According to someone who should know, Newt Gingrich is actually an environmental extremist. Furthermore, Gingrich believes that “to protect clean air and water, biodiversity, and the future of the earth, we have to buy into their catastrophic scenarios and sign onto their command-and-control, anti-energy, big-bureaucracy agenda, including dramatic increases in government power and draconian policies that will devastate our economy.”
Who says so? As Media Matters points out, Newt Gingrich himself says so.
In 2007, in an interview on PBS, Gingrich endorsed addressing climate change by capping the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by industry and then allowing those industries to buy and sell emission permits. According to Gingrich:
“The caps, with a trading system, on sulfur has worked brilliantly because it has brought free-market attitudes, entrepreneurship and technology and made it very profitable to have less sulfur. So people said, ‘Wow, it’s worth my time and effort.’ Americans get incentives. Americans like winning. … What we ought to be doing is inventing a whole series of breakthrough mechanisms that create incentives for people to have a better environmental outcome in an economically positive way, to accelerate the transition to better and cleaner technologies.”
Last week, in an appearance before a House subcommittee, Gingrich blasted those fools who dare to propose a cap-and-trade approach to addressing climate change:
“These extremists would have you believe that to protect clean air and water, biodiversity, and the future of the earth, we have to buy into their catastrophic scenarios and sign onto their command-and-control, anti-energy, big-bureaucracy agenda, including dramatic increases in government power and draconian policies that will devastate our economy. But this is just extremism.”
Citing that widely contradictory position, and a similar turnabout on torture, Steve Benen at Washington Monthly describes Gingrich as “a pseudo-intellectual con man.” That’s the most telling description I’ve seen. He is attracted to ideas like a crow is attracted to shiny objects, but he has no intellectual discipline or honesty.
NOTE: Because I cited Media Matters, someone in the comments below will inevitably type the words “George Soros,” complaining that Soros funds the group. It’s downright Pavlovian — the stimulus will inevitably evoke the response.
My response in turn borrows from that leading figure of the anti-American right, Dick Cheney:
Why does that matter? Even if Soros does contribute to Media Matters — the group says he does not — did the “evil Soros” force Gingrich to say one thing two years ago, then turn around and basically condemn his 2007 self as an America-hating environmental extremist? What does Soros have to do with the issue at hand?
Evoking the name of Soros is a tactic designed to avoid the subject. It is believed to be a magical, debate-ending utterance by those who use it, like “ACORN.” They do not understand that to those outside the cult, it has no impact whatsoever.