Friday, July 03, 2009

Craziest Republican of the Day: Joe Barton (for his idiotic "Carbongate" crack)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Yes, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), for suggesting that Obama has a "Carbongate" to rival Nixon's Watergate. And why? Because, if you haven't been following the story -- and it's the right that has been making much ado about nothing -- the EPA refused to release a global warming denialism study by one of its economists, one Al Carlin. Here's TPM's Pete Martin:

[Carlin's] cause has become a favorite of right-wingers, who suddenly believe science to be sacred, and are charging that the Obama administration is "suppressing" a report whose conclusions it dislikes. The anti-regulatory Competitive Enterprise Institute first publicized Carlin's report last week. Since then, Carlin has discussed his "findings" with Glenn Beck on Fox News, and on Monday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) called for a criminal investigation into the issue.

Now, Rep. Joe Barton is taking the outrage to a new level. [Yesterday] morning on America's Newsroom, the industry-friendly Texas Republican accused the EPA of suppressing the report, and declared that "just as Nixon had Watergate, Obama now has Carbongate to deal with."

(Note that Barton called Carlin "a scientist at the EPA." In fact, Carlin has worked for the agency since months after its founding in 1971, but he does not hold an advanced degree in any natural science, and he has always worked as an economist.)

So just to compare: Watergate involved the cover-up of a criminal enterprise directed from the Oval Office. "Carbongate" involves the EPA ignoring a scientific study by a non-scientist that it never commissioned and which hasn't been published in any scientific journal.

Of course, these denialists don't give a shit about science. Their industry-driven propaganda is at odds with what is a remarkable consensus among the world's leading researchers. Unable to win on the facts, they're resorting to smears, to allegations of some Obama-led cover-up, touting as science what is really just ideological deception.

It's all so predictable, and all so pathetic, and all so popular on the right, and, alas, all so prevalent, still, with an American public that in large numbers has been taken in by the propaganda.

As for Barton, it seems that Inhofe now has a challenger to his title of Most Deranged Denialist.

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