Political Animal


August 17, 2011 2:55 PM Perry sees climate change conspiracy

By Steve Benen

Remember, in 2008, when most Republican presidential candidates were at least willing to concede that climate change was real? When the GOP presidential ticket not only wanted to combat global warming but also presented a cap-and-trade plan? Those were good times.

They’re also long gone. Here’s Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), campaigning in New Hampshire this morning, sharing his vision of an international climate change conspiracy.

For those who can’t watch videos online, the GOP presidential candidate argued, “I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data, so that they will have dollars rolling into their, to their projects. I think we’re seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists who are coming forward and questioning, the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.

“Yes, our climate’s changed, they’ve been changing for ever-ever since the earth was formed, but I do not buy into that uh, a group of scientists, who have in some cases found to be manipulating this information and the cost to the country and to the world of implementing these uh, uh anti-carbon programs is in the billions if not trillions of dollars at the end of the, of the day, and I don’t think from my perspective I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven, and from my perspective is more and more being put into question.”

Even for Republicans, this is pretty nutty stuff. I’d expect Perry to say something like, “We can’t say for sure why the climate is changing,” or maybe go with a Romney/Huntsman line such as, “Dealing with this issue would hurt businesses, so we can’t afford it right now.”

But, no. This guy believes the entire scientific field and all of the climate data collected around the globe is all part of a money-grubbing conspiracy. What’s more, in Perry’s imagination, scientists who don’t exist are constantly coming forward to endorse the far-right line.

In case there are any doubts, everything Perry said is wrong.

Granted, I shouldn’t be too surprised. Perry did write a book not too long ago that argued “we have been experiencing a cooling trend,” which, again, doesn’t exist.

But there’s just something striking about watching the guy repeat the nonsense in public. This isn’t just routine right-wing palaver; this is Bachmann-level garbage.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • pacato on August 17, 2011 3:04 PM:

    the climate never changes when you have your head up your ass.

  • walt on August 17, 2011 3:04 PM:

    Given the epic drought in Texas (pretty much the scenario in computer climate modeling), Perry's anti-scientific theology might seem, well, insane. But True Believers (and on the right there are nothing but) will lap this up. Finally, revenge against all those pointy-headed intellectuals telling us we descended from monkeys and Earth is more than 6,000 years old!

    Perry's science is strictly Dogpatch but Dogpatch is the right-wing Mecca.

  • dp on August 17, 2011 3:05 PM:

    What do you expect from a guy who wrote a book called "F'ed Up"?

    I mean, I'm assuming that leaving out the apostrophe was just a typo, right?

  • stevio on August 17, 2011 3:06 PM:

    Put a curley wig on Perry and you've got Bachmann. Close crop Bachmann and you've got Mitt. Ever wonder why such stupid people get themselves into such positions of power? I mean,these people are world class stupid.

    I can see the lines of low information votes line jumping to get to vote for them first.


  • melior on August 17, 2011 3:07 PM:

    Oh so now it's not just teachers who are overpaid and unprincipled, it's scientists too? Gosh I had wondered who was making out like a bandit from the Bush recession, we can all stop looking at Wall Street now I guess.

  • Alex on August 17, 2011 3:09 PM:

    I guess you could argue that the left is funding these studies, but isn't it 100% factual (and publicly acknowledged) that the studies denying global warming *are* funded by industry, and that those scientists are saying what they need to to get paid? I mean seriously, just look at his paragraph without knowing who is saying it and it really seems like an environmentalist would have said that about the right wing machine. He is admitting that scientists can be bought, and therefore making the left's argument.

  • Jilli on August 17, 2011 3:11 PM:

    Lord this man turns my stomach. I live in Houston, and on any given day you can look out a downtown window to the east and see a brown layer of goo floating above the horizon - that's a somewhat separate issue, but...

    You would think after 18 consecutive days of 100+ temperatures and no measurable rain for months, this clown would think that somethings going on. He's GW Bush, only not as deep.

  • ckelly on August 17, 2011 3:13 PM:

    “Yes, our climate’s changed, they’ve been changing for ever-ever since the earth was formed."

    6000 years ago.

  • T2 on August 17, 2011 3:13 PM:

    Perry has worked very hard in TX to stymie Federal Clean Air guidelines, which relate to GW, because the main offenders are !surprise! the Petroleum Industry. Rick Perry even blamed the Gulf Oil Spill disaster on "God's will", not industry malfeasance.

    Like I wrote earlier.....it's a Gaffe-a-Day season for Perry. He's already going hard after Obama. If the Media wants to get this guy out of the race, it would be simple. But it's News, so they won't, soon at least. The act will get stale, however, and pretty soon stories about Perry will start to overtake stories generated by Perry.

  • karen on August 17, 2011 3:16 PM:

    Like so many Republicans these days, Perry exemplifies the danger of the combination of stupidity and narcissism. I remember wondering how George W. could possibly think he was prepared to be president; in this field, he'd be like the one-eyed man among the blind.

  • troglodyte on August 17, 2011 3:18 PM:

    Perry is just the logical consequence of the endless stream of disinformation that has been spewing from the climate deniers. As documented by Naomi Oreskes' book Merchants of Doubt, there is a pattern of technically competent "authorities" who deliberately distort the facts about environmental issues in order to impede government action on them. (Hello, Fred Singer and Marc Murano!) These folks are well-aware of their distortions, but not all of their followers are. Perry is just another yahoo who has been convinced by their disinformation. He is just as convinced of it as the typical troll who invades the comment threads of climate blogs and who thinks that Anthony Watts is a genius. Face it, folks, we have low-information presidential candidates whose knowledge of facts is no deeper than a typical Fox News viewer.

  • Robin on August 17, 2011 3:21 PM:

    See as a scientist I find this completely offensive, but setting that aside. Does he just pick and choose what science/research he believes? The HPV vaccine that was talked about this morning was documented with science. Actually, there's lots of evidence that suggests boys should have the vaccine as well. Oh wait, yes....believe some parts and not the parts you find inconvenient!

    And yes, I believe research about climate change and the HPV vaccine. My daughter got the shot upon my request.

  • Jeff In Ohio on August 17, 2011 3:22 PM:

    Perry says it's scientists manipulating the system for dollars because he can't say what he really believes.
    1. that man has dominion over the earth to use as he sees fit. If he fucks it up, God will fix it.
    2. if the earth is warming, it's Satan testing our will. Capitulating to Satan and attempting to fix our misuse of the planet will forsake God's will for our dominion and cast us from his favor.

    and the earth is 6000 years old. Science, how does it work?!?11!!

  • Anonymous on August 17, 2011 3:23 PM:

    "I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data, so that they will have dollars rolling into their, to their projects.

    Absoloute projection. Gov Goodhair believes whatever brings in the most $. From his point of view, of course scientists greedy in the same way -- they couldn't possibly have integrity, nor be ruled by the values of the scientific method which requires adherence to facts, truth and open review by peers. Such honesty would be beyond the imagination of a grifter like Perry.

  • Stephen Stralka on August 17, 2011 3:30 PM:

    Awesome. I look forward to watching Obama try to explain basic climate science to Rick Perry in the debates.

  • T2 on August 17, 2011 3:36 PM:

    Stralka - Perry doesn't do debates.

  • Mike on August 17, 2011 3:39 PM:

    I always chuckle at those who think that people who "believe" in global warming are just in it for the money. Like those who don't "believe" in it do so for purely altruistic reasons.

    The translation: I'll believe whatever makes my supporters the most money. Your supporters don't matter.

  • Anonymous on August 17, 2011 3:40 PM:

    "so that they will have dollars rolling into their, to their projects"

    And these dollars are coming from where?

    Wait a minute. Of course! Soros! And the Jewish bankers! And the Freemason!

  • JM917 on August 17, 2011 3:43 PM:

    To Perry and people who "think" like him, whatever climate change that now afflicts deep-frying, drought-beset Texas was probably cooked up by those pointy-headed, atheist, and money-grubbing scientists in league with Obama the Antichrist. (Just like other conspiracy addicts saw the hand of CIA-supported scientists in the HIV epidemic.)

    It's all very simple: Time to pray to Jesus to smite those evildoers!

    I'm pretty sure that Perry and the preachers around him will be able to convince at least 40% of Amuricans--that is, the bulk of the self-proclaimed Bible-believing Christians--that this is what's going on. Add to that the 10% or so who, as rationalist Ron Paul Libertarians, see climate science as a conspiracy against the Invisible Hand of the Market, and you've got half the country swallowing this hooey.

  • Josef K on August 17, 2011 3:48 PM:

    I repeat from last week: this man should not be allowed out in public without a leash and muzzle.

  • Zapp Rowsdower on August 17, 2011 3:50 PM:

    "Even for Republicans, this is pretty nutty stuff."

    It's not, though, Steve, it's the standard-issue Republican line. The whole "it's a conspiracy by politicized scienctists trying to get more project funding!" line became Accepted Right-Wing Truth a while ago; what's still a little nutty is the claim that "global warming is a scam designed to get us all to turn over our lives to the Central Planners, eradicating freedom and establishing socialism," which, sadly, I have seen more than a few wingers push.

  • Trollop on August 17, 2011 3:51 PM:

    Look whose talking about manipulating information..

    This guy should be homeless..

  • bigtuna on August 17, 2011 4:02 PM:

    Fine. De fund all the climate related science at all Texas universities.

    Move IODP center from TExas A&M to Woods Hole, or some place sane.

    J f C.... what a dumbshit

  • T2 on August 17, 2011 4:18 PM:

    now reports are out that FOX News owner Ailes is pushing NJ's Christie into the GOP race. Christie vs. Perry would be a swell match to watch. Two arrogant blow-hards going at it.

  • bob h on August 17, 2011 4:29 PM:

    James Hanson has suggested that the oil companies be sued for their attempts to discredit climate change science. I'm thinking Governor Hairpiece needs a defamation lawsuit.

  • square1 on August 17, 2011 4:56 PM:

    I find it fucking incredible that posting about a 9/11 conspiracy will get you booted from Daily Kos but unsubstantiated climate change conspiracy-mongering does not immediately discredit a Republican from running for President.

    It might help if, you know, elected Democrats who care about climate change treated these views with the contempt that they deserve.

  • beep52 on August 17, 2011 5:16 PM:

    ...this is Bachmann-level garbage.

    Cracked me up.

  • yellowdog on August 17, 2011 9:19 PM:

    Rick Perry is a former Democrat who backed Al Gore's first campaign for president, in 1988. I wonder if they are still on speaking terms? Probably not. Perry in 2009 had this to say about Gore: "I certainly got religion. I think he's gone to hell."

    And that, folks, is how you prove your mettle to GOP voters.

  • DaveR on August 18, 2011 7:53 AM:

    Not everything Perry said in the excerpt is wrong.

    He is correct when he says that climate science has become politicized. By folks like him...

  • Bill 55 on August 18, 2011 7:09 PM:

    So why does it matter whether there is or isn't man made climate change? The climate is changing. If there is something that can be done, do it. If there isn't, then move on. Why do the Republicans make this an issue? Do you have to hate clean air to be a Republican? Why is it so important to keep fossil fuelled cars on the road. Is that a Republican conspiracy to keep selling oil? KA CHING CA CHING!!!