Bobby Jindal Wants GOP To Stop Being Stupid, Thinks It Is Much Better to Pretend to be Stupid to Maintain Power
Remember when Bobby Jindal said Republicans had to “stop being the party of stupid?” Maybe he should take his own advice and stop pretending to be ignorant about climate change, creating stupid energy proposals to reflect such faked ignorance, all so he can retain political power in a state that is both conservative and a huge part of the oil industry, and pursue political power as a member of a party that panders to the reactionary views of the, well, ignorant and stupid. Yesterday Jindal called the Obama administration “science deniers.” The term “science denier” is a loaded one, because it implies that the accused are acting in manners inconsistent with what the evidence shows actions ought to be, essentially inferring that they are irrational and blind to discovered realities. One could certainly make the argument that the Obama adminstration’s actions as it pertains to oil and gas drilling, exports, and the lack of action on investments in renewable energy sources, or taxation of fossil fuel burning is inconsistent with the science of climatology they publicly claim to acknowledge and understand. However, that’s not at all what Jindal is referring to. Rather, he is pulling the latest conservative political trick, which is to call climate science accepting liberals “science deniers,” so a conservative constituent base that erroneously thinks scientists are divided on global warming, or are in on some huge global warming conspiracy, and that some sort of “true science” found by “silenced and censored” researchers exists, will believe he is referring to that “censored science” that doesn’t actually exist. To everyone else, he can say, oh, no, no, I’m not referring to some conspiracy of silenced anti-global warming science when I say Obama “denies science,” rather I am referring to his rejection of “the science of economics” and various studies that show if we ended all the environmental regulations tomorrow and did stuff like built the Keystone pipeline unemployment would go down X% and GDP would grow X%. This strategy allows someone like Jindal to have his cake and eat it too. He gets the crazy conservative global warming conspiracy votes with what the statement appears to say on the surface while technically getting to cite some economic study showing that if oil drilling regulation X was eliminated it would create jobs, and so Obama is a “science denier” for not getting rid of it, or something to that affect.
Of course, the problem is that if Jindal wants to be mainstream-acceptable he has to accept climate science and if you accept climate science you understand that there is more to consider when deciding if you should drill for more oil or something aside from “how many jobs will this add next quarter?” It becomes a complicated balance of managing a successful economy today, transitioning it to the energy sources of tomorrow, and doing it all in a quick enough way to not destroy the future of the world, but not so fast that you destroy the current economy. There are genuine debates to be had about how this should all be done, but those debates can only take place once you accept climate science as one of the facts around the topics you are discussing and debating. So, presumably Jindal would want to confirm his acceptance of climate science, right? But he doesn’t. When he’s asked whether he does, he pulls another one of the latest conservative climate tricks by saying that his position is, “the climate’s always changing.” It’s a technical truth, but really not one that relates to the question. Once again he gets to have his cake and eat it too. He gets to make his crazy constituent base think he’s saying man isn’t causing global warming, while at the same time having the out of telling the mainstream folks that he was just providing a scientific observation that lots of things are always changing the climate. Okay, Bobby, so with the climate always changing and all, in what manner do you think it’s changing right now and why? You’d think he’d be okay with saying it’s warming because of the human burning of fossil fuels, right? Well, he isn’t. Instead he says that he’ll “leave it to the scientists to determine how much (humans are causing global warming) and what that means.” Good for you, Bobby, I’m glad you leave it to them because they say the evidence shows we are damn sure humans are the cause and that results over this next century will be positively devastating to us. Given that you are leaving your opinion to be molded by them, rather than learning the evidence for yourself, you’d think you’d be quite concerned and wanting to move the world away from fossil fuels. Ahh, but you are Governor of Louisiana full of nutty Tea Party folks and lots of oil refineries, export docks, and offshore drilling capacity…whoops.
So, if the “climate’s always changing,” and he’s going to “leave it to the scientists” to tell us how so, because of what, and what that means for our future, what exactly is Obama in “science denial” about? Jindal didn’t really explain that, but he did explain his “energy plan,” which is basically to drill for way more oil and gas, ending all kinds of environmental regulations, and building Keystone XL. Essentially, despite Obama being one of the biggest oil and gas enabling Presidents of all time, even bigger than his predecessor Bush, and in spite of America producing more fossil fuels than ever before, having higher carbon emissions than ever before, and exporting more fossil fuels than ever before, Jindal thinks the science shows that Obama needs to drill more, frack more, export more, and build more pipelines. But what about that whole climate change thing? Well, for that Jindal uses the latest conservative line about “wanting international cooperation,” (which is code for, we burn our fossil fuels to get richer and the rest of the world will somehow magically fix that climate thing, not a true call for any kind of global legislation….I mean can you imagine people like Jindal’s constiuents dealing with anything that deals with the UN?), and when pressed to publicly acknowledge that he accepts climate science he merely says his energy plan (you know the one about more oil, gas, and pipelines with fewer regulations and ignoring clean energy, leaving that to “the international community”) is not here to “litigate” whether manmade climate change is real or not. If one could sound any more like a pussy who understands the science and what must be done, but can’t actually acknowledge the science or take any steps to fix the problem because his power is dependent on the real science deniers voting for him, you’d have to show me, because I doubt a better example exists.
Yet, what Jindal (or at least the caricature Jindal plays in political theater) and other conservatives really think is to be feared when it comes to climate change can be understood through another one of his comments during yesterday’s press conference. If you ever wanted to know why accepting climate science and taking steps to fight it is so hard for conservatives here is why, in the words of Jindal: He warns of it being a “Trojan horse” that the “left” is trying to use. He says, “It’s an excuse for the government to come in and tell us what kind of homes we live in, what kind of cars we drive, what kind of lifestyles we can enjoy. It’s an excuse for some who never liked free-market economies, who never liked rapid economic growth. And we need to guard against those who would hide behind climate change as an excuse to slow down our economy.” That right there is why climate change freaks out conservatives and leads them to evade science acceptance and political action. They fear that it’s a problem that is too good to be true for the anti-capitalist, anti-freedom boogeyman they fear so deep in their hearts. Because it’s a problem that unfettered capitalism and freedom have played a major role in creating and they love capitalism and freedom so much they are afraid that people will use fixing the climate problem as an excuse to attack and attempt to destroy capitalism and freedom.
Of course, the climate change action movement merely wants to fix the climate problem. In fact, as is often pointed out the movement goes out of its way, bending over backwards for free markets, capitalism, freedom, and other associated words that make Ayn Rand lovers teary eyed. People just want to solve the problem, and if solving it means taking a very business-friendly approach to do so, to search high and low for the approach that does the smallest amount of harm to capitalism as is absolutely possible, then that’s what will be done. It’s why I’ve been a part of groups like CCL that advocate for “market based” solutions to the problem; proposals endorsed by the few Republicans that ever publicly took a stand of accepting and fighting climate change (and of course were promptly voted out of office in GOP primaries). Much like the healthcare debate where people were happy to go with the “market solution” of the 1990’s, rather than things like public option or single payer (which is now of course the vilified Obamacare, that evil communist law our Muslim Black Panther President signed that most center-left people like me hate for being too far right), people that care about the future of our world will advocate for less effective, but still substantive “market solutions” to climate. But the mere fact that it’s a problem perpetuated in large part by unregulated business freedom, with the quickest and most significant potential gains lying over on the collectivist end of the spectrum has conservatives shitting themselves, because unlike healthcare, it’s an issue that will affect everyone all the time, not just when they get sick.
To be afraid to acknowledge climate science is sound and go after the best solutions (which aren’t what big business would be happiest with) because you are afraid people who hate capitalism and freedom are using it as an excuse to destroy them, would be analogous to saying the national debt isn’t a problem and the best solutions to it aren’t to be considered because people who hate government are just going to use the debt as an excuse to destroy and attack government. That would be silly. Bobby Jindal is more than silly, he’s more than stupid. What he is is something much worse: a man pretending to be stupid because he’s afraid acknowledging reality will destroy something he loves.