« Revolt Of The Governors

May 20th, 2007

Editors Desk

Eye on The Markets

By The Washington Post | 5.20.07

imageA massive expansion of the federal government, supported by big business, is on the way. Conservatives couldn’t be less prepared.

Years from now, historians will argue over the exact moment at which the Great Conservative Crack-up finally occurred, and they’ll have no shortage of candidates. Was it December 21, 2004, with the appearance of the first poll that showed a majority of Americans believed the Iraq War to be a mistake? Or September 2, 2005, when President Bush told Michael Brown he was doing a “heckuva job” while New Orleans drowned? Or a month later, when Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle indicted Tom DeLay?

But I’d take January 22, 2007. On that date, a who’s who of corporate America—CEOs from such industrial stalwarts as Alcoa, DuPont, Caterpillar, Pacific Gas and Electric, and General Electric—joined environmental leaders at a Washington press conference on global warming. Their surprising message for the president and Congress: Please, for the love of God, regulate us.It’s worth lingering for a moment over just how strange this was. Back in 1997, when the Clinton administration signed the Kyoto Protocol, businesses lobbied the Senate strenuously not to ratify the treaty. And yet here were industry leaders—some with miserable environmental records and decades of experience fighting off the long arm of the law—taking the lead in advocating for a comprehensive, economy-wide regulatory regime to address global warming. It’s a little like a thief who’s been running from the cops suddenly stopping, turning around, thrusting out his wrists, and saying, “Arrest me.”

These weren’t the only CEOs asking government to step in and solve a pressing social problem. Two and a half weeks later, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott joined Andy Stern, the president of the Service Employees International Union, to announce his company’s support for some form of universal health care. When it comes to business’s united front against regulation, as Leo Hindery, former CEO of the YES Network and author of the book It Takes a CEO, puts it, “[These guys are] looking and saying, ‘Look, if we don’t play this global-warming thing right, heck with politics, our company’s going to get hurt. If we don’t reform health care, I don’t care if I’m a Republican, my company will fail.’ ”

Full article By Christopher Hayes:
http://www2.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2007/0706.hayes.html




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