Rep. Kristi Noem has a disappointing record of non-achievement and public avoidance to address. Where's the Farm Bill? Why'd you waste so much time lying about dust regulations that don't exist? Why have you had 33 show votes on repealing the Affordable Care Act but only one August recess town hall? Why did you refuse your constituents the chance to hear your views at the State Fair debate?
So what does a campaign do when it can't run on its candidate's own record? Change the subject. The latest Noem trick: squawk about Democratic challenger Matt Varilek's past association with cap-and-tax pollution-reduction policy. Just scream "Varilek: cap-and-tax! Cap-and-tax!" and expect the electorate to make like kindergartners when the class frog gets loose.
Kids, settle down. That frog isn't going to hurt anyone. The cap-and-trade frog can actually help you. It already has.
Cap and trade is a nice capitalist concept. We set limits on the amount of damage any corporation can do to the environment. Businesses either find ways to do cleaner business, or they pay for the externalities they impose on our land, water, and air. If a business reduces its pollution below its cap, it can sell the remaining pollution quota to someone else.
Cap and trade gives the market a much greater role than other, top-down regulatory schemes. Republicans ought to love cap and trade. Republicans did love cap and trade. Ronald Reagan proposed it first. Both Bushes dug it. But then Barack Obama became President, and Republicans dropped support for any good idea that might help America and help Obama win a second term.
Cap and trade has worked. It worked in George H.W. Bush's 1990 Clean Air Act, which produced all the pollution it was supposed to at a fraction of the projected cost. It is working in Massachusetts, creating thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in economic activity.
But while the adults in the room try to explain what cap and trade is and how it has proven to be a positive, effective policy, Kristi's spinsters will manufacture headlines (and whine about the media when their trivial press releases don't make real headlines) and attack truth with fear. (To frost the fruitcake, they throw in Varilek's experience speaking at a United Nations conference in Morocco, a bone thrown to the Agenda 21 fanatics whose nutty conspiracy theories our state GOP has embraced in its platform.)
Take away two simple facts from Kristi Noem's silly propaganda:
- Cap and trade is a good policy. If Matt Varilek backs it, that's more reason to vote for him.
- Noem wants you talking about Varilek's non-legislative record because she doesn't want you talking about her legislative record. If you talk about Noem's record (and it won't take long), you'll find more reason to vote for Varilek.