Imagine, if you will, a coffee company CEO--so well-versed in taking the temperature of the minds of millions--were reviewing Mitt Romney's nomination acceptance speech. After all, few business executives are more conscious of the effects of "standing there watching the gas pump hit 50 dollars and still going" and other ills of the litany that Romney recited. I wonder which other passages would attract the CEO's attention.
The executive might think about the superautomatic espresso machines that are likely in his or her company's stores. Because pulling a shot of the concentrated coffee is a small process repeated millions of times over, efficiency is everything. The machines are made by a Swiss company. I wonder what the executive thinks of having to put such expensive machines in every last store--regardless of sales volume--to gain that extra edge in efficiency so that the employees can stand around and talk to each other about their Film Studies major.
Similarly, getting into our cars is a relatively minor process repeated on a millionfold scale. For whatever reason, by and large, we're evidently not interested in driving fuel-efficient vehicles. . .nor in maintaining even our inefficient ones. A piece of junk mail from my car dealership--granted, not the most trustworthy source--stated that 84% of cars on the road today need some part or maintenance. This, while seemingly no 40-year-old woman would be caught dead without a $100 hairdo. And if this sounds like a hypocritical thing for a driver of a poorly maintained vehicle to write, I might mention in my defense that I've recently run the numbers and determined that my 1999 Toyota Corolla still gets 40 MPG highway or thereabouts.
Americans are a wise and a smart people--and by no means a lazy people, intellectually or otherwise. Despite the many assaults we face on all these fronts, I don't hesitate to state as much. No less importantly, we're a people who are connected to nature. We camp, hunt, fish, even ice-fish. A coffee company CEO would be especially conscious of this fact. He or she spares no opportunity, after all, to associate the coffee product with environmental consciousness.
And make no mistake, the green movement is an undeniable and irreversible global megatrend. Like the information technology and telecommunications revolutions, it presents the private and public sector alike with a stark choice: get on board or be scraped off the pavement. Or, at minimum, be embarrassed by the obvious conflict between your statements and events.
"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans.
And to heal the planet."
Laughter, huh? What was that, erm, inconvenience that caused the convention to be rescheduled again?
I'm betting that among those who haven't recently been treated to dinner or other perks by the Koch Brothers, that sentiment elicits anything but laughter. Most particularly, the family-oriented demographic targeted by Romney's speech is, I'd bet, conscious of the fact that efforts to save the planet and those to "help you and your family" are of a piece. Thus Romney is fishing on thin ice indeed with this turn of phrase. Why? Because capital, noting the undeniable appeal of the sentiment, has been telling us for years that we need to choose their products and pay premium prices because it's good for the environment. And in many cases, rightly so.
And Romney thinks he can, all Superman-like, make the world's thinking start turning in the other direction?