T'other day NRO blogger Jim Geraghty lamented the problem "so-called global warming" posed for Republican Presidential candidates:
Rush Limbaugh is the King Leonidas of the conservative movement, but I'm struck by how regularly he jokes about the concept of global warming. A lot of his radio talk show brethren are in the same boat, saying day after day, "hey, cold weather today. So much for global warming."
The problem is, they're only preaching skepticism to the converted. The independents and the centrists and the soccer moms and everybody whose vote is needed in the general election is already convinced that it's happening. Whenever there's a big storm or unusual weather, they buy into it. If you put the finest skeptical scientists and researchers from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and American Enterprise Institute into a room with a couple hundred Americans, and let them talk until they're blue in the face, I'm not sure how much you would move the dials.
(To which I say, thank god Americans are finally learning to tell the boyzz from Exxon apart from real scientists. But I digress...).
Now, Creationist and rocker Roy Spencer has taken time off from bashing Al Gore in song to pen an ode of appreciation to Rush Limbaugh and his gut:
But in the case of global warming, Rush Limbaugh has decided to go with his gut instinct. Scientists can be (and have been) spectacularly wrong when pontificating on natural systems as complex as the Earth’s climate — or the human body. This instinct has served Rush well over the years, and in the case of global warming, I agree with him.
This position is also consistent with Rush’s recent emphasis on conservative principles over specific politicians. He frequently reminds listeners that America’s success has not come from its politicians, but from its people. Not from soaring (yet ambiguous) speeches, but from enduring ideals, creativity, hard work, and most of all — freedom.
But what if sticking to one’s guns on such an issue is just enough for the Republicans to lose the White House? Well, what is more important for the future of America: the party affiliation of the next president, or the decision to let government control how much energy people and business can use from now on?
Well, I am all for it when Conservatives are ready to go down on principle. Geraghty's preference, that Republicans
...get past the argument of whether it's happening, and get into the debate over what to do with it, and put GOP support for innovation up against Democratic carbon taxes.
...is a much harder argument to combat, since "encouraging innovation" is at the core of any response to AGW whether left or right, politically. It also leaves open the possibility of acting rhetorically while doing nothing in fact and hoping the population doesn't notice, which has been the Harper government's approach and not entirely unsuccessful (recent polls show a significant portion of Canadians are willing to give the Harper "plan" a few years before they judge it a success or failure).