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A few words from a real climate change skeptic

Truth be known, I don’t know if John Cook is a real skeptic or not – or rather, to what degree and in what situations he is a skeptic. I follow his blog on Google Reader, but my schedule has allowed me very little time for reading since I subscribed to him. So, I don’t know much about him. Yet, he advertises himself as “Skeptical Scientist”. Redundant as that may be, I suspect it is the case, and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now. The post I link does not portray any particular failing in the skepticism department.

The reason I say he is a “real” climate change skeptic is because I think that the term “skeptic” should be reserved for people who apply a skeptical view methodically and with the purpose of increasing knowledge. I think that this its greatest value. Most people who are suspicious of climate change are not suspicious for reasons of rigorous skepticism.

Some, and I think this includes my dear Buck… and maybe RW… are skeptical in the sense of “I don’t know what to think. Too many claims and counterclaims, and I just can’t keep track of them.” This is commendable, and a good example of folk skepticism. The truth is that the world is too big & complex for each person to establish for him or her self, with reasonable certainty, the truth of a lot of issues – including a lot of important ones. This type of skepticism is a hedge against wrong belief, and it makes sense for people who find it important to avoid poorly justified beliefs. In other words, it often seems more valuable to have a few true and well justified beliefs along with very few wrong beliefs than to have many true but poorly justified beliefs along with very many wrong ones.

I am a folk skeptic myself, but feel I have been able to navigate the claims and counterclaims of climate science and and have justified for myself a belief in the general conclusions of the vast majority of scientists who study climate.

I don’t think that folk skepticism should designate one a “skeptic” where it concerns climate change. This skepticism is a passive one, a choice for agnosticism on one issue in favor of spending the energy of unraveling questions for another group of tasks. It is not the active skepticism that does take the time to truly analyze the claims and require justification of them. I would rather style this type of folk skeptic who does not accept climate change science “agnostic.”

Some people who are suspicious of climate change (and I think this includes many political operatives) are suspicious because they are incapable of thinking of any issue except in terms of partisan advantage and gamesmanship – or at least in terms of partisan trust. This is not skepticism in any positive sense of the word. So, I don’t think the term should be applied to the bloggers, media personalities and political think-tanks that try to undermine popular understanding of climate science. I have a similar view toward those who are active in the climate science debate in order to preserve an economic interest in a polluting industry.

There are a few are old-guard climate researchers who are just tough to budge when it comes to a new result, especially one they didn’t see coming. Perhaps these individuals include real, rigorous, scientific skeptics. The modern-day classic example of a skeptic of this sort – from another field – is that of Alan Feduccia. While folks like Dr. Feduccia deserve respect for their contributions to science, and deserve to have their view heard in the academic debate, they are extremely few in number where it comes to birds and dinosaurs (for instance) or climate science. So, while I count them among climate change “skeptics”, I count them as a trifling minority thereof.

I think that most people who are suspicious of climate change are victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect, perhaps combined with a political or religious bias. This is based on observation. In my younger days, I trolled the halls of internet Creationism, and I there observed two things in great quantity – 1) large numbers of internet Creationists are victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect (almost always in tandem with religious bias), and 2) self-styled climate change skeptics on the internet today exist in large numbers and exhibit behavior very similar to that of internet Creationists (and not a few of them are Creationists). And, by the way – that link is the one that goes to the “real climate change skeptic”.

Skepticism is a key element in science. This is so much the case that I don’t believe science would be possible without it. So the real champions of scientific skepticism are the scientists themselves. It is climate scientists: both the large majority who accept AGW and the vanishingly small minority who reject it or hedge their acceptance dramatically, who have truly earned the term “climate change skeptic”.

I also think there is room for us folk skeptics in the mix. Folk skeptics, relying largely on the efforts of scientists, who go to an effort of critical justification for their views on climate science, might also deserve a junior badge of “climate change skeptic”.

I say all of this, and deny the term “skeptic” to the majority of disbelievers of climate change – to preserve the integrity of the word “skeptic”. The rest should be designated as worthy agnostics or as pestilent contrarians, depending on their respective beliefs and activities.

36 comments to A few words from a real climate change skeptic

  • As for me I am glad to defer to the judgement and reasoning of folks who study this stuff and are the real experts. What I have had to do is work on keeping the tin foil hat off of my head and seeing the debate as being some kind of communist plot. I am not smart enough to be labeled a skeptic but I want to avoid being just a pestilent contrarian.

    I am slowly learning that the best thing for me to do is keep my mind open and my mouth shut when it comes to almost every issue be it health care reform or global warming.

  • oh and by the way, I love the Hitler youtube parody over there under the eye boogers.

  • I saw it and immediately thought of you. As to the other, I don’t make judgments about how smart anyone is, but you clearly have habits of thought that fall into the category I’m calling “folk-skeptic”, but maybe agnostic on climate change.

  • jlue

    Some people who are suspicious of climate change (and I think this includes many political operatives) are suspicious because they are incapable of thinking of any issue except in terms of partisan advantage and gamesmanship – or at least in terms of partisan trust.

    Often this describes those of us over 50. Have you ever wondered why the seniors in society are most skeptical of government, especially big government? Do you chalk it up to dementia or do you think it might be experience and wisdom?

    Did you ever wonder why the use of “global warming” was dropped and the term “climate change” inserted?

    How does this aline with what was being said a few years ago?

    Should all recent events be ignored for the sake of not changing a scientific prediction?

    Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

    And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

    Have you read what Ann Althouse (Is that Outhouse?) had to say?

    Everyone should perceive flaws! To talk about “sceptics” as the ones who will “seize” upon “evidence” of flaws is unwittingly to make global warming into a matter of religion and not science. It’s not the skeptics who look bad. “Seize” sounds willful, but science should motivate us to grab at evidence. It’s the nonskeptics who look bad. It’s not science to be a true believer who wants to ignore new evidence. It’s not science to support a man who has the job of being a scientist but doesn’t adhere to the methods of science.

    I think we need a few more ‘skeptical’ scientist.

  • I think we need a few more ‘skeptical’ scientist.

    Me, too. Then you’ll get a few less like Ann Althouse, talking out of her depth. While hers is probably a case of hyper-partisanship, she seems also to have a little of D-K syndrome going on here, too. I think she believes the rules of political discourse should apply to scientific debate. That is the only explanation I can find for the way she plays with words to make her case, instead of relying on data.

  • I am beginning to believe that experience and wisdom leads to dementia.

  • I know in my case it has.

  • jlue

    I see an opposite phenomenon going on here. Many scientist have begun to inject the rules of political discourse into scientific debate.

    I think Al Gore first exhibited D-K syndrome. Maybe it had something to do with his notion that he invented the internet.

  • Al Gore, if indeed he is guilty of what you said, and Ann Althouse (for whom we have concrete evidence of guilt in this very thread), are neither one scientists.

  • I didn’t know political discourse had any rules.

    Kind of like a knife fight.

  • jlue

    Do you have to be a scientist to be “victims” of Dunning-Kruger effect?

  • Generally speaking, it is the amateur set that is susceptible to D-K.

  • He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool. Shun him.

    He who knows not, and knows that he knows not is simple. Teach him.

    He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep. Wake him.

    He who knows, and knows that he knows is wise. Follow him.

    Or something like that…

  • RW

    The problem is that this news, if instead of being welcomed as a means to clear up the errors that were called “science” is, instead, used as (yet another) nail with which to hammer and blame ‘deniers’, it represents yet another example of how this issue is political amongst too many.

    Let’s see all the data, every iota, and then move forward. I mean, the ’cause’ is circling the drain (do they know that? Or are they still interested in personal attacks & attempting to smear those who disagree? The tactics that bring readers to LGF don’t work in the real world), so it’s not as if there is another avenue they should undertake.

    BTW, anecdotal: it’s been MUCH COLDER in my area than I can ever recall. I know that this year I used 50% more energy to heat my house than ever before, despite lowering the temps on my heater. Sorry, folks, the “hot weather makes water stay in the atmosphere, causing more snow” stuff only works among the fellow choir members. It’s COLDER in Bartow county, GA. My wallet is taking a freaking pounding every time I pay Georgia Power for all this global warming (now, climate change, but it’s still supposedly getting warmer….I just need to stop paying attention to the weather & instead rely on the climate!)

    Again, anecdotal. But, please, don’t tell me it’s getting warmer (because some satellite says it is around the Arabian peninsula) when it’s getting colder.

  • RW, I feel your pain. I wish scientists would announce that they have discovered an imminent trend of Bartow & Hamilton County warming. Unfortunately, the warming is a global average and is most severe at the poles.

    As to “all the data, every iota”… just about all of it is in the public domain, and the rest is available in published journals. Real Climate has assembled a page linking to sources for a good portion of it, though I’m not sure what the point is. Most of the people who know how to interpret it don’t need a web-site to help them find it. In any case, you can find quite a bit of the relevant source data from this page.

  • RW

    Were that to be the case, the folks who were caught e-mailing each other as they discussed their refusals to adhere to their country’s FOIA requests wouldn’t have been an issue. And the guy who invented the “hockey stick” graph wouldn’t have had to say that he had trouble with his, ahem, record keeping, after years of requests to share his data came up empty.

    Aside: Didn’t stop his work from being hailed & published, though, did it? If only his work were to have been given as much investigation as, say, James O’Keefe & Hannah Giles (“but they have bad motives!”)

    “Data” includes methodology. BTW, this has long been a red flag, pun intended, since “settled science” wouldn’t have scientists keeping their data private or only co-mingling with the echo chamber. When everything is out in the open and when you don’t have one side trying to silence the other (looking in Mr. Gore’s direction), folks like me will be willing to listen more intently to the pushers of AGW.

    Or, in short, getting it back to a research/data-driven issue instead of a political policy w/a near-religious bent, would be a good thing.

  • The core of it (obscured as it may be from public view) has always been a research/data-driven thing. That’s the science. And the science, like all science, has come with some minor screw-ups, some occasional weirdness, and even the occasional unscrupulous character. These screw-ups may or may not have been somewhat exacerbated by the rancorous political attacks that have come against the science, but that’s as it may be.

    Then there are the policy implications of the science. Those are political. You can’t avoid that. You can’t discover that lead in paint is connected to mental retardation without having a discussion about the political implications. Fair & good.

    The major screw up, the one that dwarfs the minor scientific screw-ups the way Schwarzenneger dwarfs DeVito, has been the politicization of the science – i.e., not just addressing the political implications of the science, but directing political attacks against the science itself. That’s where things get real stupid, real fast.

  • btw – that page has some resources on models & methods as well as raw, processed & analyzed data, but the methods are generally published in technical journals rather than in compiled data pages on the internet.

  • pps, I didn’t make clear – I don’t mean legitimate scientific debate within the academic arena. Most of the interesting debate of that nature has already taken place – there are vanishingly few scientists still interested in debating the large points, and those who are rarely have anything new to debate on those large points. The smaller points are rarely interesting. But internal scientific debate over the data & methods is fair game. That isn’t what I am talking about when I am lambasting the political attacks on the science.

  • RW

    These screw-ups may or may not have been somewhat exacerbated by the rancorous political attacks that have come against the science, but that’s as it may be.

    See, even when they screw up, it’s all those denying crationist teabaggers’ fault. Don’t they know the debate is over? And besides, they’re attacking SCIENCE* & not the conclusions or methodology.

    * is that some new catch-phrase?

  • They screw up like all scientists. But, yeah… when your work is under a political assault of the proportions climate science has endured, you’re likely to have more of it.

    Attacking the conclusions and methodology – yeah. ‘I’m not attacking “Teaching”! I’m attacking the process of helping students learn!’ It amounts to the same thing whether you say that they are attacking the science or attacking the “methods & conclusions” of the science.

    All well & good when done by scientists who understand the problems and are trying to advance the state of the art. That’s the real debate. Not so hot when done by political operators to try to achieve a political result.

    Some more good info about the data & its integrity:
    here

    Yes, “climate-gate” got the attention of some scientists who had some concerns over it. But I don’t think you can find a one that looked into it and found troubles with the integrity of the data that would call into question the big issues. Climate scientists have analyzed the data, talked about Climategate & all of the other issues or quasi-issues out there, and are still saying the same things they’ve always been saying.

    So the idea that Climate-gate calls into question the validity of the science is a political idea, put into the news and blogosphere by political players.

    *I don’t know if it’s a catch phrase. It’s my words, but I’d be surprised if other people hadn’t used the same expressions.

  • RW

    when you’re work is under a political assault of the proportions climate science has endured, you’re likely to have more of it.

    First off, I can think of no group of people, save for the 2008 Obama campaign, that have been propped up more than the people who work for the IPCC & who published their findings (some of which, we now know, were unfounded). Remember, anyone who dared disagree with them – ANYONE ON THE PLANET – has either been called a denier or has been told that the science is settled. Their chief spokesperson was given a Nobel Peace prize for a freaking powerpoint presentation that had nothing to do with peace. My children were treated with harsher handlaying when they were taken from the womb.

    Second, if someone going on O’Reilly or writing an op-ed (that’s the only places where it’s allowed to disagree within the MSM) affects your scientific work, you’re not much of a scientist. A lot of people on all sides, mostly those named Palin, can complain about being pilloried unnecessarily. Not AGW scientists. Chipper Jones was less hyped in the mid-90′s than AGW scientists in their entire careers.

    This issue revolves almost, though not entirely, on numbers. Even suggesting that someone complaining on the outside would have affected the results of numerical calculations and/or models tells me something that until this moment I hadn’t considered: I’m less inclined to accept it.

    And, as Austin Powers would say, I’m spent.

  • Even suggesting that someone complaining on the outside would have affected the results of numerical calculations and/or models tells me something that until this moment I hadn’t considered

    Hmmm… that wasn’t what I had in mind… I had more in mind “trying to dodge FOIA request” type screw-ups. But yeah… if you want your scientists to not be affected in their work – including the number crunching part – by a climate of stress (pardon the pun), then you don’t want human scientists. You want robots or something.

    I’ll agree that climate science has gotten a lot of fair or even good press, but I hope you’ll also agree that they’ve been disparaged unfairly and called every name in the book by the other side of the press machine, in op-eds, on TV and radio, and from Senate seats for the last 3-5 years.

  • jlue

    Am I right or wrong – scientist publish their sources, give all the data surrounding their findings, explain their techniques, experiments (including locations and tools used), and give reasons for the use of each one. They give the variables and they do not attempt to influence the outcome. They also do not attempt to hide information or to squelch other scientist. A true scientist is confident with his research, but is willing to listen to other scientist who may be critical of the method used without becoming emotionally involved.

    They then leave the politics to someone else entirely.

    Here is what one group of scientist and laymen have put on the web:

    Friends of Science is a non-profit organization run by dedicated volunteers comprised mainly of active and retired earth and atmospheric scientists, engineers, and other professionals. We have assembled a Scientific Advisory Board of esteemed climate scientists from around the world to offer a critical mass of current science on global climate and climate change to policy makers, as well as any other interested parties. We also do extensive literature research on these scientific subjects. Concerned about the abuse of science displayed in the politically inspired Kyoto protocol, we offer critical evidence that challenges the premises of Kyoto and present alternative causes of climate change.

    Here is their web-site.
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/index.php?id=225

  • since you ask, your statement, beginning with “scientist publish …” and ending with “… hide information or squelch other scientist.” is a fair assessment of what is expected of scientists, though none are perfect and live up to this entirely. No, not all scientists are confident of their research, and no, most scientific debate isn’t entirely emotionally detached. Scientists aren’t like Spock from star trek, and they know it. That’s why the data & method have the final word no matter how emotionally heated the debate can become.

    There are a variety of views about how involved in political advocacy or public education scientists should be, and there is no formal set of rules for how scientists should conduct themselves in the public eye.

    When *I* say that internal scientific debate is fair and good, but that political attacks on science are out of bounds, I am not appealing to The Hoyle Rules of Science book. I’m appealing to the intellect & sensibilities of others who I think should see the value in that.

    Now. About “Friends of Science”. Here’s what I get from what you quoted from their website:

    1) “…comprised mainly of active and retired earth and atmospheric scientists, engineers, and other professionals.”

    They would deserve more attention if they were comprised exclusively of earth and atmospheric scientists, mainly active ones who were experts in the field of climatology. “Engineers and other professionals” are no more credible on the subject than you or I, and retired climatologists are… retired. They may still understand the subject but “retirement” indicates that they have not been taking a professional interest in it and keeping up with the developments in the field.

    2) How many is a “critical mass” of esteemed climate scientists from around the world? And who are they? In what regard and how well are they “esteemed” (i.e. are they well known for producing good work in the area of climate science?) What is their relationship to your organization? To what degree does each of them concur with your positions as an organization?

    3) (This one is the real sticker) “we offer critical evidence…”
    To whom? Ok, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt & say they are discussing this “critical evidence” with the right people – that is with other climatologists. This is all well & good. That’s what scientific debate is all about – and as I mentioned, there are only a few climatologists making any grandiose claims that call into question the state of the art of climate science right now, and virtually no new arguments of this sort that haven’t already been debated within climate circles. But such as they are, they are welcome to debate whatever old or new points they wish within the scientific community.

    And, the first amendment says they also have a right to present their side of the argument, or their “critical evidence” to an uncritical public who is completely unequipped to evaluate their claims or their evidence, to know what claims and evidence have already been discussed among climatologists, and why climate scientists are generally unmoved by this evidence.

    I understand the feelings of a scientist who holds a minority or outdated view and is frustrated that he has lost or cannot gain acceptance for it among his peers. I understand the temptation to bypass the academic debate and to try to convince a friendlier if less critical audience. But if I were in that position myself, I would hope that professionalism would prevent me from doing that.

    But they do have a right to do it. My advice to you, then, as a consumer of scientific information is to do your best to ask and answer critical questions about such web-sites: does it represent the consensus view of scientists? Are the issues raised here legitimate, and have they been discussed in the academic world? Have they been answered there?

    Because, ultimately – the correct target for “critical evidence” is the people who understand the field and know how to evaluate that evidence – not a gullible public.

  • jlue

    Ok, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt & say they are discussing this “critical evidence” with the right people – that is with other climatologists.

    You seem to be able to comprehend pretty well and you are not a climatologist. Most people are able to understand. Was everyone at Kyoto a climatologist?

    Even those who are preaching that man made global warming is destroying the planet do not agree as seen in the statements below:

    Phil Jones – … the gatekeeper of United Nations IPCC research, and the controversial figure at the head of the Climategate scandal – acknowledged in a February 13 BBC interview that he and many other climate scientists do not consider the global warming debate to be over and that many substantial scientific questions still need to be answered.

    Lisa Jackson “The science behind climate change is settled, and human activity is responsible for global warming,” Jackson told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “That conclusion is not a partisan one.”

    Many of the questions you asked about the web-site are the same questions that are being asked of those climatolgist who are “accepted”. Their answers always seem to be that if a person doesn’t agree it is because they are either too stupid or too uneducated, or maybe retired?

  • You seem to be able to comprehend pretty well and you are not a climatologist. Most people are able to understand

    I comprehend pretty well, but like anyone who hasn’t done technical work in the specialty of climate science and is not a victim of the D-K effect, I have to rely on the findings of the experts in the field. I don’t feel myself qualified to overturn their opinion on the basis of technical arguments that apply to fields of research that I am not intimate with.

    That’s for technical arguments. Quote mining, on the other hand, can be dismissed out of hand. No need to even check & see if the experts agree with a statement that is only supported by two isolated & out of context quotes.

  • RW

    “Engineers and other professionals” are no more credible on the subject than you or I, and retired climatologists are…

    Whoa, I’m an engineer & that just got a rise from the hair on the back of my neck! :)
    If you’re looking specifically at data analysis, based on numbers, engineers are more credible since that’s what they do (the subject is a sidebar; a structural engineer would be more credible than a civil engineer when it comes to the stress metals in a high rise, but the civil engineer would know the mathematics involved and could give an educated assessment of the figures much better than an architect or city manager, for example). Engineers can provide analysis on anything from baseball statistics (as could statisticians), budgeting (as could accountants), production efficiency (as could….er, engineers), profit/loss, etc. Yeah, they could analyze the data & you’d have a much wider variety of backgrounds for engineers & thus have a higher probability of unbiased conclusions. Apparently, math geeks are just as likely to be liberals as conservatives.

    The “university funded climatologists are the supreme authority on this matter” argument fell apart last year when those folks were caught doing unprofessional things with their work or who cannot prove their claims (no one dare say ‘made it up’). Yes, engineers, when given data, would be more credible than the politically motiveated people who have been hailed as uncompromising and scientifically based. Summary: your guys are now only trusted by the Olbermann crowd, smijer. They pissed away their credibility. You’ve no doubt seen the many, many, public polls (please don’t use the talking point phrase “lost the narrative” as a response!) AGW could be real, I dunno. But, I can honestly say that I’ve never doubted it more in my lifetime than I do now.

    And it’s not the creationist wingnut teabaggers’ fault. It’s the people who said NYC would be underwater in a matter of decades.

  • Not surprised to learn you are an engineer. And, yeah – math geeks in a number of fields are qualified to double check the math. But to double check the science you have to be intimate with the research. You don’t just have to be able to run the numbers on a data set.

    If the creationist wingnut teabaggers quit running a well-poisoning campaign against climate science and yet people like you continue to doubt it, then I will consider the possibility that there is some other reason.

    You know Robert Millikan isn’t the only chemist in the world who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar (in a much larger way than Phil Jones, I might add). Yet no one says that it is the fault of the chemists that no one trusts chemistry.

    Something to think about.

  • jlue

    What have American citizens who attend town meetings and tea parties, those who have their entire lives invested in this country and do have a right to meet, to be heard, and to be respected done to the left wingnuts to deserve the orchestrated movement that has had one purpose only, that being to discredit private citizens? It sounds a lot like the left wingnuts are simply afraid of American citizens who pay attention to what is being done in Washington D.C. Maybe you should get to know some of these people better.

  • Sorry – I believe RW was using the term tongue-in-cheek & that’s the same way I was using it. I won’t get into the sociology of people who self-identify as Tea-partyer’s today.

  • RW

    jlue,

    I was most definitely using it tongue-in-cheek as a virtual uppercut to those who DO use that term in a denigrating fashion. Consider, if you will, Dick Cheney giving a speech against Obamacare & ending it with the throwaway line “but, hey, what do I know, I’m just a Nazi Darth Vader”.

    Just making fun of the fringe talking points, that was all. I’m a pro tea party person, myself, & wish the GOP would listen to them more instead of the country club types who currently run the party.

  • RW, I’m not pro- or anti-tea-party except as it pertains to the large contingent of lunatic fringe contained there-in. I continue to wonder where they were during the Bush spending spree, and why, as soon as a Democrat comes into office, they explode into a coalition of grass-roots, Fox News, Birthers, and John-Birch types that seem to yield some real electoral power.

    But I kind of wish that a delegation therefrom could choose the next President and Congress entirely by themselves… just as an experiment to see how long it took their elected reps to become indistinguishable from the Duopoly that currently serves the interests of the people their corporate sponsors.

    Power corrupts, don’t it?

  • jlue

    This is to RW. I can tell you where these people were on election day 2008. Many either stayed home or voted for Obama in the “hope” that something would “change” if Washington got the message.

    Sean Hannity complained constantly about the spending Republicans did, especially the last two years of the Bush administration, but folks did speak out, just were not organized. Obama’s spending spree his first six months in office caught the attention of everyone who had hoped for something better. I knew it would be worse instead of better, but a lot of folks younger than I am did not. They were disappointed and became vocal. Tea parties are not pro Republican and anti Democrat. They are pro-America and anti-big government. They are against Washington continuing to pile up debt and then demand higher taxes. I have been to several meetings and there are democrats there as well as republicans. For the most part, those attending are tired of being lied to.

  • RW

    jlue,
    You’re preaching to the choir, so to speak. Now, I haven’t attended any tea parties & don’t plan to, for my own reasons, but I know a handful of folks who attended on in ATL and while they’re definitely not Democrats, they ABHOR the GOP right now (for good reason). I’m with them, though, spriritually, although I’m definitely against any sort of corporate structure or that idiot who was trying to make it a for-profit thing in TN, IIRC.

    I continue to wonder where they were during the Bush spending spree, and why, as soon as a Democrat comes into office, they explode

    A. They were complaining about Bush’s spending, but you must remember that the other choice was a group of folks who thought we weren’t spending enough (the war an exception, of course). I remember the votes against that horrible prescription drug plan was because it wasn’t universal, for example.
    B. In comparison, the Bush years were frugal. I remember when a $500 billion deficit would’ve been a record, not a remarkable IMPROVEMENT.

    For years we heard complaints about people not getting upset at Bush’s $200B deficits (they were, just not to the satisfaction necessary to appease…re: vote Dem). Now, they’re claiming “teabagger” and “racist” because people are worried about 1.2 trillion dollar deficits. Well, duh. Look, if the deficits were $200B-$400B and unemployment were at 7%, there probably wouldn’t be a Tea Party movement.

    If Bush had a trillion dollar deficit to go along with 10% unemployment & thought it’d be a good time for the largest entitlement program in our nation’s history, I kindasorta think that the people who turned against his second term (raising my hand) based on the war & Katrina would be aghast at his economic policies. But, we had something like 55 consecutive months of growth, so the anger focused on Iraq & Katrina, for the most part.

    Look at the polls. People like Obama personally. I’m polled by Zogby from time to time and I give him high marks personally & answer the question “are you proud he’s the president” with a yes (unlike what lefties did with Bush, if you’ll recall). They hate the liberal policies, though. I remember when Bush & the GOP was in the 20′s….does the left really think that the nation hated Bush and was on board with your plans, instead of a bunch of Republicans & indies who were pissed of at the party and voted thus?

    Look at it this way: there are some people who look at things & say “wow, 4 trillion dollars is too much for the federal government to be spending, especially when we’re bringing in less than 3 trillion. This cannot be sustained and we DARN SURE don’t need a health care version of the great society right now”. They look at the landscape and agree with the Tea Partiers. What else are they supposed to do, donate to the Obama campaign, which wants to spend more & tell you with a straight face that it’s going to save money? Plus cap and trade?

    grass-roots, Fox News, Birthers, and John-Birch types

    the more you guys attack private citizens who, more often than not, hate the GOP, the more it is to your detriment.

    When the IPCC screws up, it’s the fault of the righties.
    When Amanda Marcotte f-ed up, it was Bill Donahue’s fault.
    When Obama’s polls tank, it’s the fault of Fox News.
    When people vote against gay marriage, it’s the fault of Christianist fundies.
    When ACORN gets caught doing slimy things, it’s Breitbart’s fault.

    Well, take it from someone who was on the “winning side” for about 10 years….ignoring the real problems that your side is committing (and not going far enough left isn’t the problem) is denial. You’re bleeding independents & moderates, and blaming it on Fox or John Birch (?) is pretending the problem doesn’t exist.

    Your party is about to get avalanched unless things change, smijer. If Fox, Rush & the hard right were as powerful as you guys claim, we’d be discussing President Palin signing the amendment overturning Roe V. Wade. Instead, we’re watching Joe Biden tell us we ‘Have to Go Spend Money to Keep From Going Bankrupt’ (how could people get upset at THAT LOGIC?) :)

    I’m backing away & giving you the floor, as I’ve taken this waaaaay off topic from climate change. BTW, was up in your neck of the woods last week, at Erlanger. Was reminded of how terrible Tennessee drivers are on the roadways (love you guys, though!).

  • Wheew…. our disagreements about some things run deep… but I agree, we’re off topic now. As tempting as it is to put out my perspective on all this… I think I’m just going to let it rest. Check out “Taking Some Time to Process” in the Eye Boogers…

    Erlanger… I think I have every corridor memorized. Sorry about our driving. Seriously – some time when you’re up this way, give me a shout so we can hook up for a while.

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