During his State of the Union Address two Tuesdays ago, President Obama said that “no challenge—no challenge—poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” Yet last Sunday morning, for the second weekend in a row since the President’s SOTU, the four political talkies failed to field a single question on climate change, our greatest threat to future generations.
Of course, all four shows spoke at length about the Super Bowl, that monument to carbon-intensive consumption. NBC Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd even broke down the numbers on Americans’ snack preferences. But no one asked a question about climate change, the most terrifying, awfullest threat ever.
To be fair, there was at least a full mention of climate change, which is twice as many as last week. In probing Sen. Lindsey Graham about his presidential aspirations, CBS Face the Nation’s Norah O’Donnell listed the senior South Carolina’s senator’s “belie[f] in global warming” as being among his many electoral liabilities in any Republican primary. So “global warming” was indeed uttered on Sunday, albeit in a fashion meant to highlight the issue’s lack of voter appeal.
Apart from the absence of global warming talk, the energy/environment highlight of the weekend was, without a doubt, an informative discussion on the President’s new anti-energy policy for Alaska on Saturday’s McLaughlin Group. The smart segment led off the program, and aptly demonstrates why the show is the finest of the remaining weekend political broadcasts. I’ve reposted video and the opening of the transcript after the break. I recommend at least reading the excerpt from the transcript; it lends a concise history of the issue.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Issue One: Obama Goes Wild.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I’m proud my Department of Interior has put forward a comprehensive plan to make sure that we’re protecting the refuge, and that we’re designating new areas including coastal plains for preservation. And I’m going to be calling on Congress to make sure they take it one step further by designating it a wilderness so that we can make sure that this amazing wonder is preserved for future generations.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): President Obama is pushing Congress to restrict vast areas of the National Wildlife Refuge, also known as ANWR, including offshore areas from future energy development by declaring these lands wilderness, permanent development of any kind, including roads, would be prohibited.
Environmental activists have reacted with elation. From their perspective, Alaska’s wildlife refuge is a national treasure that must be preserved at all costs.
But Alaska lawmakers are furious. They believe the federal government is impending American energy independence.
Here’s 14 years senior senator from Alaska, Republican Lisa Murkowski, echoing the position of Ronald Reagan in 1987, recommending oil development in the refuge and denouncing the Barack Obama designation of Alaska as a wilderness.
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: We feel that this is a frontal attack on the state of Alaska and our ability to develop resources for the good of Alaskans and for the good of the country. This is not just about Alaska. Our oil comes to you guys, down here.
MCLAUGHLIN: If you think Senator Murkowski sounded angry, listen to how 40-plus years in Congress Alaska Representative Don Young described the president.
REP. DON YOUNG (R), ALASKA: He lectures the legislative body — you’re not important. I’m the king. Disgusting for the nation, disgusting for the people. This man, this person, has gone completely whacko. This is an attack upon a state, attack upon previous laws, attack upon the nation.
MCLAUGHLIN: Newly-elected Senator Dan Sullivan thinks the environmental lobby is living in another era.
SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R), ALASKA: We have ways in which, whether it’s ice roads, ice pods for drilling, only in the winter, where we do these things, shoot 3d seismic, that literally has zero impact on the tundra literally. And, you know, we need to make sure that that element of the debate, people are more aware of.
MCLAUGHLIN: In 1980, Congress specifically set aside portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for future oil and gas exploration, including acreage that President Obama has now unilaterally designated as a wilderness area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Why has President Obama broke a 1980 ANWR compromise?