What causes a politician to accept the science of a given topic (for example, climate change) and then change their mind abuot it years later, after the science and the scientific consensus gets even stronger?
Is it as simple as agreeing with everything that comes out of the mouth of the people who fund you? Is it a fear of not getting elected by your base constituency (illogically, according to polls on the issue)? Is it a genuine misunderstanding of the state of the science?
I don’t know, but Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich must.
Mitt Romney & Climate Change
“As governor of Massachusetts, and later as a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, the Republican said he believed that man-made pollution was contributing to a planetary warming trend,” The Week notes.
However, sometime in October or a little earlier, Romney seems to have changed his mind, saying, “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.”
In Romney’s 2010 book, No Apology, he wrote, “I believe that climate change is occurring. … I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor.” On June 3, he said, “I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that.”
What changed since then?
The science has only gotten stronger, as it’s been tested and retested in multiple ways. The scientific consensus has only gotten stronger, even pulling in notable skeptics, like Dr. Richard Muller.
It’s true that Romney has always been a bit “squishy” on climate change, as Kate Shepherd of Mother Jones writes. Following the quote above from No Apology is this quote: “I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to man and how much is attributable to factors out of our control.”
But I think flip-floppy is actually a better description. In June of 2011, Romney said that we in the U.S. should “reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors.”
In October, that changed to: “My view with regards to energy policy is pretty straightforward. I want us to become energy secure and independent of the oil cartels. And that means let’s aggressively develop our oil, our gas, our coal, our nuclear power.” No sign of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions there.
Sure, he has been squishy, but he has also flopped big time. But, then again, that’s what Romney is known for. Presidential primary contender Jon Huntsman labeled him a “perfectly lubricated weathervane.”
My verdict: Romney will say (and do) whatever to succeed in politics, even if that means ignoring the scientific consensus on an important issue.
Newt Gingrich & Climate Change
I think everyone who follows politics and many who don’t have seen this video:
Global warming and climate change leader? Not so fast.
I actually just noticed, while sitting paused on this line to search for some quotes on how Gingrich has changed, a wonderful post on this matter over on Think Progress. Brad Johnson lays out exactly how Gingrich has flipped and flopped. I love this line: “Gingrich’s positions on global warming and federal climate policy have twisted in the wind over more than two decades, with his positions mostly coinciding with whether the party holding the presidency is a Republican or a Democrat.” Anyway, no need to go dig up each quote anymore — here’s the bulk of Johnson’s piece:
1989: Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) co-sponsors the ambitious Global Warming Prevention Act (H.R. 1078), which finds that “the Earth’s atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate by pollutants resulting from human activities, inefficient and wasteful fossil fuel use, and the effects of rapid population growth in many regions,” that “global warming imperils human health and well-being” and calls for policies “to reduce world emissions of carbon dioxide by at least 20 percent from 1988 levels by 2000.” The legislation recognizes that global warming is a “major threat to political stability, international security, and economic prosperity.” [H.R. 1078, 2/22/1989]
1992: Gingrich calls the environmental proposals in Al Gore’s book Earth in Balance “devastatingly threatening to most American pocketbooks and jobs.” [National Journal, 9/5/92]
1995: Gingrich’s budget shuts down climate action, killing the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment, NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth program, and NOAA global warming research. Carl Sagan asks, “Is it wise to close our eyes to a possibly serious danger to the planetary environment so as not to offend such companies and those members of Congress whose reelection campaigns they support?” [Los Angeles Times, 7/16/95]
1996: At a speech for the Detroit Economic Club, Gingrich mocks “Al Gore’s global warming,” citing “the largest snowstorm in New York City’s history”: “We were in the middle of budget negotiations; the football games were coming up and we noticed on the weather channel that an early symptom of Al Gore’s global warming was coming to the East Coast. And it does make you wonder sometimes, doesn’t it, how theoretical statisticians in the middle of the largest snowstorm in New York City’s history could stand there and say, ‘I don’t care what it’s doing. It’s going to get very hot soon.’” [FDCH Political Transcripts, 1/16/96]
1997: As Speaker of the House, Gingrich co-sponsors H. Con. Res. 151, which notes carbon dioxide is a “major greenhouse gas” that comes from “products whose manufacture consumes fossil fuels” and calls on the United States to “manage its public domain national forests to maximize the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.” [H. Con. Res. 151, 9/10/1997]
2007: Gingrich calls for a cap-and-trade system with tax incentives for clean energy. “I think if you have mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system, much like we did with sulfur, and if you have a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions, that there’s a package there that’s very, very good. And frankly, it’s something I would strongly support.” [Frontline,2/15/07]
In a debate on climate policy with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Gingrich says “the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon-loading of the atmosphere,” and that we should “do it urgently.” [ThinkProgress, 4/10/07]
2008: In an advertisement made for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, Gingrich sat with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and said that “we do agree our country must take action to address climate change.” [We Campaign, 4/18/08]
2008: Defending himself to his conservative base, Gingrich then rejects climate science: “I don’t think that we have conclusive proof of global warming. And I don’t think we have conclusive proof that humans are at the center of it.” [Newt.org, 4/22/08]
In a Washington Post chat, Gingrich rejects a cap-and-trade system, saying it “would lead to corruption, political favoritism, and would have a huge impact on the economy.” He says he supports “tax credits for dramatically reducing carbon emissions.” [Washington Post, 4/17/08]
In a later post, Gingrich says, “I do not know if the climate is warming or not.” He also rejects Warner-Lieberman, a cap-and-trade system with tax incentives for clean energy, as “leftwing”: “I disagree with leftwing solutions like Warner-Lieberman, which ignore the economic and national security implications of their attempts to protect the environment.” [Newt.org, 5/5/08]
“Last week, liberals in Congress voted for the equivalent of a $150 billion tax increase,” Gingrich wrote, of a decision to block oil shale development in Colorado. “The answer to high energy prices,” he said, is “so simple it could fit on a bumper sticker: Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less.” [Human Events, 5/20/08]
2009: In his appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Gingrich attacks President Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal, claiming the president “mentioned in passing, using code words, so nobody would recognize it, he is for an energy tax.” [C-SPAN, 2/27/09]
In a Newsweek column, Gingrich calls Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal “anacross-the-board energy tax on every American.” [Newsweek, 4/4/09]
Gingrich’s 527 organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), launches an anti-cap-and-trade campaign. “I hereby petition Congress to reject any and all legislation (or regulatory action by the EPA) that would enact new energy taxes and/or establish a national cap and trade system for carbon dioxide that would, as President Obama has said, cause electricity and other energy prices to ‘necessarily skyrocket.’” [ASWF, 5/28/09]
2011: Gingrich proposes abolishing the Environmental Protection Agencybecause of its “attempts to regulate greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, and thereby the entire American economy.” [ThinkProgress, 1/25/11]
On Fox News, Gingrich says: “I actually don’t know whether global warming is occurring.” [Fox News, 11/9/11]
Newt Gingrich & Mitt Romney photos via shutterstock
Adjustable dumbbells weights
You really make it appear really easy together with your presentation however I find this matter to be really one thing which I feel I’d by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very extensive for me. I’m taking a look forward for your subsequent publish, I?ll attempt to get the dangle of it!
I am uncertain how much of the warming, however attributable to man and how much is attributable to factor out of our control.
This is from his book and I think it is pretty much where he stands. He had stated there is probably global warming, but I don’t know to what extent man is the cause of it. He really has no firm opinion on global warming. So he words it slightly differently at different times and his detractors call it a flip flop. In his book he made it clear that we need to clear free of the energy crisis by drilling, using nuclear power , solar…all of the above. But in his book, he also states that we can fight pollutants in our environment as long as it does not affect our economy. He spoke extensively that cap and trade would cripple our economy and that it would do very little to help our environment. How he feels about Global Warming is really beside the point, because it does not change how he feels about cap and trade or the EPA regulations that hurt our economy. Our economy is more important because it is allied with our national security. Without a strong economy, we cannot be energy independent , but will be beholden to foreign countries. This is where he stands. He does not object to preserving out environment as long as it doesn’t hurt our economy.
Romney does not flip flop according to the political wind. If he did, he would not stand by the MA Health Care plan which has been extremely unpopular and could very well cost him the nomination. He also acknowledges the possibility of global warming, he stands by Tarp and does not feel that religion should be mixed with politics. All of these positions are not popular with Republicans but he stands by them. I see him as a good man. I man who once closed down Bain Capitol and set up a search center in New York to look for his partner’s daughter. He is a force of good.
97% of climate scientists (minus just a few crazies) say global warming is human-caused. Nearly every overarching scientific body in the world agrees with them. Where does Romney or anyone else who hasn’t studied the science for decades have the right to say these thousands upon thousands of scientists are wrong?
Cap and trade would NOT hurt our economy.
EPA does not hurt our economy.
Clean Energy is the economic driver of the 21st century, not fossil fuels. We are losing to China on this one already.
National security IS important, but it is most improved by investing in clean energy — even the Department of Defense has said this (numerous times) and is working along those lines.
I’m happy to provide links supporting all of the statements above, but, honestly, get tired of going and inserting them time after time for people who don’t want to even open them.
Mitt Romney is the epitome of everything is wrong with America… A vain, greed stricken, power mad, silver spoon who has no idea what it’s like to be an average working class American. If he DID know the 47 MILLION Americans struggling below the poverty level… he wouldn’t have made his fortune raiding American manufactures, dismantling equipment and stealing pension funds BEFORE making sure the jobs went to Asia… JEEZ, does humanity get any worse than THAT?
Really, did the reader see the photo of a young Mitt Romney along with his fellow trust fund baby scumbags, with $100 bills stuffed all over their $10,000 suits and body openings. The first time I saw that picture of Romney I thought of the movie classic “American Psycho”… THIS is the best Republicans GOT? No wonder everybody hates the Republican Corporate Socialist Party.
Y’know what Mitt baby? Just to show you what kind of guy I am, I’m going to wipe my dirty @$$ with a dollar bill and send it to you. If a stiff like you ever became President I’d lead the charge for the guillotine. I despise the Ivory Tower crowd, Mormon or No Mormon, the W.A.S.P.’s are ALL THE SAME!
I think what the Obama/Biden Administration accomplished is genius. The way I see it, President Obama has given the Republican Monkeys enough rope to hang themselves with. If nothing else they’ve exposed themselves to the wrath of GOD! (jinnbad.blogspot.com) Anyone with half a brain tied behind their back can see the GREEDY evil nature and low grade thought processes of Republicans.
To be honest the ONLY problem I have with Obama/Biden and Democrats in Congress (2006-08), is they do not possess that killer instinct needed to put our right-wing adversaries down once and for all. What happened to holding Republicans ACCOUNTABLE for all the waste, fraud, abuse, scandal, sexual deviancy, corruption, lies, deregulation, incompetence, job outsourcing, off-shore tax evasion, reckless economics, government welfare for the rich, war profiteering, Constitutional violations AND a Corporate Crime Wave of epic proportions. The WORST looting of a nation’s wealth and resources in the history of MANKIND! All the result of 8 years of Bush/Cheney and the Republican Controlled Congress of 1994-2006…
If one was REALLY a “great American” they would take a SECOND TO THINK about and then the 5 minutes it takes to Goggle fact check what Republicans in Congress, Conservative spokespersons and history revisionists like Mitt Romney are propagating. Progressives already KNOW the TRUTH AND THAT IS WHY WE ARE WORKING SO HARD AGAINST THE Republican Corporate Socialist Party.
Presently? NOT Mitt Romney nor any Conservative wacko has the capacity to understand the fact that 32% of Obama/Biden’s budget is to pay off the Bush/Cheney supplemental debt. Better for the Republican Party if you so-called news ancHOrs leave out the truth, right? Got to keep the likes of the Koch Bros happy, right?
I swear I’m going to make sure history shows Republican voters as silly, ignorant, self-absorbed, victimized, apathetic, racist, shameless, celebrity worshipping cowards. Conservative wacko choices have destroyed our political system. Bribery, graft and seditious activity are now known as lobbying, political action and voter suppression. Tell me please… what better definition of traitor than those who would corrupt the US election process?
The maddening part of this phenomenon is that Republicans/Conservatives either refuse or don’t possess the capacity to ADMIT THEY WERE WRONG! These shameless, right-wing hypocrites constantly make WEAK excuses, avoid accountability like the plague and dance around any issue like Charles Krauthammer… lol. Only in right-wing world can silver spoon LOSERS like Sarah Palin, William Kristol, Ann Coulter, George W. Bush, Jonah Goldberg, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney make a good living from being WRONG ALL THE TIME!
NOTE: (Let’s not forget Reagan/Bush trashing anti-Trust, union busting and DEREGULATION. The ROOT of all future Corporate scandal. We must go to the 90’s with Newt Gingrich/Tom Delay/Phil Gramm Republican’s to find out how Republicans sold out the American middle/working class. Cops in riot gear across the nation are gassing and shooting the WRONG PEOPLE! I’m NOT anti-police, I’M ANTI-ABUSE OF POWER!
NOTE: I see the Geneva Convention prohibits use of pepper spray in a foreign war zone… but it’s all right to use against students in the USA… No wonder Congress wants to end habeas corpus, f***’n traitors)
Hey FBI, ever hear of the R.I.C.O. Act? I know, I KNOW… it’s just a coincidence every time a Bush is in the White House the American PEOPLE have to suffer through banking fraud, scandal and corruption… K-St & Bank robbers love the Bush family, right? (Arrest George Bush) OR what about Republicans who are solidly behind tax cuts except for payroll tax cuts because that doesn’t affect their rich, silver spoon, trust fund baby masters.
JEEZ you Conservative wackos are stupid! I am somebody cyberbitchslap2.blogspot.com
Associate – Conscious Man Consultants
Southern California branch
Quote of the day
“Not money but LOVE of money is the root of all evil in our faces every day, of the new millennium, thanks to Republicans” Lloyd the Baptist
It really is amazing that such people would even have the possibility of becoming president of the United States — shows how uneducated and ill-informed we’ve become
Another Liberal Socialist point of view….The possibility of becoming president as opposed to the current elected President of the United States— shows how uneducated and ill-informed you’ve become. Why dont you just shower first and get a job!
What? That wasn’t a logical sentence, though I think I got the point. The current Pres. was clearly a worthy candidate and won the last election by a pretty significant margin as a result.
I don’t need a shower, as if you would know or need to know, and I have a few jobs that have me working about 12-13 hours/day. So please take your out-of-context and inane comments somewhere else and find some happiness in your life.