The Degrees Of Seriousness
Democrats and liberals are wrestling with whether or not to pass the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill, whether the benefits outweigh the costs, whether the arm-twisting by the Speaker of the House was too unseemly - in other words, the typical sturm und drang exhibited often on the left, the crisis of conscience, the Hamlet-like paralysis of analysis, the desperate attempt to do the right thing.
On the right, they just lie about the bill and try to turn the side-work of a crank into a scandal worthy of a -gate suffix:
Conservatives are jumping up and down over a report by an EPA analyst expressing skepticism about climate change, which, they claim, was suppressed by agency brass because it didn't conform to Obama administration orthodoxy on global warming. The story has sparked explosive claims, on Fox News and other right-wing outlets, that the EPA censored scientific data for political reasons. And Monday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) called for an outright criminal investigation into the matter.
But it's hard to blame EPA for not paying much attention to the study. And it's more than a little ironic that DC Republicans have chosen its author as their new standard-bearer in the defense of pure science against politics. Because the author, EPA veteran Al Carlin, is an economist, not a climate scientist. EPA says no one at the agency solicited the report. And Carlin appears to have taken up the global warming topic largely as a hobby on his own time. In fact, a NASA climatologist has called the report -- whose existence was first publicized last week by the industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) -- "a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at."
I'm not saying that liberals should learn something from the "Big Lie" tactics of the right. But clearly when you have one responsible party and one who doesn't care about the truth, the latter will sound clearer, more direct and more palatable to the uninformed. It's just easier not to be serious about any of this.