Philip Klein on Bill Clinton & Global Warming: No Takedown of a Takedown Here


Newport, R.I.: Fishing Boat Deck 6/11/12

Bill Clinton got a lot of progressive kudos for his climate ‘takedown’ of Mitt Romney on Oct. 30.  Philip Klein, senior editorial writer for the conservative website, The Washington Examiner, offers a corrective (links as published):

I thought it was worth breaking down his statement to demonstrate why his point falls flat.

 Here’s Clinton (video):

 “I was actually listening closely to what the candidates said in these debates. In the first debate, the triumph of the moderate Mitt Romney. You remember what he did? He ridiculed the president – ridiculed the president for his efforts to fight global warming in economically beneficial ways. He said ‘Oh, you’re going to turn back the seas.’”

 Clinton couldn’t have been listening too closely, because Romney never made such a statement in the first debate. In fact, neither candidate nor any moderator in the three debates ever mentioned the issue of global warming.

Klein is right, to the candidates’ and their interlocutors’ shame.  Then he makes a telling point, only not the one he thinks he’s making:

Romney did criticize Obama’s failed investments in green energy from an economic policy standpoint. Separately, in his speech to the Republican National Convention, Romney did say, “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.” That was an attempt to mock Obama’s lofty rhetoric the first time he ran for office.

I wonder how many ‘yous’ and their families now wish ‘President Obama … [had begun] to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet.’

Romney’s poor performance on Merrimack Valley flood relief during his governorship illuminates how he’d handle disaster relief.  He was unwilling to spend moneys that were available in the state budget, leaving communities to their own devices.  We’re not talking about someone whose record and public utterances are obscure.  Romney’s record shows he meant what he said about pushing disaster relief to the lowest governmental level possible.

Tell me, how does that implement Gov. Romney’s ‘promise … to help you and your family’ when they need it most.

Here’s the rest of Klein’s post:

Clinton continued:

 “In my part of America, we would like it if someone could’ve done that yesterday. All up and down the East Coast, there are mayors, many of them Republicans, who are being told, ‘You’ve got to move these houses back away from the ocean. You’ve got to lift them up. Climate change is going to raise the water levels on a permanent basis. If you want your town insured, you have to do this.’”

 So, the implication of this section is that even Republican mayors are starting to realize the consequences if we don’t address global warming. And yet, Clinton concludes by saying…

 “In the real world, Barack Obama’s policies work better.”

 Huh? Far from proving the efficacy of Obama’s policies, the real world evidence that Clinton presented better supports Romney’s point that it was absurd for Obama to promise to lower ocean levels.

Well, a double ‘Huh?’ right back at you, Mr. Klein.  President Obama’s promise ‘to begin to slow the rise of the oceans’ whilst preparing coastal communities for flooding seems like pretty good policy to me.

Now, if the Republicans and Tea-Party types would fund it….