Caught in the spin

The Washington Post covers Al Gore’s trip back to Capitol Hill:

In both hearings, Gore took criticism from Republican lawmakers. The toughest sparring was with Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), who has said he believes that climate change is a hoax.

Inhofe, during the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, criticized Gore for using too much energy in his Tennessee home, and he also listed a number of scientists who he said had broken with Gore about the reality — or the danger — of rising temperatures.

“Are they all wrong, and you’re right?” he asked.

Sen. James Inhofe (Republican-Oklahoma)Inhofe is such a peculiar character. Most of the time, the role of the right-wing spin machine in the U.S. seems to be to set the context for the actual debates among politicians and their eventual votes, while Republican congresspeople and senators back away from the most extreme positions advanced by the talk-radio set and vote from something just a little more moderate after having been given appropriate cover. Inhofe talks as though the spin machine has fed him his lines directly, and often a little late.

The question of Gore’s electricity use is a fair one, given that he’s calling for the U.S. to show moral leadership partly through personal lifestyle changes, but the kerfuffle over the Gores’ mansion’s power use settled abruptly after Gore explained that they’d installed some green generating capacity themselves, bought offset credits, and signed up for a green-power service — in short, done more or less everything he’s asking others to do with regard to their own consumption. But here’s Inhofe throwing it out again.

Ditto the idea that half a dozen scientists over here are at least as trustworthy as a legion of climate specialists over there who say something Inhofe disagrees with. A few weeks ago, he was going after the Weather Channel for its liberal lies over its reporting on actual observable evidence of climate change.

It’s one thing for politicians to spin, but it’s alarming when they rely themselves on spin that’s already been debunked.


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