Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Profiles in Courage

As most everyone knows, Al Gore traveled the nation mostly by private jet to promote his film deploring greenhouse gas emissions by us mere plebians. Comes now this report from WSPD TV in Chicago:

Illinois Senator Barack Obama warns citizens at his 50th Town Hall meeting about gas guzzling. It was among many points made to the standing room only audience at the Metropolis Community Center. Obama spoke on everything from DC politics to global warming. He says part of the blame for the world’s higher temperatures rests on gas guzzling vehicles. Obama says consumers can make the difference by switching to higher mileage hybrids. Today the Senator said, "It would save more energy, do more for the environment and create better world security than all the drilling we could do in Alaska.

The punchline: "After the meeting... Obama left in a GMC Envoy after admitting to favoring SUV’s himself."

Discussions - 17 Comments

Obama is a fraud and we will continue to see evidence of this, though rarely in the NY Times.

I’m glad you linked to the article, there is an editor’s note at the bottom that explains his behavior at least somewhat.

Given what I have seen of how the white middle aged republican american male lives, let me give you an analogy and you tell me what you think.An overweight middle-aged man with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and early stage cirrhosis goes to the doctor’s office where he is told by the doctor, "you had better change your diet and stop drinking or you are going to have even more serious health problems." The man leaves the office and later the same day encounters his doctor at a bar eating a steak and drinking bourbon.

Should the man conclude: A. The doctor doesn’t take his own advice and is therefore a hypcrite, so he should go on drinking and eating things in quantities he has been told he shouldn’t or B. should the man conclude that whether the doctor takes his own advice, it is still good advice meant to save him from premature death?

Why do republicans always seem to resort to ad hominem attacks when they can’t refute the argument itself. Honestly, does the fact that Obama drives a flex fuel SUV mean that global warming is irrelevant? Is that the gist of your post?

Yes, Abbie. Though the right answer is "B" human beings have a tendency to think hypocricy is significant. Is this on any grand Is it funny,...yes. Does it say something about Obama’s character...probably very litte, but worth the laugh.

The Right resorts to ad hominem attacks? Get real! The Left slanders (and libels) anyone who gets in its way...ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black.

As for econuts not practicing what they preach, it’s news...face it. And I think it does say quite a bit about his character. Like most lefty Dims, he wants to lord it over the rest of us without having to walk the walk himself. Every little tin-plated totalitarian knows the drill...ever read Orwell’s Animal Farm?

As do many Republicans, the worst being Newt Gingrich. I wonder, as he stood from his (im)moral bully pulpit chastising Clinton’s sexual activity, whether he went to his mistress the very same night, or perhaps he waited a day for less guilt.

The editor’s note that Abbie refers to was not there at the time I linked to the story. It was obviously added later when Obama’s office was embarrassed.

When I think of self rightous hypocrites who want to lord over people the Christian right is actually what comes first to mind. I agree, dain, that there are those on the left who resort to ad hominem attacks, but on the right people have made a career of it. In fact, I often think it is a deliberate tactic used by people like Hayward to divert attention from the topic (global warming) to is Obama a hypocrite for driving a flex fuel SUV instead of taking public transportation.

Anyone here want to deny global warming? I doubt it (at least no one with a science degree). The debate is really what should we do about it...guys like Hayward (and correct me if I am wrong) are saying we don’t need to do anything, the problem will be corrected by itself if we let the market do its job. I think that approach is utter stupidity. That is the real debate, not Obama’s alleged hypocricy, on this one small issue. (please note: Obama talked about a lot more than the SUV issue...and those topics are arguably more important because I think that on the SUV issue Hayward is right, the market will in fact solve that one...).

Abbie write above. . . guys like Hayward (and correct me if I am wrong) are saying we don’t need to do anything, the problem will be corrected by itself if we let the market do its job.

Yes, I shall correct you. My view is not that we should do nothing or that the market alone will take care of the problem. However, we should apply the Hippocratic Oath to climate policy: First, do no harm. See this, from National Review.

Thanks for directing me to that, I think I understand your point of view better. (As an aside though, footnoting your article would be helpful and gives it more weight.).

In the article you mention an ad hominem attack on Fred Seitz as proof that scientists attack anyone who disagrees with them (when the person doing the disagreeing takes corporate money). Is this the article you are refering to? If so, it seems rather even tempered and well researched -- hardly a drive-by bashing of a little old man. If anything this article says (to me anyway) how much should we listen to scientists (and social scientists) on the payroll of corporate America? Is the outcome of research effected by those who fund it? I think so, given where it seems your funding comes from, I imagine you don’t.

Let me sum up what I think your plan for Global Warming is, other than just letting the market do its work. 1. No energy subsidies, no government regulation of the energy market. (I assume this does not include eliminating the current oiland gas subsidies). 2. Find a way to capture and bury carbon underground. 3. Build big walls around areas that will flood when the ocean rises due to global warming. 4. Reduce the amount of solar radiation by, perhaps, building giant space mirrors to reflect sunlight.

All I can say is wow, that, is some penetrating analysis.

Actually, the debate concerning global warming is about 1) how much anthropogenic sources contribute to whatever warming has occurred, and 2) how to set the balance between environmental preservation and socioeconomic welfare. Perhaps the Right is unwise to stonewall the whole issue, but the Left makes foolish assumptions about 1) ecological change (which is completely normal -- you can’t ’freeze’ ecology, and 2) the cost-benefit trade-off of ’protecting’ the environment (which they don’t even seem to consider).

What you and Hayward seem unable to see, or unwilling to admit, is that if we gamble on the environment and lose its game over. Without the environment there is no economy. Find me the science that says that human activity is not 51% or more responsible for the warming that has occured in the past 100 years -- you won’t, at least not some that wasn’t paid for by the coal industry. (That also gets back to Haywards article about Seitz).

With that said, I agree with both of you that economic collapse to stall or reverse global climate change is also not the preferred option. I guess what I am saying is that prioritizing the economy over the environment is ultimately short sighted and given the history of mankind on this issue (read "a green history of the world") I think our chances are grim. Human nature seems to be far too greedy and self-centered for populations to take the long view. This, I believe, is where govenment and leadership come into play. Of course, given the current make up of Congress and the Executive, leadership and vision seem to be in exceptionally short supply.

Well, Abbie, how about this, or this? The notion that the science is settled is nonsense. Moreover, given recent speculations on "the dimming sun," it is possible that all the particulate matter (i.e., crap) we pump into the air has actually been protecting us from rapid warming (see the recent NOVA special on that one).

I for one would like to see carbon-based fuels gradually phased out...not only for the sake of the environment, but also to "cut the cord" between us and the variety of tin-plated dictators who control the oil supply.

Sorry, I guess I should have specified more. Recent research. In science terms research from 1998 is a bit dated. The other one, from 2000 is a bit more promising. I didn’t give it a complete read, but looked at the "results" section. Again, I may be wrong, but it appears to me that their research is saying human activity is indeed causing the warming (along with other "natural" factors"), but that this warming will be small and perhaps even beneficial. Do I have that right?

I saw the Nova already, I did indeed find that interesting. I agree totally with your last paragraph.

I don’t mean this to be inflamatory, but do you know of any research in the past year or so that agrees with these two studies? And that is in somewhat laymans terms. I am a social scientist, not a natural scientist.

To get back on topic, even if you don’t think his hypocrisy speaks to his character, I’d say Obama’s requested correction does. He’s a liar. According to GMC’s own webpage, the Envoy does not have the Flex Fuel option, so his Envoy can’t run on E85.

Perhaps the news channel misreported the make of his SUV. If you read the Obama reply there is no mention of the make of the vehical in question. Either way, my original contention was that whether he takes his own advice or not, it is still good advice.

You are right, however, to fear him (which is the source I imagine for these types of attacks) since he is a popular politician who has a lot of support.

That’s it Abbie, let’s just assume the facts we need. I’ll say it wasn’t an Envoy, but a Hummer H1, so he’s really burning the old fossil fuels. If the story got the SUV wrong, don’t you think the staff would have sent that correction in as well?

The reason I fear politicians like Obama is precisely because of their hypocrisies. They feel free to control and interfere with our lives, just so long as they are exempt from their own prescriptions for a better world. Since they feel no pain for the gain, anyone who complains is just selfish.

If you don’t like hypocritical one you do like.

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