Virginia State Sen. Mark Obenshain (far-far-right “R”) is nothing if not consistent. Consistently wrong, that is. In a recent debate with Democratic State Senate nominee April Moore, for instance, Obenshain had absolutely no coherent response to Moore’s argument in favor of Medicaid expsansion. Now, watch as Moore articulately and accurately explains very well why the Virginia Coastal Protection Act – sponsored by a Republican, no less – makes a great deal of sense as a market-oriented way to deal with the threat of climate change to the Hampton Roads area. Among other things, as Moore points out, this bill is both economically positive and also helps shore up our coastline, “which is very important because we have the largest naval base in the world and it’s vulnerable.”
In response, Obenshain begain by condescendingly turning to “April” and mansplainin’ to her how she sounds “a little like President Obama speaking to our service academy trying to tell the men and women of our military that global warming is the #1 threat facing our nation.” Of course, President Obama – and April Moore, and the vast majority of climate scientists, and many leaders of the U.S. military, etc, etc, etc, all agree that climate change IS a huge threat facing our nation, including our national security. That’s one of the many reasons why the military is racing to shift away from fossil fuels and towards clean, non-carbon-emitting renewable energy. It’s also why climate science deniers are putting the U.S. military – and our nation – at risk.
So now, the shocker: unlike many in his virulently anti-science party, Sen. Mark Obenshain – perhaps for the first time publicly – here acknowledges that global warming “is a threat, and we need to address it.” I mean, in a way, I suppose we should give Obenshain credit for doing what so many in his party can’t bring themselves to do. On the other hand….seriously? We’ve got to give people CREDIT for acknowledging what scientists have realized for a century or more, that human emissions of greenhouse gases is changing our climate, in potentially disastrous ways? Heck, as InsideClimate News’ groundbreaking journalism (side note: why didn’t the corporate media uncover this ages ago?!?) has found, top executives at ExxonMobil were warned DECADES ago by their own scientists that carbon emission from oil and other fossil fuels was leading to disaster. Of course, armed with this knowledge, ExxonMobil did….well, actually, worse than nothing, launching a decades-long climate science denial effort that continues to this day.
As for Mark Obenshain, he’s about where ExxonMobil was back in 1977, when its scientists told the company’s senior management that “there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.” So, mazel tov to Mark Obenshain for figuring out, 38 years later, what one of the world’s top fossil fuel companies knew back when he was 15 years old: that global warming “is a htreat, and we need to address it.”
Unfortunately (but predictably, given what disordered, even deranged, thinking this guy has engaged in over the years), Obenshain is responding to this threat in many ways as ExxonMobil did decades ago; by advoating, essentially, that we do nothing about it. So yeah, it’s like saying “I’ve been told by the auto mechanics that my car with the leaking gas tank will explode and kill my family and me at some point in the next couple years, unless I take it into the shop and get it fixed, but…nah, not going to bother, got better things to do – whatever.” The question is, just like with the car example, which is worse in the case of global warming: willful ignorance on the one hand, or acknowledgement that there IS a problem, but then refusal to do anything about it? It’s hard to decide, but one thing’s for sure: both should be disqualifiers for holding public office.