Rep. Joe Barton On Climategate: Are Scientists “Brainwashing” America?


Yesterday, Representative Joe Barton, known to his critics as “Smokey Joe” for his staunchly free-market, anti-regulation stance on corporate pollution, went on C-SPAN to discuss … wait for it … Climategate.

The Climategate affair, and the public skepticism about man-made global warming that it has helped produce, have to be a small triumph for a man who has been a staunch skeptic since before it was fashionable.

From the interview with The Hill’s Ben Gemen and C-SPAN’s Steve Scully:

Gemen: I guess I’m still just a little bit puzzled by how so many scientists across such a spectrum in your view could have all gotten it so catastrophically wrong?

Barton: Well if they all believe in the theory and they’re funded and they’re part of a group that it’s in their academic, professional career to prove that theory right, they can kind of brainwash themselves. Now I’m not saying they’ve done that, but I’m saying that’s a fair question. And the more that comes out the more relevant that question becomes.

Scully: Are they brainwashing Americans?

Barton: I think some of them have tried to.

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, ever acerbic: “It’s like a six-course meal of stupid.”

To his credit, Barton isn’t one of the bandwagon-jumpers who have suddenly become vocal climate change skeptics in the wake of Climategate: he’s been at the forefront for some time now.

The environment-minded League of Conservation Voters has never given him a rating of higher than 5% since 1999. Last year, the LCV gave him a rating of 0% for voting, among other things, to eliminate funding for all of the environmental staff in the White House, to prevent the National Marine Fisheries Service from taking measures to protect wild salmon and other species, and against a bill to “recodify the authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security to enhance security and protect against acts of terrorism against chemical facilities.”

(h/t Crooks and Liars)

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