This is the same person whose tweet comparing centrist Dems to segregationists because they supported the Senate border funding bill has caused a rift in the House Democratic caucus and forced Pelosi to warn her legislators this week to knock it off with the Twitter potshots. He also co-founded Justice Democrats, the hard-left PAC that’s spoiling to primary Democratic incumbents and alienating AOC’s colleagues in the House in the process. Last month he encouraged his followers to donate to Rep. Henry Cuellar’s primary challenger even though Ocasio-Cortez hadn’t taken a position on that race. “If my chief of staff endorsed a primary challenge without my direction,” said Dem Rep. John Yarmuth, “they wouldn’t be my chief of staff anymore.”
Real livewire, this guy. But his far-left cred is at least as solid as AOC’s is, and he and she seem firmly on the same page in believing that they’re leading a revolution in Washington. It’s unimaginable that she’d fire him. And if she did, it certainly wouldn’t be for a breach of decorum against Cuellar or for too much aggression on behalf of progressivism.
Which probably explains why he felt so comfortable being so candid in front of WaPo’s reporter when discussing his boss’s signature proposal, the Green New Deal. What price is he going to pay for pulling back the curtain on the left’s agenda?
“Thank you again for the kudos you guys offered,” said Ricketts. “We wanted to be pace-setting for the field, and I think we’re there now. … I want to ask you for input … in addition to hearing what you guys are working on.”
[Saikat] Chakrabarti had an unexpected disclosure. “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal,” he said, “is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.” Ricketts greeted this startling notion with an attentive poker face. “Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?” Chakrabarti continued. “Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”
This would be like if one of Pelosi’s deputies admitted they’re keen to amnestize illegals not because they want to “bring people out of the shadows” or whatever but because they expect that the population of new Latino voters will mostly vote Democratic. Or that they’re interested in gun control not because they’re concerned about violence but because disarming the population is a necessary precondition to expanding state control. If the right’s most febrile theories about your ulterior motives are actually correct, you don’t admit that.
But Chakrabarti does. That’s a key difference between progressives and centrist Dems, maybe. The former will tell you up front what they’re really after. They’re proud of it! The latter will dance around it forever. Chakrabarti would admit flat out, I’m sure, that he’d socialize the entire U.S. health-care system tomorrow if he could. Centrist Democrats would harrumph a bit and tell you that a public option is fine — for now.
He tried to downplay the buzz about his admission last night on Twitter, noting that the Green New Deal is itself quite plain about its intentions. Which is sort of true and sort of not:
If only we had talked about it right there on the first page of the Green New Deal resolution… pic.twitter.com/QHnsKpSnJK
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) July 11, 2019
Unquestionably, the GND left no doubt that a wholesale reorganization of the U.S. economy would be needed to achieve its goals. $93 trillion, remember? But Becket Adams is right that Chakrabarti’s being far too cute about cause and effect here. To borrow the left’s favorite analogy for climate change, there’s a world of difference between saying that fighting a world war requires total mobilization of the economy in ways previously unheard of and that we should we fight a world war because we want to mobilize the economy in ways unheard of. The left usually has no difficulty seeing why war under false and mercenary pretenses is morally abhorrent. Yet here’s Chakrabarti seeming to admit that socializing much of the U.S. economy isn’t a necessary side effect of cooling the global climate. It’s the point. It’s the goal. Through that lens, the bleating about a climate crisis looks like a dictator declaring a bogus “state of emergency” because he knows that the decree will grant him extraordinary powers to punish his enemies and reshape society according to his vision.
If you were inclined to see a shred of good faith in the Green New Deal before reading Chakrabarti’s quote, that’s gone now. Philip Klein thinks that, to the extent the GND ever had a prayer of winning over skeptics, that’s gone now too:
The Green New Deal has always rested on deception. Ocasio-Cortez and her backers have argued that we are facing catastrophic emergency and that if we don’t act immediately the looming devastation will be unavoidable. But at the same time, the plan is a wish list of ideas that American socialists would be pushing regardless of the climate issue, and they are in no way necessary to address the global emergency: free college, more union jobs, free healthcare for all, economic security, and “guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”…
What’s fueled climate change skepticism — or denialism, as liberals would put it — is the belief that liberals are just using it as an excuse to implement their economic agenda. Chakrabarti has provided critics with more ammunition to say, “See, we told you so.”
We did tell ’em so. I wonder what Chakrabarti’s next big revelation about the progressive M.O. will be. Might it be that … many accusations of racism by politicians are made in bad faith, to wound political enemies for unrelated reasons?