Washed Up

Didn’t Jeb Bush ever hear the saying, “Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought of as a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt?”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush acknowledged on Friday that he’s “concerned” about climate change, but argued that the U.S. has largely addressed carbon emissions through private sector innovation that has led to a natural gas boom.

Speaking at the New England Council’s “Politics and Eggs” series in Manchester, New Hampshire, a popular stop for presidential hopefuls, Bush fielded a question about whether his energy policy would take the environment into account.

“The climate is changing and I’m concerned about that,” Bush responded. “But to be honest with you, I’m more concerned about the hollowing out of our country, the hollowing out of our industrial core, the hollowing out of our ability to compete in an increasingly competitive world.”

Of course, Bush fails to understand that human-caused climate change will in fact “hollow out” our country and our world. It’s also fairly obvious that Bush is willfully ignorant when it comes to the hazards of fracking:

Bush argued that the U.S. has reduced carbon emissions through conservation and an increased reliance on cheap natural gas.

“We can continue to reduce carbon emissions by taking advantage of the abundance of natural gas,” he said.

I’d suggest that Bush sit down for a chat with Anthony Ingraffea, but it’s highly unlikely Bush would grasp the logic of, or even care about, anything Ingraffea said.

Ironically, Bush’s dismissive remarks about the climate crisis came just a day after the seventh anniversary of his brother’s Rose Garden speech on climate. While George W. Bush’s speech was obnoxious on numerous levels, it did at least acknowledge the basic science of human-caused climate change, something the former Florida governor seems incapable of.

The Republican Party has moved so far to the right in the Obama era that there’s a good chance historians will regard the GOP of the Bush 43 era as relatively moderate by comparison, as horrifying as that idea is for those who lived through the 2000s. Of course, there are other horrifying ideas…and Jeb Bush’s prejudice against physics is one of them.

UPDATE: More from Peter Sinclair.

SECOND UPDATE: Words from an actual climate-hawk President: Barack Obama’s weekly address, April 18, 2015.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.