Reality Check

Joe Romm has some interesting criticisms of the “Reality Campaign” ads against clean coal propaganda that you may have seen:

I think I like the ads a bit more than he does. But on another level, I think they’ve fundamentally got the wrong target. Fundamentally, it’s extremely difficult to move a specific policy agenda through the mechanism of issue advertising to the public. The clean energy community has done a good job of convincing voters that they want clean energy. Which is why the coal industry and its lapdog politicians are for “clean coal.” But if you spend months and vast sums of money convincing the public that that slogan is bogus, it won’t be so difficult to change the slogan. Ultimately, you need to identify some bad people and go after them to try to teach other pols the lesson that it’s a bad idea to anger the clean energy community.

Meanwhile, there’s a larger story here about progressive groups’ uncomfortableness with some of the seamier aspects of politics. When people give money to support high-minded causes, they tend to want that money to be spent in high-minded ways that make them feel better about themselves rather than in crass, effective ways.