An ongoing Salt Lake Tribune poll, currently posted on their main page, may reveal an important reason why mainstream Americans are not enthused about either the war in Afghanistan or the radical climate change mitigation proposals put forth at the recent U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
To paraphrase Bill Clinton, it's the economy, stupid.
The Tribune poll asks respondents to rank the following issues in order of their importance in the coming year.
And here's the breakdown of 715 responses so far (rounded to the nearest .01):
-- C, A, B: 47.97 percent
-- C, B, A: 24.89 percent
-- A, C, B: 14.68 percent
-- B, C, A: 7.69 percent
-- B, A, C: 2.38 percent
-- A, B, C: 2.38 percent
The bottom line: Over 72 percent of respondents believe the economy is the most important issue. And nearly 48 percent of respondents believe that not only is the economy the most important issue, but that the environment is the least important issue.
This doesn't mean that Americans don't care about the environment. It simply indicates that Americans are growing increasingly unreceptive to the environmentalist message. This is because the environmentalists are too moral, too radical, and too intolerant. By framing the environment as a moral issue, they've transformed climate change into a theology brooking no dissension; dissenters are demonized as heretics rather than having their concerns legitimately addressed. And telling someone who's just lost his job that his taxes will go up to help Third World nations pay for climate change is a complete non-starter; it is ludicrous to believe that most people are so masochistic as to be willing to finance their own oppression.
Americans are less skeptical of security, but are turned off by excesses. Consider that Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz, a rock-solid paleoconservative who supports a strong national security posture, renewed his opposition to whole-body scanners even after the alleged "attack" on a Delta airliner in Detroit. This is not only a reaction against the fact that we've transformed our airports into soft "gulags" nationwide, but also demonstrates resentment of extraconstitutional measures such as the infamous "no fly" list. Our refusal to use profiling also hinders airport security; if we know that a certain group of people have a greater propensity than most to attack airports and airliners, we should be directing increased scrutiny towards that group of people. Two-year-old babies and 78-year-old women do NOT hijack airplanes.
Prospective political candidates need to take these priorities into consideration to be successful. They should be heavy on the economy, responsive on security, but light on the environment.