As The World Warms

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 22 2015 @ 3:20pm

In a bizarre bit of political theater yesterday, Senate Democrats tried to force their GOP counterparts to go on the record about whether or not climate change is a hoax:

The Senate overwhelmingly voted, 98-1, in favor of an amendment stating that “climate change is real and not a hoax.” In an amusing twist, the chamber’s most notorious climate denier, Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, signed on to the amendment at the last minute, mostly because it didn’t attribute a cause to global warming. “The climate is changing. The climate has always changed,” Inhofe said. He then criticized supporters of man-caused climate change by saying that the real “hoax” was “that there are some people that are so arrogant to think” that they can change the climate. (The only senator to oppose that statement was Roger Wicker, a conservative from Mississippi.)

Phillip Bump sighs:

It was a nifty, if insincere, bit of politics. There’s no question that a vote against a flat statement that climate change is real could have been problematic for candidates down the road – especially for those various Republican senators quietly preparing for the big election in 2016. With Inhofe’s re-framing the question, the Democrats, trying to engineer a gotcha moment, ended up empty-handed on the vote, with neither the satisfaction of nailing down opposition to scientific consensus and without a point of leverage for future discussions of addressing the warming planet.

Nonetheless, Rebecca Leber applauds the Dems’ strategic trolling:

The Washington Examiner’Zack Colman reported Monday that Republicans are regrouping to consider a new strategy on climate. “They’re going to try to drag their feet as long as possible, but there are certain things out there that could bring the predominant GOP position to light,” Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist and former adviser to John McCain, told Colman. “They want to at least have a unified position and they want to be able to have their ducks in a row. And if they have a solution, they want to have one that has the least impact on the economy.”

That the GOP is strategizing about climate change is itself an admission that they don’t have a climate plan. And until they actually come up with one, they’ll be easy marks for the environmentally minded Democrats who are laughing at their expense.