I guess I could have added this as an update to this morning's post on political corruption. Brett Wilkins' reporting on corrupt conservative former Democratic senators now lobbying for the fossil fuel industry isn't exactly unheard of. But it is something that needs to be reiterated again and again so that people never lose track of the fact that NOT ANY BLUE WILL DO. Wilkins wrote that yesterday environmentalists "excoriated two former Democratic U.S. senators who announced they are joining a pro-fossil fuel group that falsely promotes fracked gas as a 'solution' to the climate emergency. Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future-- a self-described 'coalition of interested stakeholders that recognize the vital role natural gas and its infrastructure must play in the energy mix'-- said Wednesday that former Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) are joining its leadership council."
Landrieu and Heitkamp were up Big Oil's butt while they served in the Senate and they're being repaid for the service now. Wilkins emphasized this tweet from biologist and author Sandra Steingraber, which pointed out the likely futures of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, the two leading Democratic recipients of Big Oil campaign contributions, a polite and legalistic way of referring to institutionalized bribes. One of Heitkamp's colleagues in the Senate, not an admirer, told me this morning that he would expect nothing less from one of only 3 Senate Democrats to have voted to confirm Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the other two being equally corrupt and conservative Joe Donnelly and Joe Manchin.
"David Roberts, publisher of the clean energy newsletter Volts, called Heitkamp an 'utterly shameless corporate shill' who is 'fresh from defending corporations against higher taxes.'" This has been the DWT approach to Heitkamp since she was first elected in 2012 when she narrowly beat a "greater evil," Republican Rick Berg 160,752 to 157,758. During that campaign we hoped Heitkamp would beat Berg but never endorsed her or asked anyone to contribute to her since she was on the wrong side of history on many issues, the NRA (she's a proud card-carrying member and a gun nut), Big Oil of course and corruption in general. After Heitkamp lost by 10 points during the 2018 Blue Wave, an election during which she outspent her GOP opponent massively-- $31 million to $6 million-- she has never stopped running off t the mouth how the Democrats can only win in the future by turning right and becoming a party, in effect, of moderate Republicans (like herself, who she refuses to see as the loser she is).
One of the worst Democrats in the Senate during her one miserable term, her self-proclaimed "expertise" is about elections in rural America. In 2018, she won just 12 of North Dakota's 53 counties... and two of them were the only urban counties in the state, Grand Forks and Fargo counties. Her conservatism didn't help her in the rural counties. The rural counties she did win were the super-blue Indian reservation counties. But she feels that the progressive ideas which are so popular-- from Medicare-For-All to making the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes-- kill Democratic electoral chances and the mass media gives her inordinate space to mouth that ad nauseam. She's so utterly un-self aware that she doesn't realize she might have actually held onto her seat if she had backed populist ideas instead of disparaging them. She's as far from the New Deal ideas on which the Democratic Party is built as you can be and still even remotely call yourself a Democrat. She whined and whined about Democrats not paying attention to rural voters, but I sincerely doubt she's ever considered reading Bernie's platform for rural America.
Heitkamp and Landrieu both represented states whose economies are heavily dependent upon fossil fuel production. Both senators also supported controversial fossil fuel projects-- including the Keystone XL Pipeline-- during their congressional careers.
"Sen. Landrieu and I believe that it is time to make real climate progress. That real progress will not be achieved unless forward-thinking partners in the natural gas industry are at the table and embraced as part of the solution," Heitkamp claimed in a Natural Allies press release.
Climate and environmental campaigners strongly argue that gas is an insidious and false climate "solution."
As the Sierra Club noted last month:
Oil and gas companies are rebranding their climate-warming products to make them sound "clean" and "green"... Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and its production leaks methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from well-source to pipeline to power plant. Burning natural gas creates carbon dioxide... This will not reduce our carbon footprint.
In an interview with The Hill, Heitkamp said will be working toward "changing hearts and minds of people in the climate movement."
Landrieu added that "we're not lobbying for any federal or state or local policy, just touting the science and the benefits of this really remarkable asset."