I really meant it the other day when I wrote that "I'm starting to get tired of writing about Jeb Bush." But I find myself once again having to, not because he simply says things I don't agree with -- that's to be expected in politics and part of the process -- but because he's saying things so mind-numbingly egregious that I don't even begin to understand what he's thinking.
First there was his defense of the United States going to war in Iraq and four changing-explanations on what he actually meant.
Then, there was him stating contrary to existing law that any business could discriminate, as long as it was part of their religious belief. Which basically is core of hate-filled anarchy.
And now, he's saying as a layman that climate scientists are "arrogant" for almost unanimously coming to the exact same conclusion on climate change as a result of independent, peer-reviewed research.
I'm beginning to think that contemplative, analytical thinking is not an inherited trait handed down to the Bush children.
Among the potential Republican candidates for president, Jeb Bush is one of the more reasonable, though that’s a low standard. But I really don't begin to understand what he's been thinking the past couple weeks. Yes, I know he wants to get the GOP nomination, so he likely feels he has to indulge the whimsies of the radical far-right base. But not only am I not sure that the radical far-right base of the Republican Party believes all the things Jeb Bush has been spouting lately, the reality is that if he does actually got the party's nomination (something that seemed probable just two weeks ago, and more questionable today), he'll have to live on these statements in the general election. And they're making him look sort of clownish. And clueless.
Just look at this most recent pronouncement. It's bizarre not just on the most eye-catching level that's made the news, but on so many levels.
Here's what I mean. As a simple starting point, this is Mr. Bush's quote about climate change that's getting the most attention: "And for the people to say the science is decided on, this is just really arrogant, to be honest with you."
Now, if Jeb Bush, former Republican governor of Florida eight years ago, doesn't want to believe in the man-made causes of climate change, so be it. That's his right. But if you do actually want to make that claim and be taken seriously (especially as an aspirant for President of the United States), it's sort of incumbent upon you to support it with actual scientific research and facts that contradict the opposing position. Just saying something is wrong doesn't make it so. (This is akin to the Third Grade Rule of Arguing. "You're stupid." "No, you are." No, you are.") Why is it wrong? Show your work. If you want to be president, lead the way. It's part of the job description.
But then, it's not just that Mr. Bush the younger says it's wrong, he actually says it's "arrogant" of scientists to draw their researched scientific conclusions. And once again, not only does he not provide a single scintilla of support for his assertion of "arrogance" -- not one, nothing, zero -- his non-scientific, layman claims against the near-entire peer reviewed scientific community is the definition of arrogance itself.
While we might like the image of the lone voice with arm raised railing against the powers of the world, it's worth remember that often when we see that person in real life, we carefully guide our children to the other side of the street and point as a warning why it's important to do homework and change your underwear at least once a week.
Let's be clear about something: this supposed "arrogance" is 197 world science organization that support the idea of man-made involvement in climate change. And I've yet to come across a single one (none) who say otherwise. Zippo, nada.
Even the last holdout, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (what a shock...) jumped ship in July, 2007. They changed their position and finally acknowledged in the very first sentence of their public statement: "In the last century, growth in human population has increased energy use. This has contributed additional carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases to the atmosphere." They weren't certain the degree to which the problem was man-made, but even they (the sole, remaining holdout) were at last recognizing that people were involved.
But now, with the Petroleum Geologists association even jumping ship, there are no world science organizations I can find who support what Jeb Bush is trying to contend. And 197 on the other side. Again, it's his right to believe whatever he does, or say the world is flat. Or that his brother actually got more votes in Florida than Al Gore. But to suggest that everyone else who are actual world science organizations, and 97% of "actively publishing climate scientists" -- which is how NASA describes it (NASA, for goodness sake!) -- are themselves "arrogant" belies all common sense.
Really, what on earth and in the ozone is Jeb Bush thinking?? Assuming that "thinking" is a term separate from "pandering."
But the thing is...it's not this "arrogance" claim that may even be the most strange thing in his comments about climate change. That's got the most attention, but it's something else that leaps out when you read the full statement he made on the subject. And that full statement was --
"Look, first of all, the climate is changing. I don't think the science is clear what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It's convoluted. And for the people to say the science is decided on, this is just really arrogant, to be honest with you. It's this intellectual arrogance that now you can't even have a conversation about it. The climate is changing, and we need to adapt to that reality."
There is a quagmire of blind contradictions here so deep and tortuously tangled that it makes America's getting out of Vietnam an easy task by comparison.
To begin with, after slamming climate scientists as "arrogant" for stating the results of their research as fact, Mr. Bush the younger then goes and himself states as fact that "the climate is changing." Now, much as I myself agree with him, he has to know that much of his own party's base doesn't. It's not at all decided among the radical far-right that the climate is changing. So, imagine the arrogance of Jeb Bush to say it is so -- and then repeat it, and then state that it is "reality."
But further, as he must know -- he just has to know, unless he's been holed up with Dick Cheney in seclusion meditating for the past eight years he's been out of office -- that much of this far-right base of his GOP is so adamant that the science isn't remotely decided on climate change (or "global warming" as they like to inaccurately call it) that their minds are lock-closed on accepting the research from the 97% of peer-reviewed climate scientists.
Here's the problem with that --
To be honest with you (as Mr. Bush likes to say a lot the past week, which is a shame because I think it would be much better for him if we thought maybe he was just joking) when I first read him stating, "It's this intellectual arrogance that you can't even have a conversation about it" -- I thought that he was talking about the Republican far-right base, and taking a swing at them! I mean, after all, that's the whole reason there's even a faux-debate on the subject of climate change. Then I came to my senses and understood he was just being disingenuous and contradictory -- and blithely unaware of the bizarre irony that he was doing it.
I just don't understand what Jeb Bush is doing this past couple weeks. If he wants to make any of these pronouncements, fair enough, it's his right. And his far-right. But that doesn't mean they don't make him look clueless and floundering, most especially when unsupported by anything to back them up.
But in the end, to be fair, here is the list of world scientific organizations that I've been able to find who support Jeb Bush's position that it's "arrogant" to claim there's man-made involvement in climate change --
And just to be completely above board, so that you know the full disclosure, here from the California Office of Planning & Research is the list of arrogant Worldwide Scientific Organizations that "hold the position that climate change has been caused by human action"
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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