A Few Things Ill Considered

More Republican incoherence

I’m sure most of us remember how incoherent Sarah Palin was about climate change (well, okay, about most things), but John Boehner seems to have his sights set on out doing the master!

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos (partial transcript here) his mangling of anything even remotely resembling an intelligent thought is really quite astounding!

His answer to climate change incredibly includes:

we need American-made oil and gas

Because foreign CO2 has such a higher greenhouse potential than good ol’ American CO2.

Boehner offers this boner about the recent EPA ruling:

the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide.

Huh? …um…talk about comical…

And he gives us a nod to the old “humans aren’t causing it, and China and India have to stop causing it too” cognitive dissonance:

we’ve had climate change over the last 100 years — listen, it’s clear we’ve had change in our climate. The question is how much does man have to do with it, and what is the proper way to deal with this? We can’t do it alone as one nation. If we got India, China and other industrialized countries not working with us, all we’re going to do is ship millions of American jobs overseas.

Now, I try to be understanding about interviews with political figures on substantial issues, after all they and the media have worked very hard at dumbing down our level of discourse. But really, is it too much to expect even a junior high school level of comprehension on one of the most critical issues of our time?

Here is the whole excerpt, I think you will see that context does not help him! Like I said, move over Sarah Palin!


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you then about energy. We showed your statement on the president’s decision through the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. Also, you’ve come out against the president’s proposal to cap-and-trade carbon emissions.

So what is the Republican answer to climate change? Is it a problem? Do you have a plan to address it?

BOEHNER: George, we believe that our — all of the above energy strategy from last year continues to be the right approach on energy. That we ought to make sure that we have new sources of energy, green energy, but we need nuclear energy, we need other types of alternatives, and, yes, we need American-made oil and gas.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that doesn’t do anything when it comes to emissions, sir.

BOEHNER: When it comes to the issue of climate change, George, it’s pretty clear that if we don’t work with other industrialized nations around the world, what’s going to happen is that we’re going to ship millions of American jobs overseas. We have to deal with this in a responsible way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what is the responsible way? That’s my question. What is the Republican plan to deal with carbon emissions, which every major scientific organization has said is contributing to climate change?

BOEHNER: George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide. And so I think it’s clear…

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don’t believe that greenhouse gases are a problem in creating climate change?

BOEHNER: … we’ve had climate change over the last 100 years — listen, it’s clear we’ve had change in our climate. The question is how much does man have to do with it, and what is the proper way to deal with this? We can’t do it alone as one nation. If we got India, China and other industrialized countries not working with us, all we’re going to do is ship millions of American jobs overseas.

Comments

  1. #1 GaryB, FCD
    April 20, 2009

    The difference between a good politician and a poor politician is in their ability to skip and dance around a question without directly answering it and without our noticing that is what is being done.

    Boehner is apparently a poor politician. He would make an excellent science commentator on Faux news however.

  2. #2 Adam
    April 20, 2009

    George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical.

    Yes, this idea is comical. That’s why NO ONE is suggesting it! Do these guys even bother to learn the basics of what the arguments are, or do they just spout whatever nonsense pops into their head? Good thing this guy is just some Republican hack who squeaked by in the last election, and has no actual power or influence.

    What’s that? First elected in 1991? Current House Minority Leader? Sigh.

  3. #3 Joshua Zelinsky
    April 20, 2009

    I would try to argue that the comment about “carcinogen” is a is simply him mispeaking but the overall incoherence of the rest of the interview makes that not a viable argument. What an ignoramus.

  4. #4 george.w
    April 20, 2009

    I was just gobsmacked by the “carcinogen” thing. He’s using sciency-sounding words without the slightest clue as to what they mean.

    If Cliff Claven at the neighborhood bar said it, this would not be so alarming…

  5. #5 John Mashey
    April 20, 2009

    Actually…

    CO2 of course is not itself carcinogenic … but in high-pollution places (like Los Angeles), high CO2 worsens effects of carcinogens already in the atmosphere. I.e., CO2 is actually a local pollutant *in some places* (a bunch of which are here in California).

    See Stanford Prof. Mark Jacobson testimony to Congress April 9, 2008, especially the written testimony.

    (Of course, this is a minor effect relative to ocean acidification and global warming, and it certainly in no way supports Boehner’s claims.)

    Boehner is embarrassing, but in addition, like many politicians, he still does not understand the long-term effects of YouTube… Here is Boehner, on record, for all to see, probably for the rest of his political career.

  6. #6 Chris
    April 21, 2009

    You do yourself a disservice by posting things like this. Making the debate political is both childish and foolish. I’m sure there are more newsworthy things than politicians who aren’t up on science.

  7. #7 Betula
    April 21, 2009

    Since the subject appears to be ignorance, this Democratic gem may come in handy……

    http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=32291

    That’s right, C02 caused the death of our troops in Mogodishu……

    And even though C02 isn’t listed as a carcinogen (give it time)’ the alarmists can’t deny that with too much of it, we are all likely to die from Cancer in the near future….

    “They say the climate change could cause an extra 5,000 deaths from skin cancer every year”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1161895.stm

  8. #8 Rod
    April 21, 2009

    Boehner is not an ignoramus; the attempt to link “carbon dioxide” and “carcinogen” may be deliberate. It’s the “If you can’t baffle them with brilliance, dazzle them with bull-bleep” argument.

    Chris: The debate has been political since the 1970s — and the “disservice” is being done by ultra-conservatives, among others, who prefer ideology to reality.

  9. #9 Adam
    April 21, 2009

    Betula –

    While Representative Markey was off-base directly attributing one event to global warming, he is still doing FAR better than Representative Boehner. He at least understands the consequences to a certain extent, even if he’s a little confused about what can and cannot be attributed to climate change.

    Chris –

    Considering the ENTIRE debate is political at this point (the scientific debate is settled on the big question, and mostly focused on the details now), this post is appropriate.

    And you’re correct, normally a politician ignorant of science wouldn’t be such a surprising thing, but considering that there’s going to be an emissions cap-and-trade debate soon, I would expect the Minority Leader to at least be up to speed on the issues (rhetorically expect; in fact, I don’t actually expect Boehner to do anything other than spout conservative platitudes)

  10. #10 Betula
    April 21, 2009

    Adam.

    Your amazing. If Markey were a Republican you would be calling him ignorant and incoherent.

    Instead, because he say’s something that may promote your belief, no matter how bizarre, you attempt to downplay the remark as “off base” but “He at least understands the consequences to a certain extent, even if he’s a little confused about what can and cannot be attributed to climate change.”

    What your saying is Markey understands the consequences, but is confused by the consequences. He seems to be confused that U.S. troops died in Somalia as a consequence of AGW.

    Whose playing word games?

    There is a chance that Boehner misspoke, what are the chances Markey misspoke?

  11. #11 Adam
    April 21, 2009

    Betula –

    He’s correct that global warming leads to areas of increased and more severe drought. He’s incorrect in attributing one event to it in particular. Unfortunately, this is not a particularly uncommon misunderstanding. He understands the consequences (unlike Boenher), even if he’s (technically) mistaken about a particular event. Markey would have been on much better footing if using Somalia as an EXAMPLE of the consequences of drought.

    The reason Boehner is called ignorant and incoherent, is because, well, he’s ignorant (or seemingly so, in fairness, he might be dissembling) and incoherent. If he misspoke, I’ll grant him that, but I’m always shocked at how often politicians (and Republicans in particular) “misspeak.”

    If you don’t think there’s a difference between the two, you’re sadly mistaken. One is blatantly ignorant of the consequences, and one doesn’t fully grasp the finer points of the consequences. You’re making a false equivalency between the two. But, when it comes down to it, I don’t expect you to be able to appreciate nuance, so you’ll probably just go off an make an Extremely Funny Joke or Hilarious Sarcastic Comment again.

  12. #12 Betula
    April 21, 2009

    “one doesn’t fully grasp the finer points of the consequences.”

    Adam…they are actually probable consequences.

    So how can probable consequences have “finer points” if they are only probable and therefore, don’t exist?

  13. #13 bi -- IJI
    April 21, 2009

    Great, it’s the “CLINTON DID IT TOO!!!” stupid excuse again.

    bi

  14. #14 Betula
    April 22, 2009

    bi

    I can only imagine your shock when you found that politics was brought up in a post with the word Republican in the title.

    Rather than the continued recycling of your old and tiresome Clinton line, perhaps you should try something new….

    Here’s an idea, consider it therapy.

    First, read the AGW/Somalia comments by Rep Markey, then using some of the previous comments on this thread, apply them to Rep. Markey. Examples….

    1. At #3… “What an ignoramous” Markey is.

    2. At #4… “I was gobsmacked” by the Mogadishu thing.

    3. At #2…Markey is just some “hack”.

    You get the idea. Keep in mind, these types of responses require some thought, hard work and a willingness on your part to be original.

    And please, don’t anybody get me wrong. I completely understand Adams point regarding the difference between Boehners comments and Markeys comments.

    Boehner, being the Republican, doesn’t understand the consequences of AGW.

    Markey, being the Democrat, doesn’t undertand the proper way to speculate on AGW hypotheticals.

  15. #15 Adam
    April 22, 2009

    And the word twisting games continue from Betula.

  16. #16 Betula
    April 22, 2009

    Adam.

    Your correct, I meant to say….Markey doesn’t understand speculating on the “finer points” of AGW hypotheticals.