House GOP Staffer Resorts To Pseudonym To Call On Party To Admit Climate Change Is Real And Take Action

Someone in the GOP needs to say it: conservation is conservative; climate change is real; and conservatives need to lead on solutions because we have better answers than the other side.”

The good news is that someone in the GOP did say it. The bad news is they had a bag over their head.

RealClearScience ran this must-read piece, “How the GOP Could Win the Climate Debate,” with the following byline: “Eric Bradenson, writing under a pen name to protect his boss and himself, is a conservative staffer on Capitol Hill working for a House Republican. His views are his own.”

One might call this a nom de plume of smoke. Or Profiles in Discourage.

The editors noted, “This article was awarded second place in the “Young Conservative Thought Leaders” contest from the Energy & Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University.” [The first place winner is here.]

The E&EI folks were a tad blunter, “Bradenson is working for a Republican House Member and opted to remain anonymous for job security reasons.” The Tea Party-driven national GOP have become like the Gong Show — and the only people willing to try a standup act are wearing a bag on their head.

Republicans in Congress could quickly reclaim this debate, but I recognize this won’t happen until a critical mass of conservatives in the general public buy in. That’s why conservatives outside of Congress — the ones “with nothing to lose” like Bob Inglis, George Shultz, Art Laffer and Kevin Hassett — are paving the way for Republicans to take the small government, pro-growth conservative stand on climate change. While I hesitate to extrapolate anecdotes to broader trends, I know from my experiences that there are a handful of Republican Members and a larger number of Republican staffers who recognize the problem — for the country, for the party — but don’t know how to solve it

Don’t know? More likely, “do know all too well.” Indeed it is precisely because GOP leaders (and their pollutocrat backers) can’t stomach the solution — government policy aimed at driving down fossil fuel emissions — that they can’t or won’t publicly recognize the problem.

Ironically, traditional Republican opposition to climate change proposals actually improves the chances that a clean, revenue-neutral carbon tax could be signed into law without all the big government add-ons that would otherwise be thrown in by Democrats. If we just come to the table, Republicans can lead on climate change and the American people will be with us.

Yes, well, while I am all for a revenue-neutral carbon tax, most of those “big government add-ons” — support for industries that are big carbon polluters — were put there to help win support from conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans. The latter, for you youngsters out there, are now a largely extinct species, devastated in part by a changing climate, and now rarely seen inside the Washington DC beltway, and even then, only with a bag over their heads.

27 Responses to House GOP Staffer Resorts To Pseudonym To Call On Party To Admit Climate Change Is Real And Take Action

  1. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The use of the ritual incantation ‘..small Government, pro-growth..’, shows that this coward (so much for the USA’s vaunted ‘freedom of expression’)simply does not get it. ‘Small Government’ is Newspeak for rule of the rich, contempt for democracy and the serfs who vote and never, ever, applies to the trillions spent on the military means to terrorise the planet for the very ‘democrazy’ that the Right so abhors. And ‘pro-growth’ is the morality and mentality of the cancer, and the ‘proceeds’ of this growth, brought about by destroying the planet’s habitability, all go to the rich elites that every Reptilican serves with slavish dedication. And if you think ‘coward’ a little too harsh, then think on this. If this creature really understands the dire danger of near term extinction that we face, then his well-paid job as an apparatchik in the Reptilican power structure is, at best, worthless in comparison, and, at worst, a form of complicity in that destructive process. Of course, the USA so closely resembling an authoritarian state these days, he might have real fears of ending up in solitary in some SuperMax hell-hole, on some trumped-up charge.

  2. David Britt says:

    For what it’s worth, I do think this is a courageous move on the part of the staffer. Not everyone can be Bidder 70, but he is taking a nonzero risk and hopefully doing nonzero good.

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    The Republicans are trapped, but we’ve seen them wiggle out of worse situations. When their war hawkishness was discredited by 1969 or so, they somehow pivoted, and it was the war opponents (Church, Fulbright, Morse, McGovern, Gore) who ended up being defeated.

    This time around the Republicans’ addiction to oil money will doom them. Koch, Boyce and friends will never go for a carbon tax. If somehow the Democrats ever wake up and push for it, they will have a powerful issue. A win is there for the taking.

    So far the main person standing in the way is Obama. Carney’s hectoring negativity when the tax was raised by a questioner told us a lot about where the President stands. Maybe Obama’s goal is to avoid conflict, and to keep on good terms with Wall Street and oil. All that has flowed from that stance is any chance at a victory. Such a victory over those who are accelerating climate change would mean a hell of a lot more than tracking down a terrorist in the Middle East.

  4. wili says:

    Well put.

    While it’s kinda nice to know that there is at least one person on the other side with something of a glimmering of a clue as to what the most important issue of our time is, (s)he mostly reminds me of what was once said about Tony Blair:

    “He lacks the courage of his lack of conviction.”

  5. Merrelyn Emery says:

    That the most scientifically, and technologically, advanced country on the planet has gotten itself into this mess is one of the wonders of today’s ever crazier world. There has got to be a simple way to cut through this but where is it? ME

  6. It’s easy. Clandestine green ops working for the hidden kingdom of Futuria are at this very moment developing a guidance system that steers sharknodos to highly valued targets. The next sharknado will “mysteriously” score a direct hit on the 2015 Republican National Convention. Munch!

    (If you think this is far fetched, so is the idea that the Republicans will get their act together in time to help avoid dangerous climate change.)

  7. Sasparilla says:

    You can see how they’ll wiggle out of it here. They’ll announce that “since the science finally agrees” or the “science is finally in” then they’ll want to lead blah, blah, blah and it’ll be a free pass with the public – unless they wait too long (which the Koch’s definitely want to ensure happens).

  8. Sasparilla says:

    You can rest assured the Koch’s and their fellow fossil fuel boosters are working all the political levers they can to find out who this person is and get him fired.

    As pointed out previously – you can see how the Republicans will get out of it (when / if they do) – saying “now that the science is finally in” etc.. however there is a very well built, extraordinarily rich and powerful part of the party that wants to make sure that day never occurs – so this is not a for sure thing, they may delay themselves until they are moved from relevancy by the electorate. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait to see what happens.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Blair requires conviction, alright-at the ICC.

  10. Paul Magnus says:

    “Indeed it is precisely because GOP leaders (and their pollutocrat backers) can’t stomach the solution — government policy aimed at driving down fossil fuel emissions — that they can’t or won’t publicly recognize the problem.”

    Indeed this is similar to why most people ignore the climate topic and action to address it.

    People are not prepared to make the sacrifice, voluntarily, that is required.

  11. Paul Magnus says:

    Indeed it is still not clearly shown what action or restrictions are needed at the personal level.

    If we have to cut our emissions by 80% by 2050 that is giving up a lot of modern day lifestyle conveniences.

  12. Brian Smith says:

    The problem with “Bradenson”‘s good cop/bad cop approach to squeezing a confession of responsibility from fellow Retropublicans is thinking that pandering to the thirst for growth helps make a good case for holding back on the thirst for carbon. Oxymoronic logic at its right wing best.

    “Republicans don’t have to choose between conceding to the left and denying the science. There are genuine pro-growth solutions that align with conservative values.”

    Right. We wouldn’t want to loose face to the democrats, so let’s pretend that growth and a livable climate are compatible. Let’s embrace a carbon tax, but let’s accuse the Dems of scheming to grow government with the proceeds.

    Good intentions I’m sure, but far short of honesty.

  13. Superman1 says:

    Paul, “People are not prepared to make the sacrifice, voluntarily, that is required.” You have crystallized the essence of the problem. All else is supra-verbiosity!

  14. Joe Romm says:

    Of course we can’t solve this through individual CO2 cuts. Duh!

  15. Superman1 says:

    In THEORY, we can. In PRACTICE, given the magnitude of these cuts required in order to avoid the cliff, the motivation is not there. We need global CO2 emissions reductions >20%/yr NOW to stay within the Extremely Dangerous regime of a 2 C ceiling; we are still growing CO2 emissions at ~2-3%/yr.

  16. Superman1 says:

    Paul, it depends on the target you select. If you buy into Hansen’s recent (and not so recent) statements recommending 1 C, there’s no room for any fossil emissions. But, even if you accept the 2 C recommendation by the international community, the recent Swiss paper in Nature combined with Anderson’s analysis require global CO2 emissions reductions of >20%/annum starting now. Forget about 2050; essentially nothing by 2020!

  17. Superman1 says:

    “There has got to be a simple way to cut through this but where is it?” There is, and I have stated it many times, but you refuse to accept it. We have to approach Sustainability asymptotically, the minimal resource footprint life that all other species practice and that we in fact practiced in our early history. That’s what Mother Nature wants, which is opposite to what we have chosen and are still choosing.

  18. Superman1 says:

    “so let’s pretend that growth and a livable climate are compatible.” And, how many politicians of any stripe have you heard say otherwise? If ‘we’ can ever get to the state where we are willing to accept ‘prolonged austerity’ (Anderson’s words) in exchange for a survivable biosphere, then we can make real progress towards a solution.

  19. Paul Klinkman says:

    The energy industry is one of the Republican Party’s largest money taps. The idea of the party standing for anything contrary to massive cash infusions is silly.

    Nevertheless, the party hopes to appeal to morals and to have a consistent moral stand to make its voters happy. Contradiction city. This particular anonymous staffer is voicing what the Republican rank and file are thinking. “Why are we always deserting our morals and losing? Will we ever have any power (which equals money) again in our lifetimes?” It’s not the morals part, it’s the losing part that bothers Mister Anonymous.

  20. SecularAnimist says:

    Paul Magnus wrote: “If we have to cut our emissions by 80% by 2050 that is giving up a lot of modern day lifestyle conveniences.”

    Given that the solar energy that reaches the Earth’s surface in one hour is more than all humanity consumes in a year, and given that 20 days of sunshine provides more energy than is contained in ALL the fossil fuel reserves on Earth, there is no reason that needs to be true.

    The idea that replacing fossil fuels with solar and wind energy means a future of “draconian sacrifice” and energy poverty is nonsense. It’s nothing but dishonest, fear-mongering, alarmist, defeatist fossil fuel corporation propaganda.

    A renewable energy future is one of abundant, clean, sustainable, equitable energy for all.

  21. SecularAnimist says:

    Brian Smith wrote: “let’s pretend that growth and a livable climate are compatible”

    Growth of WHAT? To speak of “growth” without specifying what it is that “grows” is meaningless.

    There are plenty of things whose “growth” is entirely compatible with a livable climate.

    And the growth of some things — like organic agriculture, vegan diets, the availability of safe effective contraceptives, non-carbon renewable energy sources, net-zero-energy buildings, an intelligent distributed electric grid, and efficient public transportation — is essential to rapidly reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that threaten a livable climate.

  22. Ken Barrows says:


    Well, it’s a building a coalition. Of course, the coalition has its head…never mind.

  23. mulp says:

    Yeah, like confrontation and conflict worked so well for Clinton! Why the Federal debt is paid off because Clinton rammed through his budget bill with Republicans chanting opposition, and caused firestorms with the health reform efforts and integrating gays in the military, so that progressives rallied in 1994 and swept massive Democratic majorities into Congress in 1994 so that he was able to totally reform health care in the US, ensure gay rights everywhere, and pass a carbon tax because progressives just need a confrontation and conflict to motivate them to get out the votes for electing overwhelming numbers of Democrats to all legislatures.

    Obama can not make any law. He can try to get something passed in Congress, but the voters in their wisdom have replaced lots of members of Congress in the past decade and the Democrats elected are conservative compared to the 60s Democrats and Republicans, while the Republicans are to the right of Barry Goldwater who was too scary conservative to voters in 1964 Democrats were swept to huge supermajority control of Congress. I bet Barry Goldwater of 1964 would have beat Obama in 2012, and carried enough Republicans to leave Democrats powerless.

    Just heard the news that Australia has reversed the carbon tax they put in place a year ago. Until you can prove by delivering consistent Democratic majorities in the House and Senate on campaigns for higher taxes and more government regulation, Obama ramming something through the Senate in 2009 would mean whatever it was was repealed in February this year by President Romney. And everything else Obama and the Democrats accomplished would be undone by next year just like everything Clinton did to prepare for the boomer retirement by balancing the budget and paying down public held debt by 2010 was undone by 2003.

  24. SecularAnimist says:

    Paul Klinkman wrote: “The energy industry is one of the Republican Party’s largest money taps.”

    Wrong. It’s not the “energy industry” that’s funding the GOP deniers, obstructors and delayers — it’s the FUEL industry.

    One of the most perniciously dishonest propaganda strategies of the fossil fuel corporations is to equate “fuel” with “energy”.

    There is no reason to help them with that.

    In fact one of the most important contributions we can make to the public discourse on this issue is to challenge that “meme” at every opportunity.

    Koch, ExxonMobil et al are the FUEL industry, not the ENERGY industry.

    The true energy industry is solar and wind — industries built on developing and deploying the technology for transforming abundant, limitless, ubiquitous FREE energy into electricity, heat and other useful forms, thereby making the extractive, polluting FUEL industry obsolete.

  25. Timothy Hughbanks says:

    Exactly. Which is why I can’t agree that this idea that the anonymous staffer is”courageous” in any way, shape, or form. A courageous person would ask him/herself ‘why is it, really, that that I have to remain anonymous? Is it possible that there is something fundamentally wrong with my philosophical/political assumptions? Is it possible that the “small government pro-growth” philosophy I cling to is a fantasy? A fantasy that will never come close to fruition in my or anyone else’s lifetime? Is it possible that handing over the control of a society to a wealthy oligarchy will inevitably lead to a society in which dissenters from the party line must remain anonymous?’

  26. Paul Magnus says:

    “willful ignorance.” We both know and don’t know what is going on.

    We Are All Climate Change Deniers

    Almost all of us minimize or normalize our enormous global problems