Progressives may be starting a painful march back toward the political center, if an editorial in the Wall Street Journal by James Bloodworth is any indication. In it Mr. Bloodworth makes The Progressive Case for Fracking. It's quite an inventive work of fiction, implying that there could be such a thing as progressive support for fracking.
Christmas came early for the world’s liberal democracies this year, with news in mid-December that repressive regimes from Russia to Venezuela and from Iran to Belarus are tumbling down an economic spiral. Who or what should we thank for this geopolitical yuletide? The neocons? Pro-democracy protesters? George W. Bush and Tony Blair ?
No. Thank instead American shale producers. The shale-gas and hydraulic-fracking revolution is lighting a figurative bonfire under the world’s petrocracies. Dictatorships that for years blackmailed the West in the knowledge that we would come crawling back for the black stuff are now catching a glimpse of a bleak future.
This ought to put a smile not only on the faces of free-market economists, but liberals and progressives, too. As America becomes a net exporter of energy, shale could help topple some of the world’s worst regimes.
Alas. Progressives have never demonstrated any interest in toppling the world's worst regimes. On the contrary, progressives are really envious of the world's worst regimes for the control they have over their peoples. It's a degree of control that progressives wish they could have. Then there would be "social justice" — once and for all.
Could Mr. Bloodworth be rewriting progressive history in hopes of rescuing the progressive brand? It now suffers the cumulative effects of decades of policy failure, both domestic and international. Good luck with that. The increase in shale oil production in the face of progressive opposition is yet another progressive defeat. Progressives do not applaud.
Instead we can expect them to rework their talking points so as to explain how this boost in oil production is really due to their own visionary policy preferences. It has begun. Mr. Bloodworth's editorial might represent the first salvo in a progressive counter-attack in their war to regain credibility.
James Bloodworth is the editor for the blog Left Foot Forward.