NOTE: Below is a letter written by Coffee Party contributor D.R. Tucker to conservative radio host Matt Lewis to thank him for interviewing former U.S. House member Bob Inglis of South Carolina. Inglis served in the US House from 1993 to 1999 and from 2005 to 2011, and now heads the Energy and Enterprise Initiative. CLICK HERE to listen to the the segment.
I appreciate your courage in having Mr. Inglis on The Matt Lewis Show
— and I do mean courage, since I recognize that it's far easier to ridicule Inglis as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) than it is to engage with his arguments. You did the latter, and for that, you've earned some of my respect.
I am a Massachusetts resident and former Republican; I was a member of the party from 1996 to 2011, and voted for Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain, as well as Republican candidates on the state level. I also wrote for the "Right Angle" blog on Human Events Online
from January 2006 to March 2009, and hosted a program on Blog Talk Radio from August 2009 to June 2010, where I had the honor of interviewing Dinesh D'Souza, David Horowitz, John Derbyshire, Jerome Corsi, Richard Brookhiser, Steven Hayward, Jason Mattera, Mark Thiessen and Victor Davis Hanson, among others.
I decided to leave the GOP and become an independent largely because I grew sick and tired of the "RINO-hunting" in the party; part of that "RINO-hunting" involved the ostracism of Republicans who disagreed with Sen. James Inhofe on climate change. I felt that the GOP should be broad enough to encompass the views of both Sen. Inhofe and Rep. Inglis; I ended up learning, in a very vicious fashion, that this particular viewpoint would not be tolerated in the party.
I bring this up because you and Mr. Inglis made the point that tactical and rhetorical errors on the part of climate activists and "the environmental left" constituted part of the political problem blocking action on climate change. Even if I were to concede that point, I cannot forget that there is another part of the political problem blocking action on climate change: the 26-year-plus effort by what David Frum once called the "conservative-entertainment complex" to declare climate change a hoax and to rhetorically bludgeon anyone who suggests that the problem needs attention, including climate scientists such as Hansen, Ben Santer, Michael Mann, Katharine Hayhoe and Kerry Emanuel. Having myself been on the receiving end of these sorts of right-wing rhetorical assaults for merely suggesting that climate change is not a hoax, I can't let the other players in this particular game off the hook.
Having said that, if conservatives and Republicans are finally willing to come to the table with policy responses, as Inglis does, instead of screaming "Alarmist!", "Warmist!" and (if you're a Republican) "Moderate!" and "Squish!", then so much the better, In a 2011 Commentary magazine post, Peter Wehner nailed it from a non-irrational conservative perspective
"Our task is to win the debate on the merits, to employ, as best we can, honest and credible arguments in order to ascertain the reality of things. And if the science shows that Earth is warming and that humans have played a role in that, then we need to accept it, even if that puts us on the same side with some individuals we don’t find particularly appealing. What matters is where the truth lies, not the company we find ourselves in....
"I understand the skepticism that exists (I shared in it, in fact, until I began to explore this matter in a more systematic way). I would therefore urge people to read the careful work of Richard Muller, who was skeptical that global warming has taken place but has now concluded it is real (for more, see here). One might study this report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ICPP). Alternatively, read this report by the National Academy of Sciences, which is trustworthy. (The science academies of Britain, China, Germany, Japan, and other nations all believe there is strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring.) In 2006, the Climate Science Program, a federal program under the direction of the Bush White House and sponsored by agencies including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found 'clear evidence of human influences on the climate system.' There are several others I could cite.
"The point is that these reports are sober, measured and serious. They make a scientific, not a polemical, case for AGW. It’s possible they are wrong. But their case has been made in a persuasive and empirical manner. And while there are some serious scientists who dissent from this finding, and their concerns are certainly worth taking into account, it matters that all the world’s major science academies have said that AGW is occurring, and they have supplied the empirical case for their findings. The challenge for conservatives is to engage the most serious and honest arguments of those who believe in AGW, not simply lock in on the global alarmists. And the temptation conservatives need to resist is to portray the entire climate change movement as consisting of individuals who are more interested in ideology than science."
Again, I appreciate your having Mr. Inglis on. It's nice to know that there are some grown-ups left on the right; of course, if there are no grown-ups, then inevitably, there won't be a right left.
LISTEN to Bob Inglis interview.