“Romney must have recognized that what he was doing was not working and he needed to shake the race up. He’s rolled the dice.”
—Scott Reed, who managed Republican nominee Bob Dole’s presidential campaign in 1996.
Mitt Romney has made his choice for his vice-presidential running mate. Paul Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, and not the person most would have predicted for Romney’s choice. A more reasonable choice might have been Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey who despite being a staunch Republican believes in the benefits of wind energy. Swing voters might like that.
Picking Ryan means that Romney is planning to focus hard on the Republican base, maintaining support from the Tea Partiers. He plans to slash spending, reduce government, replace Medicare with a voucher system and slash state funding for Medicaid, and hopefully reduce the deficit (although drastic cuts did nothing to help the United Kingdom and their deficit, so he might have a tough time explaining how he’ll avoid the same fate with his plan).
But Ryan is also a vehement denier of global warming. He has accused climate scientists of a “perversion of the scientific method, where data were manipulated to support a predetermined conclusion,” in order to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” All of these accusations were proven false. I’ve never been able to find a good answer as to how 98 percent of all climate scientists around the world could ever coordinate such a conspiracy, or even what they might have to gain by doing so. In contrast, big oil companies which spread much of the misinformation have billions of dollars to gain by doing so.
Here are some highlights of Paul Ryan’s track record for the environment:
- voted to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from limiting greenhouse gas pollution
- voted to eliminate White House climate advisors
- voted against the Climate Protection Plan, preventing the Department of Agriculture from preparing for climate-related disasters such as the current US drought
- voted to eliminate the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency
- argued that snow helps to disprove global warming, stating that “unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow.”
- voted to eliminate light bulb efficiency standards
- voted for the Keystone XL Pipeline
- created a budget for 2013 that maintains $40 billion worth of subsidies for big oil companies, yet at the same time slashes funding for investments in clean energy research, development, deployment, and commercialization, along with other energy programs.
Although I usually say that if a population vote in the wrong political leaders, then they get what they deserve. The only problem this time is that it’s not just the American people who will suffer. The US continues to be one of the top two greenhouse gas emitters on the planet, and if they also have a White House that doesn’t even believe climate change is an issue worth fighting, then everyone all over the world for generations to come will suffer.