Republicans Play Ostrich on Climate – Again

March 6, 2023

There are a lot of conservatives that are concerned about climate change, I know, because I’m talking to them all the time.
But you’d never know it from the dead-in-the-water messaging from Congressional leaders.

I keep saying, if any ambitious Republican really wanted to distinguish themselves from the pack, they would appeal to the young and educated voters they’ve been losing by bringing a clean energy message, and covering their backs with a strong appeal to property rights for farmers and land owners who want clean energy on their land. Seems like an easy layup to me, but what do I know?

Charlie Pierce in Esquire:

So you think the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives is completely preoccupied with Hunter Biden’s laptop, books about gay penguins, and auditioning for Fox News? Balderdash! says I. These are people of serious purpose with expertise untrammeled. Or as the soon-to-be late Fredo Corleone says to his brother, Mike, “It ain’t the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I’m smart! Not like everybody says… like dumb… I’m smart and I want respect!”

Why, looky here. Politico says the House has “assembled” a “marquee” new energy plan, just like a big kid House of Representatives might do. I’m sure it’s full of brilliant new ideas that will solve the climate crisis and prevent Cincinnati from hosting the 2055 Duke Kahanamoku Surfing Classic.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his team have spent weeks assembling a marquee energy package designed to unite their fractious conference and accomplish one of their biggest pledges from last year’s gas-price-obsessed midterms. The energy package — which they aim to pass the last week of March — is set to include some of the party’s most popular pitches over the past decade, from boosting fossil-fuel production on federal lands to disapproving of President Joe Biden’s block on the Keystone XL pipeline to easing environmental reviews of energy and mining projects.

And what does the marquee say? “Coming Soon: The Best of 1988”?

But that wide-ranging appeal across the GOP’s ideological spectrum also creates more pressure points for McCarthy to manage. He’ll have zero room for error and face a herculean task in preventing last-minute changes on the floor that could risk unraveling the entire plan. “Everybody will have a little different perspective. But when you want to attack inflation in this country, it starts with an all-of-the-above energy policy, and I think that will be the more unifying thing,” said House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.).

There is no “ideological spectrum” in the GOP, only degrees of insanity and delusion. I mean, the Keystone XL pipeline is as dead as Kelsey’s nuts. Even the company building it has given up on it. And the ocean doesn’t give a damn about inflation. This is not a serious proposal, except in the sense that it will pass the House of Representatives, unless it runs into a snag with House GOP members who want to make it worse.

And there’s another big reason House Republicans are relishing the chance to bring this to the floor. It’s considered their opening bid on the wonky yet critical issue of energy permitting — a rare policy area that both parties believe could lead to a bipartisan deal that President Joe Biden’s willing to sign. They know that their package’s pro-fossil-fuel proposals and its targeting of Biden’s progressive climate policies are unlikely to garner bipartisan support, but GOP lawmakers hope the permitting plank in particular represents an aggressive starting point for negotiations with Senate Democrats. 

House Republicans never “relish” the possibility of a bipartisan deal. I don’t know what Republicans these people talked to, but I’d bet a buffalo nickel that that person was a) a Republican senator, or b) somebody running a very transparent game on the reporter. The Senate is the only place where even a smidgen of daylight exists for anything remotely qualifying as a “bipartisan deal”—and that relies on the hope that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-Bituminous) maintains his fealty to the coal industry. Nothing in the bill as described even marginally aims at mitigating the climate crisis. Ignoring the elephant in the room is one thing, but ignoring the elephants stomping the hell out of the sofa, the end tables, and the three people you invited to dinner is another.


2 Responses to “Republicans Play Ostrich on Climate – Again”

  1. mboli Says:

    Once again Republicans label mining fossil fuels as “all of the above.”

    Have they not noticed where fossil fuels come from? Their bill should truthfully be labeled “all of the below“. Or maybe “some of the below” if it doesn’t include geothermal.

    “All of the above” would be wind and solar.

  2. jimbills Says:

    “I keep saying, if any ambitious Republican really wanted to distinguish themselves from the pack”

    But that’s the whole problem. It’s a completely predictable response for Republicans to isolate and denigrate any individual Republican that dares to question GOP orthodoxy (which is increasingly being determined by the far right). They are called RINOs, they lose corporate funding, they get bashed by conservative news sources, and they rather disturbingly and easily get primaried in their next election cycle.

    It’s a system that ensures cowardice.

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