Quote of the Day

QUOTE OF THE DAY…. In March 2009, RNC Chairman Michael Steele guest-hosted Bill Bennett’s nationally syndicated conservative radio show, and offered several insightful observations. Most notably, Steele insisted that evidence of global warming is “part of the cooling process.” To help prove his point, the RNC chairman said, “Greenland, which is covered in ice, it was once called Greenland for a reason, right? Iceland, which is now green. Oh I love this.”

Steele added, “Education is key.”

We all had a good chuckle, but a year and a half later, Ron Johnson, the leading Republican Senate candidate in Wisconsin this year, is sharing a nearly identical thought.

[O]n the subject of climate change, Johnson reiterated his belief that the rise in Earth’s temperature is caused by sunspots, not carbon dioxide emissions, and that it’s all part of an ongoing natural cycle.

“There’s a reason Greenland was called Greenland,” he said. “It was actually green at one point in time. And it’s been, since, it’s a whole lot whiter now.”

This was, by the way, in the same interview in which Johnson said all scientific evidence related to global warming is “lunacy,” and its proponents are “crazy.” Asked about his own perceptions, Johnson said global warming is likely the result of “sunspot activity,” which doesn’t make any sense.

As for the notion that there’s “a reason Greenland was called Greenland,” I’m not at all sure what, exactly, Ron Johnson is trying to say. This isn’t my area of expertise — the smart money says it’s not Johnson’s area of expertise, either — but as I understand it, Greenland got its name as a matter of public relations. The goal was to make it more enticing to potential settlers concerned about its location. Its relation to the climate debate is dubious, at best.

I imagine that if the RNC hired a science advisor, she’d be the single most bored person in American politics.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.