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Dear South Carolina: Please Give Rick Perry One Last Look

January 11, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2012

Michelle Bachmann, the most conservative and articulate 2012 GOP presidential candidate, dropped out of the race after her poor showing in Iowa last week.  Herman Cain’s disappointing withdrawal last month over spurious sexual harassment allegations suggests we won’t be discussing a flat federal income tax for at least another election cycle.  John Huntsman was a surprisingly conservative governor of Utah, and could still benefit from the shell game Republican voters have been playing with their candidates for the past six months—if voters ever notice he’s running.  Mitt Romney is an unreliable conservative; Newt Gingrich is a combustible bloviator; and Ron Paul is a nutty America-hater.

What about Rick Perry?  Last September, he was the GOP’s latest, greatest hope for about three invigorating weeks.  The only—only—reason Republican voters abandoned him in droves after his bump in the polls was his clunky and unscripted performance in the first few debates—a flaw he’s long since overcome.  Perry’s marble-mouthed tendencies have been limited thus far to one format—the presidential primary debate—and even there he’s improved dramatically, such that commentators have been gushing, “Perry had a really good night!” and “This was the best Perry debate performance so far!”

(I don’t fault Perry for not being able to remember the third agency he would close; there are so many I would shut down, I also would lose track.  When Ron Paul helpfully offered “EPA?” I would have said, “That too!”)

Perry detractors who are incessantly angling for Romney argue that the country doesn’t want another cowboy as president, but those objections are more stylistic than ideological.  I’m confident that conservatives would warm to a President Perry who repealed ObamaCare and rid us of the Commerce, Education, and Energy Departments, even if his Texas twang recalled George W. Bush’s.  As for liberals’ being driven clinically insane by another Lone Star president: Are we seriously counting that as a negative?

As RedState notes in a lengthy, thoughtful endorsement, Governor Perry snatched the Texas governorship at a time when the state was left-leaning; he has won more state elections than all the other candidates combined; and he boasts a fearsome track record as a limited-government conservative.

Perry doesn’t have Romney’s real-world business experience—we could argue whether it’s more appropriate for a president to have private or public sector experience—but he is the longest-serving governor in the nation’s second-largest state, which suggests he’s been doing something right as an executive.

Perry opponents quibble about his support for in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants and his introduction and retraction of an opt-out HPV vaccination for young girls—minor issues that don’t loom large in the big picture.  I’ll trade you one Romneycare for a Gardasil any day.

Some who viewed Saturday night’s debate were aghast at Perry’s heretical suggestion that we send troops back to Iraq if need be to consolidate and preserve the fragile security gains we made during our eight-year war there.  To any conservative who believes Obama removed troops from Iraq prematurely and precipitously to fulfill a campaign promise to the anti-war left, Perry’s suggestion is logical and common-sensical.  Would conservatives prefer we send troops back to Iraq in ten years to fight this war again after conditions dramatically worsen because we didn’t finish it the first time?

Perry is the only candidate who’s served in the military other than Paul, the latter of whom has more or less pledged to decimate it.  I think we can safely assume that Perry, of all candidates, would not take lightly the decision to send troops in harm’s way.

Perry’s gotten flack for calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme—it’s not; it’s much worse—and labeling the Fed’s quantitative easing program “almost treasonous.”  As for the latter, he did say “almost,” and in this era of trillion-dollar deficits, I’d wager that our greatest danger is underreacting to the federal government’s overreach, not overreacting.

Perry deserves major points for expressing “inappropriate” enthusiasm for the death penalty for aggravated violent crimes, which are particularly prevalent in his state—and would prevail even more under a liberal, soft-on-crime governor.

Perry has taken brave, “extremist” positions on abolishing the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution, which would rid us of cancers like Olympia Snowe and the IRS, respectively.

Of course Perry didn’t make a dent in New Hampshire’s primary on Tuesday, where he didn’t even campaign, but with any luck he’ll make a strong enough showing in the Palmetto State next Saturday to encourage him to stay in the race.

Before Mitt kills it in South Carolina and we succumb to “Romney is the inevitable nominee” fever, please, early primary and caucus states that have yet to vote, give Rick Perry—a flawed but underappreciated candidate—one more careful look.

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Top 10 Conservatives of 2011

November 30, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Miscellaneous

Top 10 Conservatives of 2011

Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

10. Andrew Cuomo – Yes, really.  As I wrote earlier this year, “When Democrats cut spending and refuse to raise taxes, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has—i.e. when they abandon their party’s core philosophy and govern like conservatives—they enjoy skyrocketing popularity ratings and set their constituents on a path to financial solvency.”  Cuomo’s late-career, probably temporary, but remarkable conversion followed the example set by New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who also stood up to public sector unions, slashed spending, and held down taxes.

9. Darrell Issa – California Representative Darrell Issa held hearings this summer on the Justice Department’s botched, scandalous Operation Fast and Furious gun-trafficking sting operation, including gripping testimony from ATF officials from Phoenix and Mexico.  Recently Attorney General Eric Holder was forced to admit that Fast and Furious was “flawed in its concept and flawed in its execution”—kind of like his boss’s presidency.  Along with the Treasury Department’s pursuit of the administration’s tainted $535 million loan to solar energy company Solyndra, Issa’s persistent work erased the laughable notion that the corrupt Obama tenure has remained blissfully transgression-free.

8. Peter King – New York Representative Peter King bucked controversy by holding hearings on whether Muslim Americans were becoming radicalized and linking with terrorist groups to plot attacks on home soil.  From my column “Liberals’ Game of Cat-and-Muslim”: “[King] held a hearing on whether al-Qaeda is trying to recruit young Muslims in the U.S. and whether Muslim Americans are sufficiently cooperating with federal officials…  [H]undreds of willfully naïve, politically correct New Yorkers gathered in Times Square, steps from where [Faisal] Shahzad tried to kill hundreds of New Yorkers, to protest King’s hearing as racist and Islamophobic.”

7. Mitch Daniels – Second-term Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels navigated such juvenile obstructions as Democratic legislators walking out to protest Republicans’ agenda, and ultimately got the bulk of long-stalled GOP legislation passed in the state.  Daniels wowed CPAC with a speech on fiscal austerity that included such zingers as “Our morbidly obese federal government needs, not just behavior modification, but bariatric surgery” and his reference to federal debt as “the new red menace.”  One of the only feasible GOP presidential candidates both conservative and articulate, Daniels declined to run this year despite widespread pressure to do so.

6. Pat Toomey – The deficit reduction supercommittee boasted only one reliable fiscal conservative: Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey.  All five other GOP members voted for the boneheaded budget bill in August that unnecessarily raised the debt ceiling.  Without Toomey, Republican supercommittee members might have caved to Democratic pressure to raise tax rates on high-income earners.  The committee failed—which, given Democratic intransigence, is the best outcome we could have hoped for.  Toomey’s first year in office after dispensing with Joe Sestak in hostile blue-state territory in the 2010 midterms was a resounding success.

5. Rick Perry – Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry held the distinction of leading the state that oversaw 40% of all new U.S. jobs created since the recovery began, triple the number of the next-closest competitor New York, with over 1 million added since he took office.  Texas’s jobs boom resulted not just from rising oil prices—private sector industries such as construction, hospitality, and professional services also saw growth—but also Perry’s understanding of the hindrance excessive regulation places on incentives to invest and hire.  Perry offered a more conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, thus helping push the GOP front-runner to the right.

4. Herman Cain – Businessman, radio host, rocket scientist, and presidential candidate Herman Cain spent the year touting his 9-9-9 flat tax plan, which would gut the federal tax code and replace it with a 9% federal income tax, 9% corporate tax, and 9% national sales tax.  Rick Perry produced a copycat plan, and Newt Gingrich revived his old plan, and suddenly the nation began seriously debating the merits of flat tax plans for the first time since Steve Forbes’ last run.  And did you know that, back in the day, as president-elect of the National Restaurant Association, Cain was one of the most vocal critics of Hillarycare?

3. Ann Coulter – The left-wing, Obama-endorsed Occupy Wall Street movement that seeped into the national consciousness like a whiff of raw sewage had no concrete antagonists, just the sorry spectacle of a bunch of hippy retreads and trust fund brats battling hypothermia and body lice in tent cities around the country.  Ann Coulter was the conservative who foretold it best, in her bestseller Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America.  From the book jacket: “The Democratic Party activates mobs, depends on mobs, coddles mobs, publicizes and celebrates mobs—it is the mob.”

2. Scott Walker – From “Wisconsin’s Government Cheese Revolution”: “Governor Scott Walker… proposed a bill that would… prevent [public sector] unions from forcing members to pay dues, require annual secret ballots on whether to remain unionized, and ask members to contribute a pittance toward their lavish pensions and health care plans.”  Walker’s courage in standing his ground in the face of protestors calling him Hitler and Hosni Mubarak, and Democratic legislators fleeing the state to avoid voting on the bill, presaged the guts that mayors around the country didn’t have in dealing with Occupy Wall Street.

1. Michele Bachmann – Minnesota Representative and Tea Party leader Bachmann embodied the best combination of conservative/articulate out of all the 2012 GOP presidential nominees; it’s inexplicable that she isn’t doing better in the polls.  From my column “CDC Prepares for Outbreak of Bachmann Derangement Syndrome”: “Bachmann has labeled herself a ‘constitutional conservative’—precisely the correct label to use in this bizarre era of pay czars, light bulb bans, and trillion-dollar deficits…  Bachmann [took] leadership roles on… repealing [Dodd-Frank] and replacing ObamaCare with free market reforms.”  Here’s hoping she can at least snag the VP slot.

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Tax the 47% So They’ll Leave the Other 53% Alone

October 26, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Economy

tax code

Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

Presidential candidate Herman Cain has been touting his 9-9-9 tax plan, which would replace the three-million-word tax code with a flat 9% federal income tax, 9% corporate tax, and 9% national sales tax.

Fellow candidate Rick Perry recently proposed a flat tax of 20% on earned income and 20% on corporate income, and a simplification of the tax code, including elimination of loopholes and eradication of the death tax.  Newt Gingrich has similarly suggested a 15% flat tax.

These plans recall the flat tax Steve Forbes campaigned for president on in 1996 and 2000.  All of these plans would massively reduce the U.S.’s collective tax compliance cost to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.  (Though liberals don’t realize it, it would be a fantastic thing for our economy if every employee of the Internal Revenue Service and H&R Block, and every tax lawyer, accountant, and tax preparation service employee lost his job and had to go out and find useful productive employment.)

In response to these thoughtful Republican proposals, liberals are screaming that conservatives’ plan for getting us out of our present fiscal crisis is to “tax the poor.”

If only we could get out of our current budget predicament by taxing the poor.  In fact, we can’t even get out of it by taxing the rich.

As has been amply demonstrated, massively increasing taxes on high earners wouldn’t come close to relieving our budget woes.  These can be alleviated only via radical entitlement reform.  Eating the rich now will not ensure an enriching long-term diet for the nation later.

The reason conservatives have been advocating flatter taxes is not that they want to “balance the budget on the backs of the poor,” or some other such nonsense.  It’s so that the 47% of the population who, due to the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit over the past several decades, pays no federal income tax will be forced to contribute something, however measly, to the country’s tax revenue.

Free market types don’t want to raise taxes on the poor to be meanies.  They just want liberals to stop demanding that high earners pay more, and Democrats to stop spending so much, and are willing to call the left out by shining a blinding spotlight on how little almost half the population pays to fund our government.

Conservatives hope that if the income of the lower-earning half of the electorate were considered fair game, then maybe the voters who receive it wouldn’t be so quick to rally around politicians who want to increase spending via public boondoggles like Obama’s Jobs Act, which will have to be paid for via tax revenue.

If Democratic politicians weren’t constantly dreaming up new ways to steal and waste the hard-earned income of the nation’s most productive citizens, perhaps so many Republican candidates wouldn’t be gaining traction by proposing that a greater proportion of society have some “skin in the game.”

And contrary to Democrats’ claims, a flat tax doesn’t “help” or “benefit” the rich—it merely punishes them a little less.  If Occupy Wall Street types weren’t going around hollering that the rich should be even more exorbitantly taxed than they are now—the highest-earning 1% already shoulder 40% of the federal tax burden, a fact of which most protestors seem blissfully unaware—then the glaring lunacy of their demand that the rich pay their fair share wouldn’t be so ripe for ridicule.

It’s possible that neither Cain nor Perry is the best Republican candidate to deliver the flat tax message, since each seems to have some difficulty explaining the intricacies of his policies to audiences (though see Perry’s fine Wall Street Journal editorial outlining his plan).  But having three of the most prominent candidates pushing for a flat tax may pressure other candidates to endorse similar plans, should they secure the nomination (ahem, Mitt Romney).

Liberals must be scared that these flat tax proposals will resonate with voters, as witnessed by the flurry of recent editorials declaring, not that the plans won’t work, but that smart voters would never, ever go for them.

Conservatives often play the game of asking liberals how much those earners in the highest tax bracket should pay—that is, how much would satisfy the left’s desire to bash the rich.  50% of their income?  60%?  70%?

How about a different game: What percentage of their income would it be fair to ask those in the lower 47% to pay?  Would 10% a year be too much too ask?  How about 5%?  1%?

Something greater than 0.00%?

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A Conservative Who Can Talk

September 28, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2012

Christie

FiveThirtyEight whiz Nate Silver recently asked whether Chris Christie is the anti-Romney or the anti-Perry.

The answer is yes.

Christie is the anti-Romney, because he genuinely and unapologetically embraces and enacts conservative policies, at least on fiscal matters—in particular entitlement reform, the most important policy realm our nation currently faces.

Critics charge that he’s not consistently conservative on issues such as global warming and gun control.  Yet Rick Perry critics complain that he’s not consistently conservative on issues such as immigration and the HPV vaccine, and most people wouldn’t call Perry a liberal.

Christie is the anti-Perry, because he knows how to identify, articulate, and justify his positions, using fiery, uncompromising rhetoric that doesn’t sound rehearsed, and isn’t afraid to say things that tick off hallowed interest groups.

Critics charge that he’s arrogant, has a temper, and insults people.  Yet his style has proven wildly popular with voters who are fed up with politicians who can’t or won’t stand up to bullying public employee unions that are bankrupting the nation’s most populous states.

If Mitt Romney held more consistently conservative positions on the major issues of the day, he’d be able to articulate them to voters.  But he doesn’t.

If Rick Perry were more articulate and had a better understanding of the issues, his positions would be conservative enough for most Republicans.  But he isn’t.

The other candidates still in the running all have their weaknesses, with most embodying one of the fatal flaws represented by frontrunners Romney and Perry.

Ron Paul is blisteringly conservative on economic issues but crazily isolationist on foreign policy, to the extent that he thinks Iran should be allowed to build nuclear weapons to defend themselves against the U.S., and to the degree that he approvingly quotes Osama bin Laden’s reasons for attacking us on 9/11.  Newt Gingrich led the Republican Revolution of 1995 and enacted welfare reform, but is prone to making insane statements such as claiming that repealing ObamaCare involves as much abridgment of people’s liberty as enacting it.

Michele Bachmann is a solid conservative, but is prone to gaffes and sloppy slips of the tongue such as her mindboggling insinuation that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation.  Herman Cain is a successful former businessman with sensible ideas about the economy but a stunning, blissful ignorance about foreign policy.

Michael Barone correctly notes that just about the only remaining feasible Republican presidential candidates who both are conservative enough and know how to speak without sounding like idiots are Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, and Chris Christie.  Daniels is concerned about his family’s privacy and has decided not to run; Ryan is young, early on in his career, and clearly has no intention of running in 2012.

That leaves Christie, who has certainly denied numerous times that he is running, but whose supporters and staffers seem to be leaking rumors that he may change his mind.  Christie has spent the past few months jetting around the country speaking at high-profile Republican fundraisers, giving speeches at prominent venues such as the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and meeting with potential donors.

Elsewhere I have written at length about why we should encourage Christie in particular to run, including the fact that Republican candidates for governor did well in 2010 in part by emulating his substance and style; that he knows how to take the fight to his opponents; that his popularity among Republican voters is underreported; and that his electability among independents and Democrats is underappreciated.

Christie’s not perfect.  But where is the glaring RomneyCare albatross–whose defense Romney cheekily deleted from the paperback version of his book No Apology—in Christie’s past that will come back to haunt him in the general election, when voters are focused perhaps foremost on repealing ObamaCare?

Christie’s not perfect.  But where are the embarrassing misstatements—like Perry’s lame, botched attack on Romney’s flip-flopping in last week’s debate in Orlando—that lead us to fear Christie will flounder in debates with the supposedly golden-voiced Obama?

Contrast Christie, if you will, with the Republicans’ 2008 nominee, John McCain, who combined the worst aspects of Romney and Perry: liberal policies and inarticulateness.  Republicans should never again have to suffer the ignominy of a nominee who differs only a little bit from the Democratic candidate—or who can’t convincingly explain why he’s to the right of Barack Obama.

The conservative establishment prefers Romney to Perry because they believe him to be more electable.  Some commentators, such as columnist Sandy Rios, believe Republicans will break for Perry over Romney because people “prefer an honest hesitator over a slickster with all the answers.”

But why should Republicans have to choose between a conservative and someone who can talk?

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Social Security: Too Shady To Be Called a Ponzi Scheme

September 14, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Economy

Social Security Poster: old man

Image via Wikipedia

Recently Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized fellow contender Rick Perry for labeling Social Security a Ponzi scheme.  Romney extolled the virtues of the soon-to-be-bankrupt program and vowed to support its continuance unconditionally if elected.

A Ponzi scheme, so named after white-collar criminal Charles Ponzi, involves a huckster collecting money from numerous investors who are promised a high or reliable return on their investment, with payments being made by future investors lured in by similar promises of financial gain.  The scheme is unsustainable, because dividends received are not actually invested, and are not equaled by the dividends promised to investors.  Earlier investors fare better than later investors, who lose their money once the scheme collapses.

Sound familiar?

Social Security, signed into law by white-collar criminal Franklin Delano Roosevelt, involves the federal government collecting money from all working citizens, who are promised a reliable pension when they retire, with payments being made by subsequent generations who are dragged into the program.  The system is unsustainable because, due to slowing population increases and politicians raiding the Social Security Trust Fund, most payroll taxes received are not actually invested, and are not equaled by the payments promised to retirees.  Earlier generations fare better than later generations, who will not receive benefits once the system collapses.

The history of Social Security’s establishment and implementation reveal that Governor Perry is wrong about the program’s being a Ponzi scheme.  It is much worse.

Social Security is bigger, by many orders of magnitude, than any Ponzi scheme ever enacted in human history.  It is the largest government program in the world, and the biggest component of U.S. federal expenditures.  Social Security is to the average Ponzi scheme what the Great Pyramid of Giza is to a traffic cone.

Social Security is involuntary, whereas Ponzi schemes are at least voluntary.  Though applying for a Social Security number is not technically mandatory to live and work in the U.S., the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies require it, which forces everyone to participate in the program, or makes their lives very difficult if they don’t.

Social Security is better disguised than a Ponzi scheme, and thus more insidious.  Unlike a Ponzi scheme, the true nature of Social Security is hidden in broad daylight, which lulls ordinary citizens into thinking it couldn’t possibly be as fraudulent or unsustainable as it is.

Social Security is longer-lasting than any real-life Ponzi scheme.  Whereas most Ponzi schemes are lucky to survive a few months, Social Security has continued for over 75 years.

Social Security’s insolvency won’t affect young, naïve, retrainable investors, but rather elderly people at the potentially neediest and most vulnerable stage of their lives.

All of the above negative consequences of Social Security are a direct result of its being administered by the federal government.

Government has access to billions of participants, trillions of dollars in capital, and decades of time to continue the ruse.

Government forces all citizens to participate, even if they’d rather keep their money, invest as they choose, and take their chances later in life.

Government gives Social Security its imprimatur—whatever that’s worth these days.  Most members of both major political parties approve of continuing Social Security more or less as is.  The program is referred to as the “third rail” of politics, meaning that if you touch it, you die politically.  It is as though Bernard Madoff were a major donor to both parties, and Congress refused to question his investment strategies because Madoff were considered the “third rail” of politics.

Government designed Social Security to increase its ability to control the populace, by forcing them to pay in when they’re young and healthy and then meting out or scaling back benefits when they’re old and infirm.  (By “government,” of course, I mean Democrats.)  The Supreme Court actually ruled, in Flemming v. Nestor (1960), that the Social Security Administration is not legally required to pay benefits to retirees who have contributed to the system their whole lives, if it finds itself in a pinch: “To engraft upon the Social Security System a concept of ‘accrued property rights’ would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustment to ever-changing conditions which it demands…”  Would that everyday businesses were afforded the same “flexibility” and “boldness” to decide not to honor their contracts in order to better adjust to “ever-changing conditions.”

Supporters of Social Security only wish it had the air of respectability of a garden-variety Ponzi scheme.  Then we could send the fraudulent originators to jail, cut our losses, and start over.

Instead, we’re saddled for eternity with the mother of all entitlement programs, the granddaddy of confidence games, the oldest relic of the Seven Entitlement Wonders of the Modern World.  Even supposedly conservative presidential candidates—including, sadly, Rick Perry—are now duking it out to show how badly they want to preserve this fraud.

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Global Warming Fanatics: This Generation’s Flat-Earthers

August 31, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Environmentalism

flat earth

Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

No longer content to compare global warming skeptics to mere Holocaust deniers, Al Gore recently implied that climate doubters will someday be seen as this generation’s Klansmen.

In an interview with the Climate Reality Project, Gore declared that the civil rights and climate change movements are similar in that both harbor a profound moral component.  (Honestly, Gore’s new comparison lacks the punch of “Today the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin.”)

The bloated old walrus offered his awestruck, rosy-cheeked interviewer a two-pronged strategy that global warming believers should adapt from anti-racism protestors to “win the conversation.”  First, global warming fanatics should persuade non-believers through facts; second, they should confront “inappropriate” statements by expressing loud disapproval just as if they were racial slurs.

I could be wrong, but I think in order to “win the conversation,” you have to actually have a conversation first, at least one in which both sides are allowed to speak.  Yet the Goracle is notoriously reluctant to accept invitations to debate climate change skeptics such as brilliant mathematician and former Margaret Thatcher advisor Christopher Monckton—probably because he knows Monckton has enough logic and facts at his disposal to mop the floor with Gore.

In his Climate Reality Project interview, Gore claims that it is no more difficult for warming adherents to “win the conversation” on global warming than it was for pro-equality Southerners to “win the conversation” on racism.  In other words, put Gore on record as stating that it’s no more accepted fact that people should be judged by the content of their character than it is that the folks who overestimated the impact of Hurricane Irene on New York City by an order of magnitude can tell us how many degrees warmer the planet will be in 100 years.

Gore also chides Texas Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry for claiming that the world’s scientists are in on a vast conspiracy to profit from preventive actions to halt climate change.  In fact, Perry said no such thing.  What Perry said is that climate change has become a politicized issue—which it has—and that key researchers have been caught shielding data from the public—which they have.  Perry also noted that scientists have been stepping forward en masse to express skepticism about climate change science—which is true.

It is also true that a prevailing orthodoxy has set in regarding climate change, such that skepticism is discouraged, and only research expected to confirm the outlines of preordained alarmist conclusions is deemed fundable by government agencies and even most private foundations.  It’s unlikely that scientists the world over think as objectively about climate change as they would if there were equally large gobs of money for research opposing the notion of manmade global warming.

But back to Gore’s ludicrous race-climate comparison: Since he brought it up, it’s worth noting that most climate change skeptics these days are Republicans.  In contrast, the most recalcitrant racists from the 1950s and 1960s were Southern Democrats—like Gore’s father, Al Gore Sr., who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Bull Connor, whom Gore cites for his brutal act of turning fire hoses on protestors.  So comparing Republicans to civil rights opponents may not be Gore’s best rhetorical move.

Meanwhile, noted climatologist Paul Krugman advances the skeptic-bashing on another front by sneering that Republicans are “anti-science,” “anti-knowledge,” and “anti-intellectualism.”

Let’s see: What does the science tell us about climate change?  For one thing, it tells us that there has been no statistically significant rise in global temperature over the last 16 years, even though CO2 emissions have increased.  It tells us that there has even been evidence of global cooling over the last 11 years.

The science tells us that 9 out the past 11 winters have delivered above-average snowfall and below-average temperatures to North America, Europe, and Asia.

The science tells us that H20, not CO2, is by far the biggest greenhouse gas—though I don’t recall Democratic politicians’ calling for a ban on sprinklers watering the neatly manicured lawns at their beachfront resorts.

If all of this were really about the science, then climate “scientists” would be aggressively working to falsify accepted hypotheses, challenge conventional knowledge, and test the rigor of their models—not toadying up to politicized government funding agencies that hand out taxpayer-funded research money like candy.

Far from resembling Gore’s smear of narrow-minded segregationists, climate change skeptics have demonstrated abundant open-mindedness and courage in their willingness to confront institutionalized wrongheadedness and public acceptance of falsehoods.  These qualities suggest that, if right, global warming skeptics will someday be seen as this generation’s moral heroes.

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