Newt, Your Ad With Pelosi Wasn’t Dumb

December 5th, 2011 at 11:59 pm | 31 Comments |

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Newt Gingrich recently described his 2008 appearance in a 30-second ad with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “the dumbest single thing I’ve done.” Many conservatives share a negative view of it. Ron Paul, for instance, cites the ad as an example of Newt’s “serial hypocrisy.”

Curious, I took a look at the ad, eager to assess its dumbness. Here’s the full transcript:

Pelosi: Hi, I’m Nancy Pelosi, lifelong Democrat and speaker of the House.

Gingrich: And I’m Newt Gingrich, lifelong Republican and I used to be speaker.

Pelosi: We don’t always see eye to eye, do we, Newt?

Gingrich: No, but we do agree, our country must take action to address climate change.

Pelosi: We need cleaner forms of energy and we need them fast.

Gingrich: If enough of us demand action from our leaders, we can spark the innovation we need.

Pelosi: Go to wecansolveit.org. Together we can do this.

Now, I think it’s fair to say I’m not a Gingrich supporter. In fact, a brief but heated post I wrote about Gingrich and the so-called Ground Zero Mosque last year ended up being one of the most widely read items ever on my blog Quicksilber, thanks to a citation by David Frum.

Still, I now rise in defense of Newt Gingrich on the matter of his climate-change ad with Nancy Pelosi.

What exactly is so dumb about it? Surely it’s not the substance of his statements. Look at the substantive parts again:

Our country must take action to address climate change.

And,

If enough of us demand action from our leaders, we can spark the innovation we need.

What’s so objectionable? Is it the notion that climate change is occurring? There is a vast body of evidence that it is, in the form of a long-term rise in average global temperatures. There is also ample evidence that this change is due primarily to anthropogenic carbon emissions.

But let’s say that one is, perversely, in denial about such facts. Well, there’s still a lot to like in what Gingrich has said here. Note that he never says what measures he wants to see taken, other than that it involves “innovation” and it’s implied that he agrees with Pelosi that we need “cleaner forms of energy.”

“Cleaner energy” would be a worthwhile and important cause even if there were no anthropogenic global warming. Coal produces pollution that kills thousands of Americans each year; coal mining also results in environmental despoliation such as cutting off the tops of mountains.

Oil also produces significant air pollution, as well as other environmental damage through spills. Plus, oil presents vast geopolitical hazards, though the location of its sources and supply lines in various volatile and unfriendly parts of the world.

“Innovation” in energy technology would be a good idea even if there were no anthropogenic global warming. Developing cleaner and safer energy sources should be a national priority in any event. The fact that there is anthropogenic global warming means that innovating cleaner energy should be a very high priority.

The only thing dumb about Gingrich’s 2008 ad was that he failed to anticipate that appearing with Pelosi and having even a vague point of agreement with her about energy, or indeed about anything, would be anathema to Republican primary voters in 2012. Other than that, what Gingrich said was smart.

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31 Comments so far ↓

  • Ray_Harwick

    Newt has merely reassessed his priorities. As the new Champion of Faith and Families his experience and leadership it vital so if the Maldives Islands, Romney’s man-made beach in New Hampshire, and the Florida Keys no longer exist in a few years, know that stronger families and unshakable faith are the result of this reshuffling.

  • Graychin

    Newt handled it well – apologize and move on. Smarter than trying to defend the indefensible.

    I’m not sure which was worse – agreeing with Pelosi or embracing climate change. Probably the former, since most if the candidates have been moving towards the denier camp.

  • djmeph

    It’s a bit audacious for Newt to act like it’s not just as bad, if not worse, for Pelosi to be seen next to him.

    • TJ Parker

      Yah! Sitting next to Pelosi is the worst thing!!

      1. Cooties
      2. Girl germs.
      3. Eew, Pelosi!
      4. What if someone notices the boner? Damned Cialis!

  • TJ Parker

    Knut is perhaps the single most repellent man in politics today. Pious adulterer. Assholier than thou. If he wins the nominiation, I can’t imagine a scenario – win or lose the White House – in which Knut is good for long term GOP interests.

  • armstp

    Gingrich should feel privledge to sit beside a woman who presided over one of the most successful congresses of all time, a woman who became the most powerful woman politician of all time and a woman who consistently wins her district by close to 80%. Pelosi will go down as one of the greatest U.S. politicians of all time and Gingrich not so much.

  • ReaperMMA

    This was dumb because the climate change is a naturally occurring due to the position of earth and the sun. Man made carbon is not enough to cause the icebergs to melt and cause rising sea levels… The Climate Gate is a scam to cause Americans to pay for their carbon usage. At first there will be Carbon Credit’s for people who do not use X amount of carbon, so there will be a payment made to that person like a tax/carbon refund… This will all open the door to the Carbon Tax that will be a payment that all individuals will have to pay to the world bank. Don’t fall for the Climate Gate. If you want to do something good you should get an electric car and get solar panels at your home and business. Don’t just OK whatever these non scientific politicians tell you. There will be scientists that are paid to tell you the humans are the problem why with all their breathing and driving and buying petro plastics. We are microscopic from the relative mass of the earth. If you in the future vote for the Carbon Tax you will be causing the whole world to participate in the payment of the people who run this and other frauds and it will go toward their wealth. It won’t change the climate change.

    • more5600

      People as woefully misinformed as you are are the reason that Newt considers this one of the stupidest things he’s done. I think you have only read partisan spin regarding “Climate-gate” which was extremely limited in scope and has in no way undermined the fundamental science, do yourself a favor and find the final findings and read.

    • Velocity

      “because the climate change is a naturally occurring due to the position of earth and the sun.”

      No, it’s not.

      “Man made carbon is not enough to cause the icebergs to melt and cause rising sea levels”

      Yes, it is.

      • Bebe99

        Silly to compare human mass to the mass of the Earth-we can’t live in the core or mantle of the Earth, so why count that? In comparison, the crust and breathable part of the atmosphere are really thin. But what does comparing the mass of humans to the mass of the livable part of the Earth even have to do with the gases making up the atmosphere? I’m surprised at the number of people who buy into this nonsense that we can’t possibly have an effect on the Earth because it is so big and we’re so small. There are 7 billion of us!

    • ReaperMMA

      Here is a site that links reputable news sources, scientists and politics that know allot more about Climate Gate than myself or anyone casting stones at me for my side of the argument. Global Warming is a scam. This is my opinion and if I am a troll for sharing my points of view and your views are better than mine then I guess this room is too classy for me! Keep the insults rolling if it makes any of you feel better about yourselves.

      http://www.climategatefacts.com/

  • nhthinker

    American coal and oil produced a full employment, upwardly mobile economy for the USA.
    It is not coincidence that the erosion of America’s economic power coincided with the tree-huggers and trial lawyers ability to stop low cost American power sources from coal to NG to nuclear to oil.
    Heavy industry moved away, followed by manufacturing. A large portion of the trade imbalance can be directly tied to the efforts of advocates like Gore, Silber, and Pelosi.

    America is much more energy rich than China- Our potential for reversing the trade imbalance is when China runs out of energy and water in the next 20 years.

    Even Google recently gave up on creating an energy source that can be lower cost than coal.

    • more5600

      Please cite me actual legislation or any actual American policy changes that support your absurd claims. Even in the hay day you speak of the vast amount of oil still came from the Middle East not domestically.

    • armstp

      Nuclear is low cost? Really? Why do you think not a single new nuclear power plant has been built since the 1970s? It is not because of environment and safety concerns, but because nuclear has not been economical as it is too expensive. Investors have stayed away because nuclear does not make economic sense. Go read the literature.

      Boy, those “treehuggers” have had so much influence on the development of U.S. government energy policy. Wasn’t it the Energy industry who together with Cheney wrote U.S. energy policy. The “treehuggers” have really had an influence on stopping all the shale drilling and fracking that has exploded all over the U.S. Those record profits in the energy industry and the massive deregulation of utilities (Enron) really have been influenced by all those “tree huggers”. Etc. etc. etc.

      How cheap is coal once you factor in all the environment and human costs? Is coal still cheap once you factor in all its costs?

      “Heavy industry moved away, followed by manufacturing.”

      Are you saying that heavy industry has moved out of the U.S. because of energy? How do you figure, given that the U.S. has just about the lowest energy prices in the world?

      You seem to be all over the place. You are complaining about heavy industry and manufacturing moving out of the U.S. and then in your next statement you say that America is more energy rich than China. So if that is the case they why would heavy industry and manufacturing move to China? Maybe it is something more than just energy.

      “A large portion of the trade imbalance can be directly tied to the efforts of advocates like Gore, Silber, and Pelosi.”

      Do you have any actual proof to go along with this statement? How do you figure? Explain yourself.

      “Thinker” I think you need to do some more thinking.

    • Velocity

      The long-term costs of continuing to rely on fossil fuels is going to be far beyond the short-term costs of implementing conservation measures and switching to alternatives where possible now, and investing in further alternatives development. It’s either pay comparatively little now or pay a whole hell of a lot more down the road.

    • think4yourself

      @ NH: ” the erosion of America’s economic power coincided with the tree-huggers and trial lawyers ability to stop low cost American power sources from coal to NG to nuclear to oil.”

      Citations please. Since America’s economic power was virtually in it’s height in the 1990′s, that must mean the tree-huggers and trial lawyers power was less then and was greater in the 2000′s and today. Of course as Armstp noted, in the 2000′s Dick Cheney certainly had no impact on energy policy. I’m sure the housing market and recession had no impact on America’s economic power either.

      “Even Google recently gave up on creating an energy source that can be lower cost than coal.”

      False. In 2008 Google installed 4 “Bloom Boxes”, fuel cell installations that generate 400KW at their main campus http://www.bloomenergy.com/customers/customer-story-google/.

      Like I said, citations please.

  • more5600

    The only problem from Gingrich’s position as an aspiring Tea-publican is that the commercial is for a web site that promotes Al Gore’s positions on Global Warming (the non-Luntz term)

    Go to http://www.wecansolveit.org and you will be redirected to Climate Reality, and God know the last thing today’s Republicans want to hear about is climate reality and therein lies the rub.

  • Baron Siegfried

    It’s really rather sad, when you think of it, that a GOP candidate feels compelled to apologize for an act of public rationality . . .

  • ottovbvs

    “would be anathema to Republican primary voters in 2012″

    You mean you didn’t know the Republican party would lose its mind Silber? But never mind YOU’LL still vote Republican won’t you.

    • Kenneth Silber

      I prefer to find out who the final candidates are and what they say before deciding for whom I’ll vote in the presidential election. That is, after all, the reality-based approach.

      • medinnus

        So, what you’re saying is that you’re a Huntsman supporter, or will you be voting for Obama?

  • LFC

    Newt, Your Ad With Pelosi Wasn’t Dumb

    No, but your appearances with Trump are beyond stupid!

  • LFC

    ReaperMMA said… “The Climate Gate is a scam to cause Americans to pay for their carbon usage. At first there will be Carbon Credit’s for people who do not use X amount of carbon, so there will be a payment made to that person like a tax/carbon refund… This will all open the door to the Carbon Tax that will be a payment that all individuals will have to pay to the world bank.”

    nhthinker said… “American coal and oil produced a full employment, upwardly mobile economy for the USA. It is not coincidence that the erosion of America’s economic power coincided with the tree-huggers and trial lawyers ability to stop low cost American power sources from coal to NG to nuclear to oil.”

    Is it my imagination or are we seeing dumber and less creative right-wing trolls here at FF?

    • smajor

      What do you mean? The earth is 5,000 years old and everyone knows that climate scientists got together and decided that the climate scam would be the best practical joke ever. That the ice caps are melting and temperatures are actually rising is just coincidence.

      Also, clearly coal and oil produced full employment. The country used to live in an unemployment-free utopia where coal miners laughed and danced all day. Right before the national guard was called in to murder a bunch of them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludlow_Massacre

  • Graychin

    Yesterday someone called Newt “the Godfather of Gridlock.”

    Very apt.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    Funny, I always thought the dumbest thing he ever did was carrying on an affair with his (lord knows how many) mistress while he was impeaching Obama for lying about his own affair. Or maybe it was when he explained that he had an affair because he loves America so much. Or how about suggesting 10 year olds be their school janitors. Or…. you know, I could go on all day. He has literally built a mountain of stupid that Hillary and Norgay themselves could not climb.

  • ReaperMMA

    Here is a site that links reputable news sources, scientists and politics that know allot more about Climate Gate than myself or anyone casting stones at me for my side of the argument. Global Warming is a scam. This is my opinion and if I am a troll for sharing my points of view and your views are better than mine then I guess this room is too classy for me! Keep the insults rolling if it makes any of you feel better about yourselves.

    http://www.climategatefacts.com/

  • Argy F

    I suspect there actually ARE people who believe that man-caused Climate Change is not a reality- but certainly none of the Presidential hopefuls are that naive – although since insincerity is the hallmark of their temperament – they espouse that position.

    I suspect they’d all sell their children’s kidneys for a few votes.