Alternate reality

ALTERNATE REALITY…. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) appeared pretty ridiculous a few days ago, arguing on national television that it’s “comical” to think carbon emissions contribute to global warming.

As humiliating as it was to see that the leading House Republican still doesn’t understand the basics of the policy debate, it was a reminder of the more systemic ignorance.

The Republican Party still isn’t sure global warming is man-made, one of the top Republican lawmakers on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming said this Earth Day.

“I don’t know that there is a party position on this issue,” Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday during an appearance on the Fox Business Network. “I think that there is some debate on whether global warming is in fact being caused by man-made greenhouse gases.”

Shadegg is the second-ranking Republican lawmaker on the special House committee, which was established to help curb carbon emissions and global warming.

Shadegg added that “sun spots” might be a possible explanation for rising global temperatures.

His comments came the same day Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) described a cap-and-trade policy as “the largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country that I’ve ever experienced.” This is the same Shimkus who recently said we can’t limit carbon emissions, because we’d be “taking away plant food from the atmosphere.” He added, “The Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over.”

And those comments came around the same time Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) argued that we need not worry about global warming, because in a pinch, humanity can simply pursue an “utterly natural reflex response to nature,” by finding “shade.”

In addition to the obvious head-shaking stupidity here, it’s a reminder of why bipartisan solutions to pressing crises probably aren’t a legitimate option right now. Republican policymakers seem to have created their own reality, one in which global warming isn’t a problem, recessions end through spending freezes, our health care system is the best in the world, increasing military spending is “cutting” defense, and handshakes are a sign of weakness.

Between sanity and craziness, there is no common ground.

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