voters, MSM and bloggers tend to go lightly with Ted. He has an great résumé, with seemingly countless accomplishments for Massachusetts and the nation. Moreover, since his malignant brain tumor diagnosis and treatment, most are very gentle with our imperiled Lion of the Senate, as his epithet aptly is.
Winger Note: Right-wing commentators and bloggers deserve some sort of doggedness award for their recurring attacks on Ted for the 40-year-old Chappaquiddick wreck that caused the death of campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne. As the driver, he did escape prosecution. This almost certainly cost him the likelihood of nomination and victory in 1980, when he contested with Jimmy Carter for President.
We can't know what kind of President Ted would have been, but his political corking has paid off in spades for us for decades. Throughout the nastiest and most regressive conservative fantasies and policies, he has stood loud and rational and firm for progressive and liberal values and specifics. I have no doubt that Barack Obama and many liberal members of Congress were able to make their cases for election in part because Ted has kept the important goals well defined and before the public.

So, what are we Ted adorers to make of his NIMBY efforts to queer a wind farm at a time when green, cheap and non-polluting energy has never been more important or possible? His statements this week were in line with previous ones...and just as dumb. The project has gotten one okay after another, with the current report from the Minerals Management Service saying it would cause no serious environmental problems.

Caution: The PDF report is 800 pages. You can nibble on pieces of it here.

Acting more like the skunk in the garden than the lion in the Senate, Ted blew off, if you pardon, the series of agency okays. He looks now to the Federal Aviation Administration's review for some thread to tie down this worthy demonstration of wind power. He said, "I do not believe that this action by the Interior Department will be sustained. By taking this action, the Interior Department has virtually assured years of continued public conflict and contentious litigation."

Of course, that's true only if he and other reactionaries to this project make it so. He clearly doesn't intend to let reason trump his emotion on this. He may lose all appeals, or just perhaps, Obama may take the initiative and help him let go of this earlier.

The good result is that this silly and illogical crusade helps humanize Ted.

With all of his accomplishment, Ted slips far too comfortably into the Super-Lawmaker cape. Seeing him on the side of the imps and reactionaries seems to make him more approachable. He can be a jerk with a blind spot, just as I and likely you can.

Yet, were Ted to die today or in a year or ten years, the wind-farm opposition will not be his hallmark, any more than any other mistake, misjudgment or misstatement. As much as wingers try to smear and discredit him, he remains a hero with a long, deep and wide history of doing well for us since 1962.

He will lose this one. He really already has, although he's not ready to accept that and probably won't until he has no more appeals. This remains one of his few foibles and follies. How very human.

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Anonymous said...

I'm glad Kennedy is against it. The issue isn't windmills=good, critics=bad. You need to look past the rhetoric.

Jim Gordon is a for-profit developer who is looking to make money of something that belongs to all of us: the ocean.

Yes, he plans to pay some minor "rent" to the federal government, but unlike other public utilities, there will be no public subsidy for the consumer.

Yes, the product he's selling is windpower, so anyone who opposes him is seen as anti-environment.
But when you look at this as a business deal, you'll realize Gordon is proposing a land grab, and that's why Kennedy and other people don't like it.

The ocean belongs to all of us, fishermen and swimmers and the tourists who come to the Cape, so why are we giving up something so precious so Jim Gordon can fatten his wallet?

massmarrier said...

The ad hominem against Gordon is not sound. America's expansion, improvements and innovation have always been and are still largely from private efforts and funding. We've waited far too long for the gas and coal-centric federal government to lead.

If Gordon's group fights the battles, creates the workable and approved project, and in the end profits from it, including the venture money from the feds, that's the American way. It was with railroads and blah blah blah.

Fishermen fatten their wallets from the ocean, as do petroleum companies, cruise lines and many others. So, are wind-turbine companies the only ones to be forbidden access?

People who don't like Gordon specifically or Cape Wind more generally, or those who just don't want anything to change in "their" stretch of the coast aren't in charge.

Anonymous said...

My comments aren't meant as an attack of Jim Gordon. Rather, I am pointing out that he is a businessman looking for a business opportunity, but because of the product he is selling -- wind power -- its too easy to say criticism of his project is anti-environment.

It's similar to the 40B developments that were popping up everywhere a few years ago. For a while, developers and the people who made their living from the ""affordable housing industry" were able to say that any critics of their projects, who may have had valid concerns, were against poor people.

Calling Jim Gordon a for-profit developer is not an ad hominen attack, its a fact.