GOP convention, day one: A platform built on oil, an argument based on inaccuracy
The Republican convention is underway. We’ve got robust coverage of their focus on climate change, but thought we’d look at what they’re saying about energy as well. After all, who knows? Maybe Republicans are newly committed to building sustainable energy systems and Mitt Romney is just out of sync.
El oh el.
The current Administration has used taxpayer dollars to pick winners and losers in the energy sector while publicly threatening to bankrupt anyone who builds a new coal-fired plant and has stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline. The current President has done nothing to disavow the scare campaign against hydraulic fracturing. Furthermore, he has wasted billions of taxpayers’ dollars by subsidizing favored companies like Solyndra, which generated bankruptcies rather than kilowatts.
To kick things off yesterday, the party released its platform [PDF], from which that nugget above is extracted. It’s from a lengthy section on energy containing nothing new, nothing based on existing science or assessments of energy realities — and of course no mention of climate change. (The platform does, however, include the party’s opposition to abortion for any reason, sharia law, and flag-burning.)
The New York Times compared this year’s Republican platform to 1980’s, finding that the party had moved forcefully to the right — and not only on energy. There is also a lot of misinformation, any number of inaccuracies, and healthy doses of spin in the platform, as the party struggles to make the case for policies that are well past their prime. Fittingly, there was plenty of the same at the podium last night.
It was a day late, but the Republicans’ parade of truth-twisting, distortions and plain falsehoods arrived on the podium of their national convention on Tuesday. Following in the footsteps of Mitt Romney’s campaign, rarely have so many convention speeches been based on such shaky foundations. …
Andy Barr, a Congressional candidate in Kentucky, made the particularly egregious charge that the president was conducting “a war on coal,” ruthlessly attacking an industry and thousands of struggling miners.
He was apparently referring to the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and prevent power-plant pollution from drifting through the East Coast states. The country desperately needs to reduce its reliance on coal, which is far more polluting than natural gas, but that goal gets harder to achieve every time someone like Mr. Barr makes it out to be an attack on a way of life.
The Times’ editors weren’t the only ones critical of what they saw. Esquire has a lengthy takedown, including of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s speech, which credited small government with her state’s low unemployment — instead of the oil on which it sits. The Los Angeles Times called out Rick Santorum’s repetition of an “inaccurate” attack by Romney.
The theme for the night was itself built on an inaccuracy: “We Built It,” playing off an out-of-context quote from the president. Obama’s quote was played repeatedly while introducing speakers, each time carefully removing the context that illustrated what the president actually meant: that government infrastructure helps business succeed. Republicans in the room chanted “We built it!” while waving hand-made signs that were passed out to them by organizers.
Tonight’s theme is “We Can Change It.” When it comes to deceptive politics and a reliance on dirty, polluting energy sources, the Republican party has already demonstrated that it can’t change a thing. But that won’t stop them from making the argument. After all, as a Romney pollster said yesterday, the campaign won’t be “dictated by fact checkers.” Nor will its policies, including on energy, be dictated by facts.