Romney Mocks Obama’s Pledge To Address Global Warming — As GOP Delegates Laugh At The Whole Notion

The second lamest part of the Republican National Convention — after Clint Eastwood’s incoherent ramble — was this part of Romney’s speech:

President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans — [pauses for audience laughter(!)] — and to heal the planet. MY promise is to help you and your family.

TPM posted this comment which I agree with:

This is obviously meant to portray Obama as grandiose and foolish, making wild promises he can’t keep —- about things that don’t matter to people.

However, it creates an odd distinction, as if the health of the planet and help for one’s family are different altogether and one’s family will do well even if the planet is doing poorly. Meanwhile, this summer, families in Colorado have lost their homes to fire and families through the Midwest have suffered intense heat and farmers’ crops have failed. Belief that global warming is happening has increased.

If the Obama people were to take this comment seriously, not just ignore or dismiss it as a nasty crack, but take it seriously as a policy matter, they really could have a winning issue in some swing states.

IF (see “Polling Expert: Is Obama’s Reluctance to Mention Climate Change Motivated by a False Assumption About Public Opinion?”)

One can mock Obama for not doing enough to keep this important promise, but not for making it in the first place.

Chris Hayes on MSNBC rightly says the audience laughter at the whole notion of fighting sea level rise will some day “be in documentaries as a moment of just ‘what-were-they-thinking’ madness.” Hear! Hear!

This wasn’t a great speech. It was devoid of metaphor and vision.

It was a checklist, as Tom Brokaw said on NBC afterwords — and was marred by Eastwood’s bomb.


63 Responses to Romney Mocks Obama’s Pledge To Address Global Warming — As GOP Delegates Laugh At The Whole Notion

  1. Paul Magnus says:

    It is definitely going to be an interesting year.

  2. Romney finally laid out his vision of the future: an idealized version of the early 1960s, where American interests come first, and the rest of the world must become like us – or else. The consequences are not our concern, as long as we come out on top. Unfortunately, like a ship running full speed through an ice field (and already taking hits), with no rescuers available when disaster strikes, those “on top” will only sink a little later than the rest of us.

  3. Doug Bostrom says:

    The GOP has the same problem as Watts and WUWT: it’s created a loyal following of buffoons and now cannot keep them satisfied without leaving the rest of us mystified.

  4. Gillian King says:

    Yes, poor Clint showed his age and seemed befuddled. But that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the audience. They LOVED him. And that was the point – he was playing to a GOP audience who loved him, not to liberals who *want* to love him.

    Doug’s point seems very apt – extreme positions attract loyal followers but leave everyone else mystified.

  5. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Eastwood made one very definite statement – “we own this country.” From his exclusions it became clear that the ‘we’ is the Republican party. NB, not the representatives of, but the owners of – a stunning admission of contempt for representative democracy, ME

  6. sailrick says:

    The founding fathers, of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason, are rolling over in their graves.

  7. lisa wright says:

    To be sure a Romney presidency (and energy plan) will lift all yachts.

  8. Perseus says:

    This rhetorical technique is a good example of what Joe Romm has written about in his recent book ‘Lauguage Intelligence’. I have just finished reading this book last night.

  9. fj says:

    Give a fool enough rope and he’ll hang himself.

  10. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Not even the Republicans, certainly not the mentally obtunded Tea Party losers (‘Free to Lose!”). No the 0.01%, the rich, like Mr Eastwood-those are and always have been the owners, hence rulers of the USA.

  11. Mark E says:

    There won’t even BE documentaries, if we follow the GOP….. or the current bunch of democrats, for that matter

  12. PAUL DONOHUE says:

    I think Republicans are fundamentalist science deniers because many went to fundamentalist schools set up after desegregation of the public schools. This is especially true of the southerners who dominate the party. Now they all want school vouchers to further divide our country.

  13. ColoradoBob says:

    Meanwhile, in the real world –

    Record Temperatures and Wildfires in Eastern Russia

    Forests and bog land in far eastern Russia have been burning since the beginning of June 2012. Contributing to the record fires have been the record temperatures of this past summer. This summer in Siberia has been one of hottest on record. The average temperature ranged around 93 degrees Fahrenheit and there doesn’t seem to be any break in the weather coming anytime soon.

    The fires in eastern Russia have affected the districts of Krasnoyarsk, Tuva, Irkutsk, Kurgan, and the Republic of Khakassia. Especially hard hit is the city of Tomsk. According to official figures, over 24,000 acres of land had been burnt in Tomsk by early August. The city has been covered by heavy smog for weeks and the airport has been out of operation since the beginning of July.

  14. Chad says:

    “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. MY promise is to help you and your family.”

    As if these are mutually incompatible.

  15. Chad says:

    It must be very idealized indeed, if Romney wants to ignore that the 60s were the height of liberalism, with strong unions, sky-high tax rates, expanding government, and very robust economic growth.

  16. BillD says:

    Here is my comment for political candidates–“As a scientist, I know that human caused climate change is the biggest challenge facing our country, including the current generation, but also our children and grandchildren. How will you provide leadership for our country and the world on this key issue?

    I wish that Obama was doing more, especially in bringing up the issue. However, efforts to regulate CO2 emissions, to raise auto milage and to increase renewable energy are important steps. Although Romney seemed to understand that climate change needed to addressed when he was govenor of MA, his energy platform simply assumes that climate change does not exist, and America can be prosperous by redoubling or extract of oil, natural gas and coal. He also promises to undue efforts toward fuel economy and renewable energy.

  17. Michelle M says:

    When I was a child I remember reading of the madness of Roman emperors at the time of the decline of the Roman Empire. Not all the insane and cruel emperors were unpopular…they did things like pick on minority religious groups, handicapped people, and foreigners. This made them popular among some segments of society. One fed jewels to his horse. They plundered North Africa and turned it into a desert. They killed off hundreds of thousands of animals in their quest for entertainment. They would be today’s Republicans.

  18. Credulity and smugness, driven by a conviction of divinely bestowed specialness. That’s the Republican Party of the 21st Century.

    They’ve designed their platform to take us back to the Gilded Age of the 19th Century. But it will overshoot. We’re going to end up in the Dark Ages of the 14th. You recall that fun-loving era from your high school history lessons. It was also known as the time of the Black Death, when one-third of Europe’s population died within just a few years.

  19. clays says:

    The idea a single man could control the tides or “heal” the planet was what people were laughing at.

  20. Victoria Lamb says:

    Mystified, no. Horrified, yes.

  21. Shelley says:

    Wow, the derision in Romney’s voice when he mocked Obama for saying he would “heal the planet” — This really made me sad. I find it shocking that anyone would vote for a person who treated the important issues of our environment and health of the planet with this derision.

    Yes, I like the comment above — Romney’s policies will probably “raise all yachts”.

  22. Victoria Lamb says:

    @clays: That idea is a product of Romney’s fevered imagination, NOT President Obama’s. Romney has been co-opting and twisting Obama’s words for months. It has served him well. He does not intend to stop.

  23. Ken Barrows says:

    I take Dmitry Orlov’s advice: ignore both parties. Governing a country is quite different from giving silly speeches.

    I know that most people want to be with a winner, but what will a second Obama administration do for climate besides making some energy efficiency pronouncements? A Democratic House and Senate in 2009 and 2010 did nothing for the climate.

    The American problem is cultural, not political. Our recreation is based on using lots of fossil fuels, never mind our food and transportation. This website frequently has articles that bemoan the rise in the price of gasoline. The liberal (and conservative, truth be told) penchant for debt assumes more GDP growth will cover its stench.

    At least a third of Americans don’t buy evolution, so there’s no reason to expect them to agree to limit their lifestyles for climate change.

    We need to think beyond these parties and their desire for more globalization. That desire in itself will ruin the climate unless globalization goes first.

  24. ColoradoBob says:

    WASHINGTON, August 30, 2012 – Global food prices soared by 10 percent in July from a month ago, with maize and soybean reaching all-time peaks due to an unprecedented summer of droughts and high temperatures in both the United States and Eastern Europe, according to the World Bank Group’s latest Food Price Watch report.

  25. Yes. Somebody should ask Mitt “If we ruin our planet what are we going to live on?”

  26. Joe Romm says:

    I don’t think so.

  27. Obama is disappointing on climate change to those of us who understand the gravity of the problem. But don’t fall into the “both parties are the same” trap. Democrats and Republicans differ starkly–starkly–on the issue of climate change. Obama represents 10% of what we need to do. Romney represent 100% of what CANNOT be allowed to happen.

    Romney wins, humanity loses. The choice is stark. That’s the only word for it.

  28. SecularAnimist says:

    Romney said: “MY promise is to help you and your family.”

    What he meant to say is “my promise is to bamboozle you with vapid bumper sticker bromides while I drain the US Treasury into my off-shore bank accounts.”

  29. Eric Seele says:

    Through his callous indifference to global warming, Romney’s valuing American families now above both families of tomorrow and life existing elsewhere is disgusting.

    Because of the Republicans filibustering (or threat to filibuster) in the Senate, unfortunately there might not be much Obama could do about global warming.

  30. Ken Barrows says:

    Not the same, but both are inadequate. That’s why we should dump the two party system, IMO.

  31. Chris Winter says:

    “The only mention of climate in the party’s platform was to mock President Obama for including climate risk in national security planning:”

    “The strategy subordinates our national security interests to environmental, energy and international health issues, and elevates ‘climate change’ to the level of a ‘severe threat’ equivalent to foreign aggression. The word ‘climate,’ in fact, appears in the current President’s strategy more often than Al Qaeda, nuclear proliferation, radial Islam, or weapons of mass destruction. The phrase ‘global war on terror’ does not appear at all and has been purposely avoided and changed by his Administration to “overseas contingency operations.’”

    Yes, God forbid we should have a military that runs on renewable power as much as possible, to minimize long, vulnerable fuel supply lines; a military whose troops won’t run into dengue fever and malaria in more and more theaters of operation, when they have little to no immunity; a military that only has to deal with enemy soldiers, instead of increasingly wild weather and hordes of climate refugees.

    All hail the Republican juggernaut of jejunity!

  32. teuast says:

    It’s really amazing, the amount of cognitive dissonance these guys can handle. If you can recognize that kind of thing, the RNC sounded like Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.”

  33. Angecalie says:

    I know many people who doubt global warming (like my own mother) who are nevertheless concerned about environmental issues. I mean, please, “healing the planet” is hardly a liberal trope. I think it was a mistake for Romney to mock it as such.

  34. Jim Eberle says:

    Yes, nothing will change until people embrace a new paradigm: that the expectation of perpetual economic growth on a finite planet is finished. Peak oil is bringing this about as I write, but a system which can only function successfully when there is “growth” will exploit low grade fuels with pathetic EROEI”s in order to sustain itself, regardless of the carbon footprint. Any solution to climate change REQUIRES that we re-design the system of money lending and create a smaller steady state economy liberated from the requirement of growth. Because of Jevon’s Paradox all other strategies will be futile.

  35. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    As Eastwood rambled and muddled along, the Dunning-Krugerites, senile delinquents and Mad Hatters in the audience simply felt, ‘He’s one of us’. Ronny Raygun was Alzheimic in his second term, which makes ’em love him more.

  36. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Imagine Jefferson running in the primaries!

  37. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The interest. As Greenspan, a central figure in our implosion said, ‘Never underestimate the magic of compound interest’. A man fit to be a follower of Ayn Rand.

  38. Len Conly says:

    Thank you for a wonderful new metaphor.

  39. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    You and your family’ means ‘you’, my fellow 1%ers, and if he had, instead, said, that he would work, ‘For all of us’, -well we all know who ‘us’ are, don’t we?

  40. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Yep, those 4 horses have already bolted and will soon be breeding like rabbits, ME

  41. Mike Roddy says:

    George Carlin on Reagan: “When he announced he had Alzeimer’s, how could they tell?”.

  42. A US president with the right priorities could make all the difference at this juncture. The US is the single biggest impediment to progress on this issue. If we take action, the other big polluters can’t hide behind us anymore, and it becomes a race to see who can innovate fastest. Both the US and the planet would win:

  43. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    A la Dorothy Parker, when informed that Calvin Coolidge had ‘Gone to Glory’- “How can they tell?’. Or ‘How do you tell when a politician lies? His (or her) lips move’.

  44. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I like the picture of the Stormin’ Mormpn, eyes narrowed, pointing out a member of the audience’. ‘That one! I’ll eat that one!’

  45. Bryce says:

    Doug, this morning I was telling a friend that I didn’t understand the Republican Party. With what you said about the buffoons, it’s now making more sense to me.

  46. Bryce says:

    You wish that Obama was doing more. Let’s face it, Congress isn’t helping either.
    Everyone needs to write to every congressman, senator, president, governor, dog catcher and let them know that we are paying attention to global warming and to their sorry excuses for not “leading” the country.
    One person my hat is off to though, is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Check out his web site for the presentation he gave in the Senate in July 2012.

  47. Timarumaps says:

    to paraphrase an old saying – no pain without gain – leave the oil in the soil and the coal in the hole

  48. Gandalph says:

    The Obama people can’t exploit Romney on climate change because
    Obama’s not serious about it either. The Keystone pipeline proceeds, in pieces to keep it under the radar. No prosecutions for the Micando Well. Still pushing mountains into river valleys for a six inch coal seam. Still securing cut rate access to foreign oil, at tremendous taxpayer expense. Same as always.
    It’s a political tar baby and both Businessmen’s Party candidates
    know not to touch climate change with a ten foot pole, and not to do anything real about it after getting elected.I’m voting Green with a clear conscience, and not just because my state is “safe” for Obama.

  49. Bob Geiger says:

    Romney’s line and the audience reaction show what the stakes are in this election. Some commenters have said that the line made them sad. It makes me angry. Romney is disregarding my daughter’s future and the future of the children I have taught for the last 14 years. Obama has not lived up to my hopes when it comes to addressing climate change, but Romney’s line makes it all too clear the importance of the choice we face in November and the urgency with which we need to get to work.

  50. Sean Alan says:

    I think President Obama has been sidestepping any confrontation with global warming because he found the economic crash to be a more immediate concern. He realized that with the Crash their would be little latteral support for Climate Legislation. Now that things are moving a little, he seems ready to address Climate Change seriously in a second term.

  51. Sean Alan says:

    Note, healing the planet has been the rallying cry of progressives for generations now. You can see where the GOP population is coming from. Individuals and senior citizens totally out of step with contemporary politics. I think for the majority this election is again, Obama.

  52. David L. Hagen says:

    Per Charles Hall, ethanol from grain has only 1/3 the Energy Return On Energy Invested that is required for a sustainable economy.
    Converting 42% of US grain to ethanol increased prices ~ 30% to 2011. This year almost half of US grain is going to ethanol – driving up prices for the poor in more than 81 countries. Starving the poor to buy votes for no greenhouse gain is immoral.

    King Canute commanded the waves to stop – to teach his courtiers the limits of his power!

    The projected 0.2 C/decade mean of the IPCC models is 95% hotter than the possible trends of satellite temperatures for the 32 years since 1980. That tells me there is major physics missing or parameters miscalculated etc. Time to restore integrity to climate science.

  53. Theresa S says:

    Very happy to see educated comments RE politics and the environment. Most everything now is politicized to the point of the grotesque. I fear for the future of this nation and planet if the Republicans win. Wasn’t Drill Baby Drill their last Motto?

  54. David Lewis says:

    A clip, “Romney and RNC delegates laugh and celebrate their utter rejection of climate science” is up on Youtube.

    You don’t have to suffer through the entire speech to witness this.

    In the 2012 National Platform adopted at the RNC, the world is told that the fact that the Obama Administration is concerned about climate at all “reflects the extreme elements of its liberal domestic coalition”.

    Obama is attacked for elevating climate change to the level of a national security threat.

    On the GOP Platform homepage if you click on the America’s Natural Resources link you are taken to a version of the Platform that contains a thinly veiled threat to prosecute climate scientists for fraud:

    “We must restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research”.

    Curiously, these words do not appear in the online pdf of the full version of the document.

    There is no special section on climate in the platform, unlike 2008.

    In other sections, it is mentioned that the EPA is to be “prohibited” from doing anything about GHG, and Congress is directed to never adopt “any and all cap and trade legislation”. Other than the attack on Obama for taking climate change as serious, that’s it.

  55. Stephanie L says:

    Very true, and they are the cultural ancestors of the current lot of “leaders”. What a shame that some of the other mighty cultures in the region, who respected the earth as part of their moral laws, didn’t win that battle. We might have a different world.

    A ruler has to have great foresight to be effective. What a tragic shame that ours seem to see no farther than their next quarterly statement.

  56. Stephanie L says:

    I can’t deny that there is something seriously sick with our nation (and humanity, perhaps). Self-interest vs species interest. Self-interest is a necessary but lower impulse, and if we are granted-and grant ourselves-time to evolve God willing we will learn to act in the interests of mankind.

    That being said, if the Republicans with all their superior business schemes haven’t the moral integrity to throw their colossal resources into sustainable energy, I will NEVER, EVER choose them to lead.

    Can’t you see that they are indebted to the companies who have the greatest (short term) interest in sucking ALL the oil out of the earth and selling it?

    OBAMA 2012

  57. Stephanie L says:

    God help us. If so many are against their own survival, and so much money is directed into keeping the fossil fuel industry killing us all, I really don’t see much of a chance.

    I wanted my two precious daughters to be professionals (and then, after that, whatever else they wanted to be). One wants to be a lawyer, another a doctor. The doctor will certainly be useful in the future, but maybe I’d better teach the lawyer to be a hunter-gatherer survivalist and buy plots of land in the extreme north.

    This is probably a sinking ship, unless those concerned come together to make themselves heard and attended to. It will take a great deal of money.

    Where are the horrifically true commercials about our future running on mainstream television?

    How powerful is OUR lobby?

    How can WE counteract the influence of oil money?

    These, and more questions must be answered and fast. The Republicans will NOT come around to sanity until their own houses are burning. I’d prefer not to get to that point!

  58. Richard S. says:

    When I hear him say that, I immediately wondered what the Native American community must have thought.

  59. Larry Gilman says:

    Headine should read, “Romney Mocks Obama’s Empty Pledge To Address Global Warming”.

  60. Joe Romm says:

    It wasnt empty when he made it.

  61. Lynn says:

    I took Romney’s comment as a hard and direct slap against me and all the others striving to mitigate climate change. If it had really be an attack against Obama, then he would have said that he will do something better to address climate change.

    That comment, in conjunction with his sneer about not being able to drive with a windmill on his car (our Chevy Volt is powered by 100% wind-generated electricity), was a clear assault against and mockery of all the Americans who are striving to do their part to MITigate climate change.

    If I had had any inkling to vote for Romney because of his pro-life stance, that was totally dashed by his nasty sneer against me & other Americans. I am now passionately out to see him defeated. He is exceedingly pro-death.