Tim Pawlenty: “Every one of us” running for president has flip-flopped on climate change

Tim Pawlenty argued Monday that his past support for cap-and-trade legislation shouldn’t hinder his presidential bid because nearly all the other Republican White House hopefuls also took the same position.

Yes, GOP contenders are now vying to see who can bend over backwards furthest to please the pro-pollution, anti-science Tea Party extremists (See “Gingrich’s 20 years of global warming flip-flops“).  So Pawlenty shrewdly says he should get a pass for flip-flopping because everybody who wants to be President has abandoned science!
Think Progress has more (including audio of TPaw):

As he competes for the Republican nomination for president, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) will have to reconcile why he was for cap-and-trade before he was against it. On her radio show yesterday, host Laura Ingraham asked Pawlenty about this flip-flop, playing an ad Pawlenty made in 2008 supporting cap-and-trade legislation with then-Arizona governor Janet Napolitano. Pawlenty called his past belief in the science of climate change “stupid” and a “clunker,” and noted that he is not alone in flip-flopping on global warming among the 2012 GOP field:

PAWLENTY: Well, anybody who’s going to run for this office who’s been in an executive position, or may run, has got some clunkers in their record. Laura, mine I think are fewer and less severe than most. As to climate change, or more specifically cap-and-trade, I’ve just come out and admitted it “” look, it was a mistake, it was stupid. […]

Everybody in the race, well at least the big names in the race, embraced climate change or cap-and-trade at one point or another. Every one of us.

Indeed, from Pawlenty to Mitt Romney to Newt Gingrich to Mike Huckabee to Mitch Daniles to Sarah Palin, many of the leading contenders for the 2012 presidential nomination have reversed themselves on climate change to pander to their hard-right base over the past few years.

Pawlenty seems to be candidly acknowledging the weakness of the entire GOP field, implying that they’re all lacking credibility but that he’s the least bad because his “clunkers” are “fewer and less severe” than those of the rest.

I can hardly wait for the first GOP presidential debate where all the contenders do to raise their hand and say they don’t believe in human caused global warming.

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16 Responses to Tim Pawlenty: “Every one of us” running for president has flip-flopped on climate change

  1. New bumper sticker:
    Pawlenty, Less Stupid Than Gingrich or Trump

  2. Zetetic says:

    I’m waiting for a few more elections from now when the GOP candidates start denying heliocentrism, maybe denying a round Earth can happen shortly after that?

    Maybe they can also deny the “Germ Theory of Disease” to justify cutting sanitation as a “budget cut” to spend more on the military and giving out more subsides and tax breaks for fossil fuel companies? [/sarc]

  3. Barry says:

    Pawlenty: accepting 95%-robust scientific consensus on something is “stupid” if you want to lead the most powerful nation on earth.

    How deep do the GOP want to dig their own pit of shame and destruction.

    I find it hard to believe their strategists really think the physics of climate disruption will magically change to bail them out. But as they keep digging faster and harder into the pit of unreality it seems that is the only exit strategy they have left to hope for. Totally self-inflicted GOP end-game.

  4. Dana says:

    I still remember back in 2004, Bush’s favorite argument against Kerry was that he was a “flip flopper”. Now any reasonable Republican has to flip flop on most issues to appeal to the Tea Party.

    GOP slogan: Extremist science deniers only, no reasonable candidates allowed!

  5. climate undergrad says:

    Typo in the last sentence!

    This is really getting silly… I just hope (PRAY) that there are moderate republicans out there who understand that there is a “reason” that one SHOULD see climate change as a real and serious risk.

    Namely, the statements from these folk;

    US Science Institutions:

    National Academy of Science, National and Oceanic Administration, American Meteorological Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Research Council, Federal Climate Change Science Program, American Geophysical Union, Geological Society of America, American Chemical Society, American Association of State Climatologists, US Geological Survey, National Center for Atmospheric Research, NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, American Institute of Physics, American Astronomical Society.

    Foreign Science Institutions:

    Academies of science of; China, UK, France, Russia, Canada, Brazil, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Mexico, Sweden, Ireland, Malaysia

  6. Jeff Huggins says:

    That is striking. The ad and the audio of the interview are great.

    If the mainstream media are worth anything any more, they should cover — clearly and repeatedly — these sorts of admissions and the fact that all of the GOP leaders have flip-flopped on this, even as the scientific community says global warming is real.

    Also, it should be the job of the media to get to the actual bottom of this: At the end, what TP says implies that he has changed his mind on Cap and Trade, but his comment leaves unclear whether he agrees with the scientists that global warming itself is real, is problematic, and is primarily caused by human activities. The media should find out, clearly, where he (and the others) stands so that he can’t imply one thing to one audience and something different to another. Did he just change his mind regarding the policy (Cap and Trade) or did he also change his mind on whether he agrees that global warming is real?



  7. Mike says:

    (2nd attempt)

    “I can hardly wait for the first GOP presidential debate where all the contenders do to raise their hand and say they don’t believe in human caused global warming.”

    Or maybe: Raise your hand if you are too cowardly to stand up to the extremists in your party and acknowledge, as you used to, the reality and seriousness of human caused climate change as has been explained repeatedly by the nation’s leading scientific bodies.

    Climate cowards.

  8. Mike says:

    @climate undergrad

    Check out:

  9. paulm says:

    The media should be ruthless with these idiots.

    The MSM really has a lot to account for.

    They have let down humanity.

  10. BBHY says:

    It’s going to be really funny when Washington DC breaks 110 F in the summer and they all get to flip back to saying they stood for fighting climate change from the beginning. Might even happen this year, who knows!

  11. paulm says:

    All this peacock prancing about CO2 emissions and adaptation to a warming world is naught probably by the time we get to 2015 as I am sure we will be reling from massive extreme event to event.

    There is going to be all hands on deck action by then.

  12. Mike says:

    (3rd attempt)


    Be careful of making such specific projections. Global climate change is real but there is great deal of year-to-year uncertainty. As Hansen said, it is a good bet the next decade will be warmer than the last. But there likely will still be fluctuations large enough to cause some cool years ahead.

  13. Joan Savage says:

    We can expect to see continued re-framing of extreme events as “natural,” as a sop to the corporate sponsors.

    Permafrost melt in Alaska didn’t alter the position of Sarah Palin, and the upticks in average Minnesota temperature apparently didn’t prompt Pawlenty to move to protect his state’s agriculture.

    I foresee re-use of the evasive phrase, “Now is not the time,” that emerged so frequently in politician-speak about improved nuclear safety.
    (Thanks to the Colbert Report’s accumulation of video clips.)

    As for what evidence could possibly alter a politician’s position, it’s usually votes or campaign contributions, not science. Even a new temperature record in Washington DC, would be unlikely to affect that. DC has no representation in Congress! The DC record was 106F (41C) on July 20, 1930, at the beginning of the Dust Bowl years.

    Now, high temperatures like the 1930s that can buckle rails on the railroads and severely reduce crop productivity, those might lead to shifts in policy. Here’s a link to a piece on heat-related rail problems in Iowa in 2009.

    I’m guessing the petroleum engineers have figured out what to do if a pipeline heats up to 112F, but who knows.

  14. Zetetic says:

    @ BBHY #10:
    Nope. As long as the there aren’t enough people voting against them to keep them out of power, the politicos will just stay in their nice air-conditioned buildings and limos and ignore the heat. If people start to protest about it they’ll just have fire-hoses turned on the “little-people” marching in the streets in order to help them “cool off”.

  15. Chris Winter says:

    Pawlenty’s statement reminds me of speeches Tom Peters gave after In Search of Excellence came out. (This was quite some time ago.) Peters blistered some corporate executive for defending his company by saying what amounted to, “We’re no worse than anybody else!”

  16. Ric Merritt says:

    Well, plus 10 points to Pawlenty for honesty (giving him the benefit of the doubt, and assuming both of the contradictory opinions were sincerely held at the time.)

    Of course, balance that with minus 10 trillion points for idiocy and cowardice (refusal to fact the obvious).