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Romney, Climate Change, and the Political Climate



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Over on Powerline, I have posted an additional comment on another part of Romney’s climate remarks that escaped attention previously, concerning his cliché view of energy efficiency in the U.S. Mitt really needs to step up his game.

However, there are two sets of stories yesterday and today that highlight just what is wrong with the entire matter. First, the Puffington Host wonders why Romney “is being attacked for being reasonable” about climate change. (See also this story in the Post.) Heck, the PuffHo says (I’m paraphrasing), just a few years ago most Republicans talked like this. True, and just how well were they received by environmentalists?That’s right; you could hear the crickets chirping.

If you want to bring into focus the bad faith of environmentalists, get a load of Juliet Eilprin’s story in the Washington Post this morning raising eyebrows about how Sen. Jim Inhofe, the chief climate “denier” of capitol hill, has hired a climate “moderate.” Is this a sign Inhofe is going soft? That seems about as unlikely as Sen Jesse Helms hiring a gay rights advocate. And who might this moderate be? A fellow named George Banks, and he’s a moderate because he used to work for . . . the Bush administration. Blink, blink. You mean, the (George W.) Bush administration that was the worst environmental administration evah, dedicated to destroying the environment, trashing the Kyoto Protocol, killing off all the polar bears, and drilling for oil everywhere? Yup, that Bush administration. Just how all of a sudden did someone from that nefarious gang become “a moderate” on climate change? (The Post notes, “Banks won the Climate Protection Award from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 for his work on strengthening ozone layer protections under the Montreal Protocol.” Of course, the Montreal Protocol has nothing to do with global warming, but that always seems to get lost on the media.)

This sudden turnabout brings to light an important point: the extremism and partisanship of the environmental movement requires that they trash any and all Republicans who don’t hold to every last iota of climate orthodoxy, but as a practical matter this means there is no upside at all for a Republican to have even slightly moderate views on environmental policy, but a lot of downside. The climate campaign has never had a kind thing to say about any conservative who has made a concession on climate change. Sarah Palin used to make slightly agreeable notices about climate change being real. She has stopped. Why bother?  

I do have to wonder why the Post thought the Banks appointment could possibly signal that Inhofe was going soft, especially in light of this splendid statement from Inhofe:

“Dave was constrained in his previous positions because of his professional obligations to the Bush administration during their moments of weakness. Yet Dave has personally opposed any type of congressional or regulatory cap-and-trade. He is now unleashed to join me in stopping the Obama administration from imposing all of their anti-business regulations.”

One thing I like about Inhofe is that there is no chance he is going to “grow” in office. Thank God.



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