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Progressive, Knowledgeable Environmentalists Need Not Apply?

May 11th, 2009 · No Comments

Recently, several incongruous stories have crossed the desk (via those Internet tubes).

  • Barbara Boxer hired, into a key counsel position for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, a Republican whose resume includes fighting against stronger acid-rain provisions when Republican counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and employment with that stellar environmental institution, Peabody Holding Co.
  • Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection just hired McCain’s press secretary as research director.
  • Looking at these, you have to wonder: when it came to Barbara Boxer and the ACP, was the motto “progressive, knowledgeable, environmentalists need not apply?

    Let us step back for a moment. There can be a power to taking key players ‘from the other side’. They can help formulate strategy that might ‘win over’ some votes and/or people; they might have insights on anti-science syndrome (ASS) sufferers’ plans and approaches to combat movement forward toward sensible energy and climate-change strategies; and, ‘poaching’ key opposition team players might weaken their ability to operate. Thus, there are understandable and even legitimate reasons that can be used to spin these hires …

    Yes. It is possible to “spin” these hires, to create seemingly plausible justifications. At the end of the day, however, these hires seem to be a strong slap in the face to the hundreds (if not thousands) of serious, capable, knowledgeable, and dedicated people who have worked to turn the tide on Global Warming’s rising seas.

    Let’s take a moment to look at these two hires.

    Evidently, Barbara Boxer couldn’t find a compentent Democratic lawyer who knew something climate change issues. Now, to be fair, some say

    that despite a Capitol Hill career spent working for the GOP, Holliday had built a reputation for crossing the aisle to work with Democrats that preceded her decision to work for them.
    “She sees the environment as a bipartisan issue,” an aide said

    And, truth be told, her former boss, Senator Lamar Alexander, has a reputation for being among the least worst Republican Senators on environmental issues. Yes, climate change is real (thus, not in the anti-science syndrome suffering world) and the answer is nuclear power. Actually, in fact, if the Republican Party were Lamar Alexanders when it came to energy and climate issues, there could be a substantive and serious discussion about ‘least regrets’, ‘no regrets’, energy security, and other options forward for a prosperous, climate-friendly, and secure American (energy) future.

    Thus, Barbara Boxer didn’t go out and hire Marc Morano but … It makes one think, no, whether there were other options on the table then hiring someone from the Minority staff to fill a slot in the Majority side. (And, let us remember, that the Senate organizing resolution did not trim the Minority staff as would normally be the case when there is such a shift in the numbers of Senators by party. What does it mean to flip a staffer from Minority to Majority side in this situation? It seems to predicate a ‘moderating’ of the Majority position and counsel toward the minority position, not the other way around.)

    As to the Alliance for Climate Protection, they have hired long-time McCain aide and til now Press Secretary Brian Rogers, “one of the bright young stars who came out of Sen. John McCain’s (Ariz.) presidential campaign“. Since he came from the campaign, let’s look to some of his comments.

    “We’re delighted to have a real estate debate with Barack Obama,” said spokesman Brian Rogers, adding that the press should focus on Obama’s house. “It’s a frickin’ mansion. He doesn’t tell people that. You have a mansion you bought in a shady deal with a convicted felon.”

    “That’s fair game now,” he said. “You are going to see more of that now that this issue has been joined. You’ll see more of the Rezko matter from us.”

    For some reason, have to think that hiring Rogers for a leadership position isn’t exactly a way to endear the ACP with the Obama Administration, even as former ACP CEO Cathy Zoi heads into the government.

    The reality is that Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he’s completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.”

    Yes, Brian, it was Barack Obama who was (and is?) “completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.”

    Rogers called Obama the “Dr No” of energy security.

    When challenged as to truthiness and truthlessness in McCain and Palin statements, Rogers commented that “We’re running a campaign to win. And we’re not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say about it.”

    Yes, some might say, Rogers and Holliday were “just doing their jobs”.

    Holliday has counted among her colleagues on the Republican side of EPW Marc Morano, perhaps the largest mouthpiece for global warming denial across the globe.

    Rogers might not have had to be looking for employment if his employer had done better last year, as President McCain might have had a position for him.

    Consider where Climate Issues might be if Holliday’s former employers had not had command of EPW for so long. Consider where we might be if Sarah Palin were sitting in the Vice President’s office.

    Consider …

    UPDATE: NOTE: What do Brian’s former colleagues think of his move?

    On the campaign trail, Rogers worked alongside deputy communications director Michael Goldfarb, who responded to today’s announcement with poise and professional courtesy. “Everybody knew Rogers was a tree-hugger,” Goldfarb noted by email, “but I didn’t think he’d take it this far. He’s dead to me.”

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    Tags: Al Gore · climate change · Congress · energy efficiency · Global Warming · government energy policy · politics