Saturday, May 6, 2017

                               CALL THE EXTERMINATORS,

A liberal editor has finally pointed to the existance of Chris Mooney's darkest polemic nightmare -  The Niskanen Center,  a  sensible think-tank  on the right-hand side of the Republican party.   What's worse, one whose resident climate scientist is, wait for it, an actual climate scientist who knows what he's talking about. The curious institution in question is one the Tea Party equally deplores, for it is run by a Conservative of impeccable credentials, Jerry Taylor , who prior to founding the Center in 2014,  spent 23 years at the Cato Institute, going from director of natural resource studies to vice president. , and earlier directed the  energy and environment task force at the much anathematized American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

All of which must be the envy of the Heartland Institute, whose chief carnival barker has long been that beau ideal of a climate denier,  Jerry Taylor's less preposessing younger brother  Jim. The existance of this unlikely sibling pair was surfaced last month in Intercept by Sharon Lerner , and the new libertarian think tank passed under my radar until now because the infant institution did not figure greatly in last year's Presidential campaign.

Its  director of Federal affairs is former  Senate staffer  Andrew Mills and its  advisory board masthead  full of real and wannabe Republican eminentoes from  The  Hoover Institution's George Schultz,  to The  Atlantic's John Frum and it is based  far removed from the fever-swamps of the Potomac, many inches above sea level on Nth Street in DC 

Though Oil patch folk  may already be knocking on its doors-  one Adjunct Fellow's law partner  retired from ExxonMobil as Climate Policy Manager at the end of 2012, it remains a major improvement on Heartland, where Jerry Taylor's less intelligent Fraktivist  brother remains answerable to a 'Science Director'  best known for time spent in the Federal pen for defrauding the EPA of $100,000 of the taxpayer's money.

If a White House  still perilously short-staffed cannot revive the Heritage Foundation  from its customary intellectual torpor, it could do worse than to turn to N Street to undo some of the damage done , and good left undone, by  the K  Street Teapartistas, Heartland included- witness this   snip of Lerner's interview  with the Niskanen dierctor about his Cato days:

How do you feel about the work you did in those years?
I regret a lot of it. I wish I had taken more care and done more due diligence on the arguments I had been forwarding.  I also introduced one of my brothers,  James Taylor,  to the folks at the Heartland Institute. Heartland’s rise to dominate market share in climate denialism largely occurred under my brother.  Boy do I regret that.
And he still is still a climate denier. So what is that like? Do you talk about climate change at Thanksgiving?
We agree to disagree and don’t discuss it. And we don’t spend a lot of Thanksgivings together.

SL: I frequently hear about Republican lawmakers who don’t believe their own climate denials. Do you know many people who are in that camp?

JT: I have talked to many of them in confidence. There are between 40 and 50 in the House and maybe 10 to 12 in the Senate. They’re all looking for a way out of the denialist penitentiary they’ve been put into by the Tea Party. But they’re not sure what the Republican response ought to look like exactly and when the political window is going to open.

SL: When do you think these Republicans will come out about their concern about climate change?

JT: The wall of denial in the GOP looks awful frightening from afar but it is crumbling. And it can change quickly. People forget that it was only a decade ago that the party had a climate platform that could have been written by Sheldon Whitehouse. And during the last election cycle, Carlos Curbelo, Ryan Costello, and Rob Portman all ran as climate moderates and paid no political price.