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Carbongate – using irony as a weapon?

After all the recent bad news, the Republicans must be feeling a bit defensive and embattled. Because they are trying really hard to create a scandal for Obama, which they are even helpfully calling “Carbongate“.

The story started with a report authored by EPA analyst Alan Carlin that questioned the impact of carbon dioxide on global warming. The “scandal” is that the EPA did not incorporate his report into the official EPA finding, and suggested Carlin stop working on climate change.

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla) ordered an investigation, saying “We’re going to expose it.” Not waiting for the investigation, Inhofe announced his own results: “He came out with the truth. They don’t want the truth at the EPA.” And Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas) proclaims “just as Nixon had Watergate, Obama now has Carbongate to deal with.”

However, conservatives are again showing that they don’t really understand irony (either that, or they just figure if they repeat something often enough, that the media will pick it up and people might start to believe it). The problem? Well, there are multiple problems:

  • First, the report itself is bad. Seriously, citing-astrologers-to-support-their-claims bad. Never mind that Carlin is not a climate scientist (he’s an economist). And he collaborated with the leader of the “Friends of Science” — an astroturf anti-climate-science lobbying group.
  • Second, the government has been trying to ignore Carlin’s reports since long before Obama took office. According to Carlin, “To the best of my knowledge, the Bush administration never followed up on my ideas.” So how could this possibly be a scandal for Obama? And how bad does your report have to be if even the Bush administration — who desperately wanted to discredit climate change — ignored you?
  • Carbongate? What is it with Republicans using the “gate” suffix for political scandals? Are they purposely reminding us of Watergate? I didn’t see any Democrats talking about “Argentina-gate”. This is worse than the Republicans recently bringing up Katrina as an example of how government is incompetent.
  • And what kind of chutzpah does it take for Republicans to accuse Obama of ignoring science? During the Bush administration, 60% of the EPA staff scientists who responded to a survey reported they had experienced incidents of political interference with their work. These are the same wing-nuts who don’t believe in evolution.

If the Republicans are trying to be ironic by pointing out an example of Obama ignoring science, then they picked a very bad example, since it only points out their own hypocrisy.



  1. starluna wrote:

    Hey, if astrology was good enough for Reagan….

    Monday, July 6, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Permalink
  2. Daniel Habtemariam wrote:

    James Inhofe is a buffoon to all dispassionate, thinking people.

    He’s still living in the 50’s, when the Bible was an authoritative source on everything, when climate science was in its infancy, and when the Abu Ghraib school of prisoner upkeep was a mainstay in Vietnam and Korea.

    Guys like him are the cost we pay for directly electing our senators. Kinda makes me wish they were appointed like in the past. Alan Greenspan, David Souter, Ben Bernanke–there are a lot of smart, reasonable Republicans out there…the only problem is that they don’t get elected.

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 8:02 am | Permalink