Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Joe Biden is often criticized -- deservedly -- for arguing that Donald Trump is an anomaly and the Republican Party will revert to a saner pre-Trump state once he's gone. This obviously isn't true. But why do so many people believe it?

Maybe it's because many pundits seem to believe it. Here's the lede to the latest column by Thomas Friedman, who might be the Joe Biden of punditry:
Just when you think you’ve seen and heard it all from Donald Trump, he sinks to a new low that leaves you speechless and wondering: Is he crazy, is he evil, is he maniacally committed to unwinding every good thing Barack Obama did, or is he just plain stupid?

I mean, what president would try to weaken emission standards so American-made cars could pollute more, so our kids could breathe dirtier air in the age of climate change, when clean energy systems are becoming the next great global industry and China is focused on dominating it?

Seriously, who does that?
(Emphasis in original.)

Who does that? Well, I know who would have done that, or something very similar: most of Trump's rivals for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Let's look at coverage of those rivals from the time they were running for president, or some time afterward. Let's start with Scott Walker:
Since taking office in 2011 Walker has moved to reduce the role of science in environmental policymaking and to silence discussion of controversial subjects, including climate change, by state employees [in Wisconsin]. And he has presided over a series of controversial rollbacks in environmental protection, including relaxing laws governing iron mining and building on wetlands, in both cases to help specific companies avoid regulatory roadblocks. Among other policy changes, he has also loosened restrictions on phosphorus pollution in state waterways, tried to restrict wind energy development and proposed ending funding for a major renewable energy research program housed at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Most recently Walker has targeted the science and educational corps at the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which has responsibility for protecting and managing forests and wildlife, along with air and water quality. In his 2015–17 budget, released in February, he proposed eliminating a third of the DNR’s 58 scientist positions and 60 percent of its 18 environmental educator positions. (The cuts were approved by the state legislature’s budget committee in May, and the budget is currently making its way through the legislature.) Walker also attempted to convert the citizen board that sets policy for the DNR to a purely advisory body and proposed a 13-year freeze on the state’s popular land conservation fund—both changes that lawmakers rejected in the face of intense public objections.
Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio:
Not 15 miles from the homes of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush on the mainland, Miami Beach work crews elevate the streets, turning ground floors effectively into windowed basements, to try to stave off the implacable rise of sea water. Up comes the powerful ocean, threatening people, property and the underground freshwater supply.

Can’t control nature, Rubio quips with a smile. Got bigger problems, Bush insists with exasperation.

“I don’t have a plan to influence the weather,” Rubio said dismissively at a town-hall style meeting in New Hampshire last month.

“It wouldn’t be on my first page of things that wake me up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat,” Bush said in the same state on the same day....

Their energy plans continue to promote coal, oil and gas, the greenhouse-gas emitting power sources that heat the planet and worsen climate change’s most drastic effects: severe droughts, flooding and storms.

They intend to undo President Barack Obama’s stringent emission rules for power plants and to ignore or back out of the landmark accord to reduce greenhouse gases that 195 countries — including the U.S. and China the world’s biggest polluters — approved last month in Paris. They say the president’s rules kill too many jobs, though critics note new ones are created in clean energy. Both mock Obama’s contention that climate change is the “greatest” threat for future generations.
Bobby Jindal:
HOURS AFTER ASSURING reporters he believed “human activity is having an impact on the climate,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal – a presumptive Republican candidate for President in 2016 – told the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday that global warming amounts to “simply a Trojan horse” for more government regulation.

“For some of the Left,” he said in remarks to the conservative think tank, “it’s a way for them to come in and make changes to our economy that they would otherwise want to make. It’s an excuse for the government to come in and try to tell us what kind of homes we live in, what kind of cars we drive, what kind of lifestyles we can enjoy. It’s an excuse for some who never liked free-market economies, who never liked rapid economic growth.”

Emissions regulations and environmental protections introduced by the White House, he concluded, illustrate that “the Obama administration is holding our economy hostage to their radical ideas.”

Jindal was in the nation’s capital to promote his energy plan, “Organizing Around Abundance: Making America an Energy Superpower” a 43-page argument for rolling back energy regulations and environmental protections, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, repealing the renewable fuel standard, allowing oil and gas exports and opening federal land to drilling.
Chris Christie:
Chris Christie’s defining moment on climate change came early in his first term as New Jersey’s governor.

On May 26, 2011, the brash, trash-talking Republican acknowledged for the first time that humans were causing the climate to change. Then, just three minutes into his 14-minute speech, he announced the Garden State’s withdrawal from a popular and effective interstate pact to lower planet-warming emissions and raise money for energy efficiency projects.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, which have put limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and created a cap-and-trade market that allows utility companies to buy and sell permits to pollute.
Ted Cruz:
Texas Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz has long been a skeptic of global warming—Cruz does not believe in human-caused climate change, even though 97 percent of climate scientists disagree with him.

The senator, who is also the chairman of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, made this point at a Senate hearing on climate science on Tuesday.

"According to the satellite data, there has been no significant global warming for the past 18 years," Senator Cruz said. "The global warming alarmists don't like these data. They are inconvenient to their narrative. But facts and evidence matters. And I would note that many in the media reflexively take the side of the global warming alarmists."
Who does that? Who rolls back environmental regulations in the face of a massive climate crisis? Republicans -- all of them, or nearly all. Trump isn't crazy -- on this issue, he's just a mainstream member of the GOP.

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