Yesterday, Obama explained in his second inaugural address that failure to respond to the threat of climate change, “Would Betray Our Children And Future Generations.” Politico reports today that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) thinks being against climate action and clean energy is a winning issue.
The NRSC “will press Democratic senators up for reelection next year in red states to distance themselves from President Obama’s promise to tackle climate change.” Politico’s Morning Score — “Your guide to the permanent campaign” — writes:
Votes for cap-and-trade sunk a bunch of House Democrats from coal country in 2010, and GOP leaders think this remains a winning issue in states with major domestic energy industries – including Louisiana, Alaska, Colorado and Montana. Energy is one of several issues, including guns, that Republicans hope Obama will force Democrats in competitive states to take unpopular positions on. “We hope that 2014 Democrats like Mary Landrieu and Max Baucus enjoyed the party circuit in Washington last night,” NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh tells Score, “but given President Obama’s vow to pursue a left-wing environmental agenda that will kill jobs in their states and others, voters deserve to know exactly where their Senators stand.”
We may be in a permanent campaign, but Politico is definitely pushing its permanent rewriting of history. Back in November 2010, Brad Johnson debunked this narrative the first time Politico pushed it (see “Ignoring Evidence, Politico Spins Climate Vote As Electoral Loser“). In fact, Democrats who voted against clean energy were more than three times as likely to lose their seats than those who voted for it:
- 81 percent of Democrats voting for the climate bill won their races.
- 64 percent of Democrats voting against the climate bill lost their seat.
- Of the eight Republicans who voted for the bill, only one was punished by the voters
Indeed, Stanford public opinion expert Jon Krosnick analyzed the 2010 congressional election and found that Democrats taking “green” positions on climate change “won much more often” than those remaining silent.
It is ironic, if not tragic, that the GOP thinks this is a winning issue in states that have already been among the hardest hit by the impact of global warming — and stand to suffer the most if we keep taking no action — Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, and Montana.
And if the 2010 election proved anything, it’s that in Senate races, climate denial is a political loser:
- If Obama Looks to Sen. Bennet (D-CO) for Winning Strategy, He Needs to Make a Major Issue of Global Warming and Clean Energy
- Did Ken Buck’s global warming denial cost the Tea Party favorite a Senate seat?
- After Inhofe’s endorsement, Carly Fiorina challenges climate science.
- Politico on CA Senate debate: “Fiorina’s major stumble came on the issue of Proposition 23.″
Fiorina was crushed by climate hawk Barbara Boxer.
Last year, Stanford’s Krosnick said candidates “may actually enhance turnout as well as attract voters over to their side by discussing climate change.” The only losing strategy for Democrats is running away from the climate and clean energy issue.