Paul Abrams of Washington State’s Apollo Alliance) recently summed up Newt Gingrich’s style of debate:
…after his high-minded talk … Newt immediately descends to the gutter, throwing out red meat to his base…
So it will likely be tomorrow when Gingrich faces Sen. John Kerry in a debate over global warming.
Here’s how Newt begins his website section on the environment:
America will be stronger if it develops coherent technology and market-oriented solutions to environmental conservation and energy consumption…
…It is possible to have a healthy environment and a healthy economy. It is possible to build incentives for a cleaner future. It is possible to have biodiversity and wealthy human beings on the same planet.
Practically sounds like a charter member of the Apollo Alliance.
But high-minded quickly shifts towards flat earth territory.
The United States should support substantial research into climate science … It is astounding to watch people blithely propose trillions of dollars in spending on a topic on which we have failed to spend modest amounts to better understand…
…Global warming may happen. On the other hand it is possible Europe will experience another ice age…
…This point is politically incorrect but the history and science of climate change is far more complex and uncertain than the politically driven mass hysteria of scientists…
Ah, the old “Ice Age” swindle. Conservatives keep pushing that line despite its thorough debunking.
Just as Abrams explained, Gingrich tries to look high-minded (science is really complicated!) while throwing out the red meat to the base (“politically incorrect” now being conservative code for “the truth that the media won’t tell you, like how great things are in Iraq“).
At the same time, he tries to sound like he’s proposing positive solutions, by supporting “substantial research into climate science.”
But he’s been pushing that stall tactic for years. In 2001, he told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that “we don’t know for sure” about global warming and that “in a letter to Clinton and Lott and Hastert two years ago, [I said] we ought to have dramatically more research on climatology.”
So for eight years, he’s been talking research instead of action. Meanwhile, the scientists of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, despite meddling from the White House, have erased all doubt that strong action is imperative.
In the wake of the IPCC, perhaps Newt will adjust his tactics in tomorrow’s debate, and simply take potshots at comprehensive solutions.
And it’s very clear from his long anti-environment history, that his criticisms will be masked as constructive, but are intended to confuse and obstruct.