I, for One, Welcome Our New Tea Party Overlords

Marshall Ganz, writing today in an LA Times op ed: How Obama lost his voice, and how he can get it back.

During the presidential campaign, Obama inspired the nation not by delivering a poll-driven message but by telling a story that revealed the person within — within him and within us. In his Philadelphia speech on race, we learned of his gift not only for moral uplift but for “public education” in the deepest sense, bringing us to a new understanding of the albatross of racial politics that has burdened us since our founding.

On assuming office, something seemed to go out of the president’s speeches, out of the speaker and, as a result, out of us. Obama was suddenly strangely absent from the public discourse. We found ourselves in the grip of an economic crisis brought on by 40 years of anti-government rhetoric, policy and practices, but we listened in vain for an economic version of the race speech. What had gone wrong? Who was responsible? What could we do to help the president deal with it?

I enjoyed reading Ganz’s piece, and I think there’s a kernel of truth in it. It may be that now that Obama has a Republican House to deal with, something closer to Obama the campaigner of 2008 will be able to emerge. Going back to the Hillary battles, Obama has always been the guy who played chess while the other side was playing checkers, staying two or three moves ahead, and despite the attempts to portray last night as a referendum on his presidency, the real referendum will be held two years from now.

I actually was pretty gratified by last night’s results. The House fell to the Republicans, true, but again, I think that’s probably a good thing in terms of the larger political picture going forward. Let’s stand John Boehner and an actually-having-to-legislate Republican House up alongside Barack Obama, and let the American people decide whose leadership they prefer.

The Senate remained in Democratic hands, not that that makes a whole lot of difference as long as the party out of power is willing to wield the filibuster like the legislative equivalent of a roadside bomb. But it was gratifying to see Tea Party candidates lose Senate races the Republicans could otherwise have won.

Out here in my state and local races, most of the things I was hoping for came to pass: Brown beat Whitman, Boxer beat Fiorina, and Proposition 23 failed. Locally, all the candidates I supported won, so three incumbents were returned to the Carpinteria City Council, and one incumbent and two newcomers were sent to the Carpinteria Valley Water District board, with all the winning candidates being people I supported.

For me, the big issue going forward is climate change. I strongly approve of the new branding rolled out recently by David Roberts: This fight isn’t going to be won by people who describe themselves as environmentalists. It’s going to be won by climate hawks. More specifically, it’s going to be won by people for whom this issue transcends left-right political ideology. It’s going to be won by Democrats and Republicans who recognize that climate change is real, that it is caused by humans, and that the fight against it will be the defining battle of our generation.

How do we get there? How do we get someone like shcb to come to that realization? I think it has to happen gradually, one brave act of intellectual honesty at a time, and with a steady, careful presentation of the facts. I think we need to engage in the struggle of ideas, but engage in a way that acknowledges the basic intelligence and good faith of those on the other side, and that recognizes that both sides have work to do in terms of getting past our petty differences and facing up to the challenge at hand.

Darrell Issa, the presumptive new chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says he wants to put Michael Mann on the witness stand. I say, good. I realize that Congressional hearings are not a court of law, and that Issa will certainly stack the deck any way he can to make his “ClimageGate” charges seem more credible. But this isn’t the time to whine about the tilt of the battlefield. This is the time to strap on the armor, grab the weapons, and get to it. As Mike Roddy put it in a comment on the Dot Earth blog:

Bring it on, baby. I can’t wait to see televised hearings, showing people like Michael Mann and James Hansen pitted against Issa and Inhofe. Even the average American will be able to figure out who actually knows what he’s talking about if this happens.

What he said. Let’s do this.

23 Responses to “I, for One, Welcome Our New Tea Party Overlords”

  1. shcb Says:

    The reason Obama is having trouble leading is because he isn’t a good leader, the reason so many don’t believe Mann is because he isn’t a good scientist. They are both good self promoters though. Obama promoted himself from community organizer to president of the United States; you have to be good to do that. He has all the skills to become a good leader, and may become one someday but the presidency isn’t a place for on the job training.

    Mann did sloppy work to come up with his theory, when the hypothesis he had so effectively promoted started going south he fudged data and obfuscated review, but he is continuing to do what he does best, self promotion. People have seen through these two, it is no more complicated than that.

    Unfortunately I don’t see the Republicans with any better leadership, I hope I am wrong. If none emerges this will be a flash in the pan movement and a short lived gain.

  2. Smith Says:

    Lol at shcb as the self-anointed arbiter of science and leadership. He really does seem to believe that anything he opines is to be automatically taken as fact. What an egotistical ass. And, after all the undeserved importance he places upon himself, he then criticizes others for self-promotion. So much self-importance and yet so little self-awareness. Truly a testament to the powers of self-delusion.

    “Unfortunately I don’t see the Republicans with any better leadership”

    Oh, you mean you don’t think the overgrown Oompa-Loompa will make a good Speaker of the House? Please hurry and respond, we are all waiting with baited breath for you to reshape reality with your opinion. All glory to shcb.

  3. NorthernLite Says:

    Climate Hawks…

    I like it.

  4. shcb Says:

    It’s just my opinion, attack the attacker, not his views or opinions, worked for Clinton.

    I’m not all that impressed with the new presumptive speaker, he seems to be the next in line, nothing more, I hope I’m wrong. Just based on first impressions I do like Rand Paul, but he needs more seasoning before he is ready to go on his own.

    But then I really liked JC Watts early in his career, but after a while it became apparent he was only good with prepared remarks, he flubbed when pressed outside his box, I might be just as wrong about Paul. I could see a little of that deer in the headlights in Paul, but he recovered well, with a little more practice and study he may be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

  5. enkidu Says:

    jbc – Climate Hawks may work over the longer haul, but expect nothing to be done in the US (europe and China seize these emerging market opportunities) while the Rethugs hold the House. Except maybe another $8 billion in nuclear power plant guarantees? mb Obama will strike a deal to cross-license the Indian thorium reactor tech while he is over there. Or we can buy some cheap Chinese pebble bed nukes (I can just imagine how those will work out over the long run…) I think our best hope is the general public is gradually being made aware that we – meaning Humanity – have a Really Big Problem Ahead. Without action, we’ll literally destroy the biosphere as we know it. Sure life will go on if the temp goes up 4˚C, but it’ll be a much changed world, and not for the better.

    Obama campaigned on a lot of things and has done OK on those promises so far. Big disappointments for me are lack of war crimes prosecutions for the w neocon cabal, including w. No closing of gitmo, no laws against rendition/torture (wtf!?) No public option. No ponies and unicorns (yet).

    But we haven’t had another 9/11 and we haven’t invaded the wrong country (tho there is a bunch of ‘invade Iran to save your presidency! jabber from the neocons – are you enjoying the bipartisanship mr president?)

    The Rethugs will impeach him for… oh hell Issa and co will just make something up. He’s already guilty of being black.

    Job numbers are good. We’re having our best year since ’99 in my little company (tho Q2 sucked w the whole ‘zomg! greece is going to uh, um, do something! maybe’

    wwnj – your ‘filter’ is on backwards or missing entirely
    hurf durf sociamalism indeed

  6. knarlyknight Says:

    Yea, Rand Paul has some appeal but I agree he needs about 20 more years of seasoning with a few big chunks of humility stirred into his life experience. (I have beef stew on the slow cooker waiting for me to get home tonight, but I think I just ruined my appetite.) Also, sometimes I forget he’s Ron Paul’s son as he appears much more like his clone.

    shcb, kudos on ignoring Smith’s spears.

    Smith, I think you were pretty much on target but jeez man, take a pill.

    Now, can we get back on topic. Are there any true climate hawks out there in the US federal political arena?

  7. shcb Says:

    Knarly, just for the record I think Smith is right as well, so what if I’m opinionated and have an overinflated ego (confidence?) does that mean I can’t legitimately recognize the trait in someone else?

    I don’t think you are going to find many true climate hawks (I like that term) in politics, at least not at the federal level. By the time a politician gets to that level most are going to be pretty pragmatic. They understand that the public sentiment has drifted away from the at all cost stance of “curing” global warming to a more reasonable level of doing what we can practically, without hurting the economy. Politicians will do what politicians do and that is to not get too far off base with the sentiment of the people. Here in Colorado we have invested so much in wind power with the production costs being very high compared to more traditional methods that Public Service had adds running this year saying the new tiered cost structure wouldn’t affect people if they just watched their usage, which was equivalent to saying just don’t use air conditioning… didn’t go over very well, those cute windmills aren’t so cute now, people are starting to grumble, at some point they will probably have to rethink some of the legislation that has been passed to make the greens happy. Pitchforks are pointy.

  8. knarlyknight Says:

    thanks schb.
    off topic, but relates to earlier posts on other threads,
    Don’t Give This to Your Daughter – Despite What Your Doctor Says Posted By Dr. Mercola | November 05 2010 | 146,807 views

    The Science Speaks for Itself
    CNN Money calls Gardasil’s crash a “design flaw” and faults the economy, puritanical parents, bad press, and Merck itself for contributing to the fallout.

    The article ends with the hypothesis: “Or, maybe people just aren’t ready for a cancer vaccine when it’s for a sexually transmitted disease.”

    I think they’re way off the mark.

    The real reason Gardasil is a flop is that people have become educated about this vaccine.

    They’ve looked at the science and weighed the risks vs. the supposed benefits, and have made a choice not to get it for themselves or their children.

    The word is out: despite what the CDC would have you believe, Gardasil’s safety record is in serious question. As of September 28, 2010, the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) has more than 18,000 Gardasil-related adverse events listed in it, including at least 65 deaths.

    As a vaccine used in the developed world, the science speaks for itself: Gardasil can’t – and never will — replace Pap smears, which are the reason that the incidence of cervical cancer is so low in the United States after decades of including pap smears in routine medical care for women.

    Today, cervical cancer is not even in the top 10 cancers that kill American women every year.

    As a vaccine for children, it doesn’t make sense to vaccinate to try to prevent an infection that is cleared from your body without any negative effects within two years in most healthy persons, and is not transmitted in a school setting like other airborne diseases that are easily transmitted in crowded conditions.

    Gardasil is designed to prevent only two of at least 15 strains of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer in those who do not clear the virus from their body within two years and become chronically infected.

    There is also some evidence that Gardasil-induced immunity may wane after about five years. Pre-licensure clinical trials did not follow young girls or women for decades to find out if the vaccine does, in fact, prevent cervical cancer.

    What went wrong with Gardasil is that this may be a vaccine that set many more health care consumers on a course of self-education that helped them make an informed decision about whether or not to take it – and there are several good reasons why many are deciding NOT to take it.

    Science vs. Politics
    First, the science: Peer-reviewed journal articles widely available on the Internet show that Gardasil is not what it was made out to be in the “one-less” TV commercials that jumped into people’s living rooms a few years ago.

    Consumers now know that:

    Gardasil is NOT a cancer vaccine. It is simply a vaccine for two strains…


  9. NorthernLite Says:


    Sounds like jbc’s call for a unified group of experts is taking shape. They’ve had enough and are ready to start fighting back.

    “We are taking the fight to them because we are … tired of taking the hits. The notion that truth will prevail is not working. The truth has been out there for the past two decades, and nothing has changed.”


    What they said. Let’s do this!

  10. shcb Says:

    Sounds good to me, I would like to know the truth. However statements like “Five independent panels subsequently cleared the researchers involved and validated the science” have to make you realize why we are skeptical, those panels were anything but independent.

    One of the reports I read was almost comical, they said that Jones had indeed lost data, that he did everything he could to stonewall, but that is just how the climate science does things, they’re kind of a secretive bunch so what’s the prob? When I read that I was incredulous! All I could think of was the Mythbusters looking over one of their failed experiments saying “well there’s your problem”. Why do climate scientists get special treatment?

  11. NorthernLite Says:

    Well I’m hoping when these guys start finally speaking up they’ll speak to that. Taking a few emails and parsing them doesn’t negate the decades worth of work these folks have done.

    So now you not only think there’s a worldwide conspiracy by climate scientists to trick us into thinking we’re causing climate change, you also think there’s a conspiracy by the five panels who investigated to hide said trick?

    I know coke heads who are less paranoid than that :)

  12. shcb Says:

    :) well if coke were cheap I would fit that description! I don’t think it is a conspiracy as much as a bunch of likeminded people with a whole lot invested, and they aren’t lying, at least not most of them, they are just being careful of what they say, like a corporation will do if it caught doing something that may not be technically illegal but still not right. Even the Republican led commission that looked into it, don’t remember the name, Mann mentioned it in the piece JBC linked to, they said they sort of accepted his rational for using only a few select trees in a small area but it really wasn’t the way you would expect a scientist do the job. They didn’t make this stuff up out of whole cloth, they just massaged the data a little. Another example, one of the critics noticed a graph on the NASA website that said it was a correction factor, the factor was getting progressively higher as the raw data started to diverge from Mann’s chart, when you took the factor out the chart followed the raw data that followed other sources like UAH. It appears that NASA just assumed that Mann was right since he was the hands down expert so they made their chart look like his, it wasn’t much, just enough to change it from a problem to a crisis. After he published his findings NASA took the factor chart off the website. It’s just little things like that. I just want to know what the reality is, but I think it has become too politicized for that to ever happen.

  13. NorthernLite Says:

    They should have a live debate, with the scientists from both sides going toe to toe. Hold it in Geneva. (although I think the IPCC is pretty much what that is, but whatever, some people need more details) Do you think that would de-politicize it?

    And let’s remember who politicized the issue in the first place… loooooong before these emails ever surfaced.

  14. shcb Says:

    Last statement first, the emails were just corroboration of rumors and little tidbits of evidence that had been floating around for years, I guess one man’s sainted whistle blower is another’s politicization hack. The critique of Mann had been going on since a year or two after he came out with his theory which is going on what 10 or 12 years? So yeah this had been going on long before the emails.

    Toe to toe debate hmm… sounds good, there would be a few geeks like us that would watch at least a little of it (provided I joined this century and got a tivo (sp?) but let’s face it we would mostly just end up regurgitating what we hear or read from our favorite biased sources. Sorry don’t mean to be cynical. If nothing else both sides would be on the record and my side couldn’t say they have been shut out by the journals. We’re looking at spending trillions and trillions here, I think an extensive three month debate should take place, hell, we’ll spend 3 months debating how to spend $100,000 here at my company, I think spending trillions at least deserves that. But not in Geneva, let em duke it out in an abandoned high school in Michigan, in the winter, with nothing but a four stool bar across the street for entertainment, they’ll talk less and get more done that way.

  15. shcb Says:

    Ok, I’m going to do something here in the spirit of fair play. In the Mann article JBC linked to he made the statement that hurricanes have gotten worse, I found a pdf this morning that listed the top 35 hurricanes over the last hundred years or so by how low the barometric pressure got, I found it this morning before I came in to work, I haven’t had the time to make a spread sheet out of it yet, I will try and do that this evening if my grandson’s birthday party doesn’t get in the way and I will tell you if Mann is right or wrong even if he is right.

  16. shcb Says:

    I did a little work on the hurricanes this evening, of the top 35 they are pretty evenly distributed except for the 2004-2005 years, there were 5 in the top 35 those two years; number 19, 30, 3 (Katrina), 15 and 31. This report stops at 2005, the year it was written, but I don’t think we’ve had a really big one since have we? There were a couple in 2007 that didn’t make landfall under full steam but not much else. The one that hit Haiti was only a cat 1, it caused a lot of death, but wasn’t a bad storm. Other than that we get a big storm every 3 to 7 years like clockwork with a few exceptions, 1920 to 1935 were pretty bad too. Mann is full of it.

    This report goes back to 1856

  17. NorthernLite Says:

    You of all people know that you can make charts and graphs say whatever you want them to say but picking specific dates and leaving out certain things.

    You just have to remember that basic science tells us this:

    -CO2 is a greenhouse gas. (I hope we don’t have to debate the Greenhouse Effect)

    -CO2 traps heat in the Earth’s Atmosphere. This causes our planet to warm.

    -Humans are pumping enormous amounts of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

    -There is a direct correlation between the rise in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and the rise of the global average temperature.

    -This is basic, proven science. There is nothing political about what I just stated.

  18. shcb Says:

    No argument there, the argument is to what degree and what can we do about it. Secondarily we need to know who to trust, I’m convinced it isn’t Mann. He is a scientist, he of all people should know that whatever bad things global warming brings in his most dire scenarios, increased severity of hurricanes just hasn’t happened. Rosen asked Dr Grey, one of the world’s foremost experts on hurricanes if global warming was making hurricanes worse, Dr Grey said no in one of those voices reserved for the most ridiculous questions. The sea is just too powerful.

    There were two years, 2004 and 2005 that were particularly nasty, same thing happened around 1900. This just happened to coincide with the climate hawks taking salvos from all sides, they were grasping for anything so they said “look! Global warming is making hurricanes worse!” ok fine, they were demagogues, but at this point it is obvious hurricanes aren’t being effected in any meaningful way and yet Mann not only says, no, writes, that hurricanes ARE worse, not they will get worse but are. He is just a hack like Al Gore and they are hurting your cause.

  19. NorthernLite Says:

    I can agree with you that the whole scorched earth strategy isn’t working, especially for something that people can’t see happening overnight.

  20. NorthernLite Says:

    And remember, there’s crazies on both sides:


    “U.S. Representative John Shimkus, possible future chairman of the Congressional committee that deals with energy and its attendant environmental concerns, believes that climate change should not concern us since God has already promised not to destroy the Earth.”

    Oh boy.

  21. shcb Says:

    It’s always tough to know where that balance is between selling and overselling.

  22. shcb Says:

    Really??? Did God send that as an e-mail or the more traditional US postal service :-)

  23. NorthernLite Says:


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