MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: Vote for Your Fellow Citizens or for More Storm Deaths

In a pompous commentary on his show “Up!”, MSNBC weekend host Chris Hayes unleashed what he must have considered a Greenhouse Gettysburg Address, as they pull the bodies of the lost from the clutches of Superstorm Sandy.

“There is something simultaneously awful and exhilarating about those moments when normalcy is suspended,” he proclaimed, and he must have tingled as he declared it essential that we need “a crash program right now to re-engineer the nation’s infrastructure” and “and an immediate aggressive transformation” of the nation’s economic system, before climate change kills more Americans. He insisted a vote for Obama and liberal Democrats was the only choice in a “you’re with us or against us” formulation on climate change casualties:

The story of civilization is the long tale of crusaders for order battling the unceasing reality of chaos, and it is a kind of miracle that we have succeeded as much as we have, that airplanes fly through the air and roads plunge underneath the water, and the entire teeming latticework of human life exist in the manifold improbable places it does. 

But it’s the grand irony that imposing this improbable order on the world we’ve released millions of years of stored-up carbon into the atmosphere which is now altering the climate and threatening the very monuments of civilization we so cherish. We absolutely have it within us collectively to beat back the forces of chaos once again, but we must choose to do so, and the time for choosing is now. You are either on the side of  your fellow citizens and residents of this planet, or you are on the side of the storms as yet unnamed. You cannot be neutral. So, which side are you on?

That sounds a lot like George W. Bush – you’re either with us or against us in the War on Terror. Liberals hated that line. Remember how much they opposed “pre-emptive strikes” before a terrorist threat was proven? But they’ve always favored “pre-emptive strikes” when it came to a much more nebulous threat of bad weather.

Earlier in the rant, Hayes compared Sandy to 9/11:

Obviously the loss of life and intensity of trauma caused by Sandy is nowhere near the scale of 9/11, but it’s fair to say the city hasn’t been as devastated since that September day. And as many unsung civil servants and first responders and utility workers labor tirelessly to get the city running again, I’m reminded that one of the raw truths of 9/11 is that the first thing a competent government must do is protect its citizens. It can’t protect them from everything, nor should it try. But we all recognized, I think, among the horror of 9/11 we want our government first and foremost to keep us safe.  The state cannot eliminate senseless death, but it is its duty to reduce its likelihood.

It’s a conservative insight, really, that the government’s job before all else is to keep its citizens secure, to protect them, that everything else comes after. And lefty that I am, I’m reminded in this moment that it contains an undeniable core truth. And yet – here we sit with a political system that could barely bring itself to acknowledge or discuss the tangible danger climate poses to us, never mind undertake the massive, sustained effort necessary to combat and adapt to it.


Somehow, a massive “crash program” of social engineering and an “aggressive transformation” of the current power grid and energy markets doesn’t sound like the product of a “conservative insight.”

(HT to that "force of carbon chaos" Dan Gainor)

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis