In the latest installment of This Week in Blog over at Bloggingheads.tv, Heritage Foundation's Conn Carroll discussed blogger reaction to McCain's incoherent global warming plan. Watch the segment below.
It's always hard to keep up with conservative misinformation. Conn refused to accept that not all cap-and-trade plans are the same (misquoting several liberal bloggers, who only favorablly equate cap-and-trade with a carbon tax on polluters when polluters fully pay for permits via an auction), and trotted out the widely debunked Bjorn Lomborg to downplay the urgency of global warming. But because conservatives are so thoroughly discredited on environmental issues at this point, it doesn't stress me out.
What remains striking to me is how much difficulty conservatives are having trying to adjust to strong public support for government action on global warming and energy independence. McCain's attempt to take Newt Gingrich's advice and develop a conservative approach to the environment may be incoherent, but at least it recognizes the political necessity to appear to take global warming seriously. As Conn shows, most in the conservative movement have only moved from outright denial to foolish downplaying of global warming.
Meanwhile, as my colleague David Sirota explained in the New York Times Magazine yesterday:
Nearly two decades ago, Republicans won the West by linking Democrats to environmentalists, who supposedly cared more for the spotted owl and other favored species than they did for the jobs of loggers or miners. But now, as a boom in natural-gas drilling reshapes the region, Western Democrats have found success recasting environmentalism as a defense of threatened water supplies, fishing spots and hunting grounds. As a result, the party may hold the advantage this fall in the region’s key Congressional races. The simultaneous rise of Western energy production and the Western Democrat is no coincidence.
Sirota is assessing the impact of gas drilling to the Western landscape. But global warming also threatens water supplies, fishing spots and hunting grounds.
If conservatives lose the West, they'll be in the political wilderness for a long time.