Al Franken: "90 percent" of Republicans in Congress really believe in climate change
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 6:46 a.m.
By Mike Mullen
Al Franken says Republicans are much more accepting of climate change than they let on.
Congress won't be passing any bills to address man-made climate change. Not this year. Maybe not for a long while. Probably not until the Atlantic Ocean reaches the parking lots of Capitol Hill.
Most people think they know why American elected officials won't lift a finger to address global warming. It's because those darned Republicans in control of the U.S. House and Senate are anti-science.
This accepted wisdom is wrong, according to DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken. After eight years in office, Franken has come to believe that the GOP's denial of a warming planet is less about climate science than political science.
In a new essay in the New York Review of Books, author Michael Tomasky tries to understand how Republican politics, and the presidential field it hatched, has come to tilt so heavily toward the right. Other factors are at play, but one is best explained by Minnesota's junior senator.
Republicans in Washington, D.C., are not afraid of attacks from Democrats, Franken says. They're afraid of other Republicans. Franken says his GOP colleagues won't ever pull the trigger on a vote affirming the existence of climate change because they fear being "primaried" by a single-issue wacko from the right wing.
Do you think they know about the Koch Brothers?
Regardless of qualifications, or other positions, that candidate would have the support of the billionaire Koch Brothers, whose top priority is an absolute refusal to act on global warming in any way that would cut America's fossil fuel use.
Have Republicans in Congress internalized those beliefs? Or are they just faking for C-SPAN's ever-watching eye? Tomasky asks what percentage of the GOP members Franken thinks believe in man-made climate change.
“Oh,” Franken said, “Ninety.” He explained that in committee hearings, for example, witnesses from the Department of Energy come to discuss the department’s renewable energy strategy, “and none of them challenge the need for this stuff.”
If Franken's right, the modern GOP establishment looks less like a bunch of know-nothings, and more like the actual Know Nothings.
Is it staunch conservatism? Or cowardice? Perhaps a little of both. Tomasky quotes former congressman Barney Frank, who once referenced another Minnesotan in a cutting illustration of why Congress doesn't work.
"Half of them are Michele Bachmann," Frank said. "The other half are afraid of losing a primary to Michele Bachmann."