The epithets thrown at Obama at this time for being "socialist" is classic baiting by a far right fringe in an attempt to undermine public dialogue on sustainable practices and governance from the center. The same problem exists with the issues that experience a tension between old-line capitalists and the newly Gore-invigorated environmental movement. Polarizing the public dialogue is poisoning the ability of the public to participate in a rational discussion; there's a huge political spectrum that's excluded from the table, to the detriment of fresh ideas and real consensus in solving the massive problems we're facing. These discussions require a creative, progressive approach done in a collaborative fashion. That's being cat-called from the far right, which needs to preserve the status quo, fearing change.
A (very long) article in DSP (in Australia) provides a discussion of the roots of the history of environmental politics and traces its evolution as a political philosophy:
In principle, of course, all agree that "the polluter pays", but if ever there was a principle more honoured in the breach than the observance, this surely is it. For instance, in 1993 the then-new Clinton administration, with Al Gore (author of the "visionary" Earth in the Balance) as vice-president, tried to pass a very mild tax on non-renewable forms of energy, only to be smashed into line by the fossil-fuel lobby. And as Saul Landau comments on another flagrant example: We punish sinners like Exxon, whose oiler [the Exxon Valdez] did not have proper safety equipment, by making it pay for the cleanup and fining it. But modern corporations have delay experts, called corporate lawyers, who find loopholes to forestall both the cleanup and the penalty procedures. Indeed, Exxon has barely felt the cruel lash of justice as it offers $80 billion to buy oil giant Mobil.
Where do these "green" policies fall today? We could map it like Paulitics does, taking all aspects of its ideology and plotting it somewhere onto the social liberal and economic left quadrant, probably to the right of the Dali Lama, since green has become mainstream economics, of late. It has to, in order to be acceptable to industry and commerce and lay the groundwork for a new approach to economics and profit in a sustainable way.
Politically, we have an interesting moment of "rapprochement" coming up in February of 2010. Sponsored by Westfield - a major commercial developer - former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush are slated to appear together at the American Jewish University Series, tickets available here. These former Presidents, each of whom faced attacks from the other party's extreme fringe, are going to calmly discuss a loaded topic like the policies of Israel? On a platform provided by a Jewish University?
The pro-zionists have found some strange bedfellows, indeed. Stay tuned.