Another lesson for GOP politicians on how to communicate substance

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby’s “How government makes things worse” provides another example of what we need to be hearing from more of our Republican candidates and office holders. If our side isn’t going to have the courage to buck pop-culture-driven public policy, then expect more vapid Barack Obama types to rise high and go far.

Jacoby’s two targets in the column are ethanol and the subprime mortgage meltdown. Each, he says,

“…is a good reminder of that most powerful of unwritten decrees, the Law of Unintended Consequences – and of the all-too-frequent tendency of solutions imposed by the state to exacerbate the harms they were meant to solve.”

Republican U.S. Senator-forever Charles Grassley is quoted as saying that “everything about ethanol is good, good, good.” Jacoby’s response to the Iowa pol is that obviously, everything about ethanol “isn’t, isn’t, isn’t” good.

Grassley represents people who profit from ethanol. Fine. That’s to be expected. But since we have more Republican U.S. Senators who don’t represent people who profit from ethanol, we should be hearing more from them about what Jacoby points out:

  • “[E]xpanding ethanol use is likely to mean not less CO{-2} in the atmosphere, but more. Instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from gasoline by 20 percent – the estimate Congress relied on in requiring the huge increase in production – ethanol use will cause such emissions to nearly double over the next 30 years.”

Studies in the journal Science provides that, and a big batch of other bad news:

  • “Jacking up ethanol production causes other problems, too. Deforestation. Loss of biodiversity. Depletion of aquifers. More ethanol even means more hunger: As more of the US corn crop goes for ethanol, the price of corn has been soaring, a calamity for Third World countries in which corn is a major dietary staple.”

I’ll let you read Jacoby’s column which has more on ethanol, and also has a succinct outline of how “The subprime mortgage collapse is another tale of unintended consequences.”

If it can be said inside a newspaper column, it can be said in a stump speech, at a townhall meeting, in a letter to a constituent, or in an interview with the press. Republicans better get with the program. They can’t win if this isn’t going to be about issues. And if they’re not going to learn how to make it about issues, get ready for an Obama/Bill Foster America.

Click here to read Jacoby’s entire column.