The 2012 presidential campaign is gearing up, and that means it’s game-time for top political consultants—including veteran GOP ad man Fred Davis. Davis, who just came out with a slew of strange spots for Republican presidential candidate and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, is known for his idiosyncratic m.o. Here is a sampling of his past work. Sonny Perdue In the 2002 gubernatorial election in Georgia, Davis conceived of this spot depicting opponent Roy Barnes as a rat thumping through Atlanta.
Spend enough time listening to doubters and deniers of climate science speak, and you start to recognize certain familiar tics and tropes. There's the personal conversion story, for one. The skeptic explains how, once upon a time, he, too, blindly accepted everything climatologists have to say about how human activity is heating the planet.
Last week, shortly before Christmas, the EPA posted a quick item on its website announcing a timetable for new climate regulations on power plants and petroleum refineries. This, in turn, provoked all sorts of outrage and confusion. Industry lobbyists blasted the move. James Inhofe predicted Armageddon and pledged to do whatever it took to thwart the agency. And some commenters framed this as a fresh power grab by the Obama administration. What was harder to find, though, was an explanation of what the EPA was actually doing. So let's roll tape.
So how's that Republican war on pork holding up? All week, conservatives like Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn have been pushing their fellow senators to put a two-year moratorium on earmarks. They've managed to persuade Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and even Mississippi's prime porker, Thad Cochran, has just grudgingly acceded ("I remain unconvinced that fiscal prudence is effectively advanced by ceding to the Obama administration our constitutional authority to determine federal expenditures, but an earmark moratorium is the will of the Republican Conference.").
In his TRB column this week, Jon Chait argues that EPA regulation is the best option left for tackling global warming, given the deadlock in the Senate. True, relying on the EPA's regulatory tools won't be the most elegant or efficient way of reducing greenhouse gases—a market-based cap-and-trade system would be far more flexible. But Senate conservatives are dead-set on blocking the elegant and efficient solution.
People who complain about Max Baucus seem to forget that not so long ago the likes of James Inhofe chaired Senate committees. And if you worked in a Democratic administration, those folks made your job a tough slog. Back in the Clinton White House, I was a middling staffer on the Domestic Policy Council, working on issues ranging from the adoption tax credit to media violence and its effect on children. One of my bosses, as it happens, was Elena Kagan.
One of the biggest unpleasant climate shocks in recent years has been the discovery that the Himalayas are heating up much faster than the global average—a trend that most climate models had failed to predict, and something that's difficult to explain by pointing to greenhouse gases alone. And it's a critical issue, seeing as how Himalaya's glaciers provide water for more than 500 million people in countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and they're expected to shrivel away by 2035 or so.
So are those leaked East Anglia e-mails having much effect on the Senate climate debate? It doesn't seem so. Here's The Hill's Ben Geman: Centrist Republican Sen.
I've been away for a few days and have only just caught up with the story of the hacked e-mail accounts at the University of East Anglia's Climactic Research Unit (CRU). Juliet Elperin has a nice rundown in The Washington Post. From what I've gathered, the stolen e-mails reveal that climatologists are: a) engaged in a lot of boring and dry data-crunching, b) extremely hostile toward global-warming skeptics like Cato's Pat Michaels, and c) not always nice people. But does this add up to a "scandal," as folks like James Inhofe are crowing?