Podesta: innovation key to elections

Nieuws | de redactie
17 september 2012 | John D. Podesta, Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff, was in the Netherlands for a speech on progressive politics. With ScienceGuide he shares his insight into the role of science and innovation in the presidential election. Even its impact in Ohio. “Obama’s plans on clean energy might secure his reelection.”

Podesta, chairman of the Centre for American Progress, was invited by BKB to give a speech on progressive politics .In that speech he also gave some important advice for thepresidential candidates: “If you don’t have a plan for tomorrow,you probably don’t have a job tomorrow”.

In his speech Podesta pleaded for a bigger role for the G20 indesigning a growth plan. Many of today’s problems are too large forindividual countries, so they have to be tackled on aninternational, global level.

He therefore supports the idea to let the G20 take the lead tocreate a roadmap, which will lead to investments in small companiesto create jobs, tackles climate change and initiates investments inR&D and higher education. “We have to work together as a worldto stimulate these plans worldwide. The stakes are too high”.

Obama’s reelection is still uncertain. What wentwrong, is it just to the economic crisis?

“Obama did not communicate enough about his reforms. He forgotthat every year in the Oval Office should be like your first”.

What will the USA look like under Romney in2016?

“Romney is a cypher. It is uncertain how much and how heinvests. It is for example still unclear how he will implement hisbudget for science, innovation and higher education. TheRomney-camp suggests a policy and it hopes people don’t notice itsdeficiencies or that people will not believe he will really carryit out.”

How is it possible that climate change hasdisappeared from the electoral agenda?

“Climate change has become an ideology in the past four years.The discussion has shifted from “How shall we tackle it” to “Idon’t believe in it. Climate change isn’t real”.

You will notice that the major oil companies invested heavily inthe presidential campaigns, especially in Mitt Romney’s. Theindustry is seeing that politicians need to respond to the publicopinion that ‘climate change isn’t real’.”

Does clean energy play no role at all thiselection?

“The Presidential candidates need to have plans to invest inclean energy, but not just for environmental reasons”, Podestasays, “but also for electoral, more political reasons. For examplein Michigan and Ohio many jobs were created in the clean-energysector through Obama’s Recovery Act. Romney wants to stop theseinvestments from this programme.”

“Especially in Ohio, the most important swing-state, this willhave major consequences. Romney had a three percent lead over Obamabefore he announced his plans to stop this investment program. Nowhe is three percent behind. So Obama’s plans on clean energy mightsecure his reelection.”

Read John Podesta’s speech on progressive politics given at BKBhere

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