How did I miss this whopper?! Republican Congressional candidate Rodney Davis claimed during a radio interview that climate change stopped sixteen years ago.
Clearly, you can tell that’s true because over the last several years we definitely haven’t had an unusual degree of extreme flooding along the Mississippi, no extreme droughts, and no Frankenstorms. Oh yeah, wait, those things are happening more often and it’s exactly what scientists told us to expect as a result of climate change.
You can listen to his comment after the 42:00-minute mark during a Focus interview on WILL public radio. A caller asked Davis how he plans to deal with climate change (no, it wasn’t me this time). Davis answered by claiming that, according to recent reports, “global warming stopped about sixteen years ago.”
Then he launched into his usual repetition of the Exxon/Koch Brothers talking point that there’s still a debate about whether man-made pollution is causing the crisis. It’s the argument climate change deniers have retreated to now that it’s impossible to ignore the change that’s already happening. As always, he dodged saying where he stands on whether man-made pollutants are the problem. He has gone through the entire campaign refusing to tell which side of that debate he’s on.
The caller interrupted Davis to tell him “that’s absolutely wrong” about climate change stopping, and challenged him to talk to a Nobel Prize winner at the University of Illinois about the scientific reality. That guy deserves a gold star. He may have been referring to a Professor of Atmospheric Science, Don Wuebbles, an outspoken, internationally recognized expert on climate issues who’s right here in central Illinois.
I googled the wacky claim about global warming stopping sixteen years ago and discovered it has been making the rounds on right-wing blogs and talk radio shows like Glenn Beck’s. It started with discredited writer Davis Rose publishing an article in a conservative British tabloid, which claimed there’s a report showing global temperatures stopped rising in 1996. The original report came from the British Met office.
Democrat David Gill and Republican Rodney Davis shared the same stage for their debate last night, but they’re clearly not living in the same reality. Let’s review a few issues.
Debt and Taxes
Rodney Davis started the debate by saying his top issue is cutting the national debt. His plan for doing so is to cut taxes. Seriously. He wants to reduce revenue to bring down the debt. He doesn’t believe in that arithmetic thing Bill Clinton was talking about.
Later in the debate a student question asked the obvious. Are spending cuts alone without a tax increase enough to deal with the debt, and what, specifically, would you cut from the budget?
Davis again repeated the magical debt-reducing tax cut theory that worked so well for George W. Bush. He didn’t name any specific spending cuts he would support. He told the university audience that his unspecified spending cuts would free up more money to spend on student financial aid for college.
In a single debate, Davis claimed that everyone will get tax cuts, that tax cuts will reduce the deficit, that only things you don’t like will be cut from the budget, and all the spending you do like will still be increased. Also, everyone gets a unicorn that farts glitter.
David Gill said he supports ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, but does not support any tax increase on the middle class. Unlike Davis, he named something specific he would cut. Gill thinks we should already be out of Afghanistan and that military spending can be cut as we withdraw.
Gill’s plan of proposing specific cuts in a bloated part of the budget, and expiring the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy could be described as a reality-based strategy to cutting the debt. Counting on trickle-down tax cuts to magically grow the economy, as Davis suggests, is exactly how we got the debts of the Reagan and Bush years.
Energy and Climate Change
The moderators didn’t bring up climate change, but David Gill did twice. First, he brought up the droughts that hit farmers hard this year and spoke about the need to keep things from getting even worse due to climate change. He later said he takes a science-based approach to the issue, and that it’s a real problem we need to deal with.
Gill says that if we’re going to subsidize energy sources that it should be clean tech development rather than subsidies going to oil and dirty energy. He brought up the dirty industry dollars going to the Davis campaign several times, including donations from Exxon, Exelon, and the Koch brothers.
Davis debated both Gill and his own flip-flopping positions on energy. First, he said he opposed federal support to clean energy projects like Solyndra. When asked directly about the clean energy tax credit for wind, he said he supported it, even though he opposed them just last week. Later he went back to attacking federal spending for clean energy yet again.
Davis flip-flopped three times in under an hour, and never said a word about climate change. He doesn’t appear to believe in either science or arithmetic.
Health Care Choice
Rodney Davis repeatedly used the fear tactic of telling people that universal health care will result in the government dictating their choice of doctors and health care decisions. He believes a “market-based” insurance system will give people the freedom to choose their own doctors and health care options. It gets truly bizarre when Davis supports this argument by pointing to his own experience while being on a government, taxpayer-funded health care plan provided by his federal government job. Continue reading Congressional candidates Gill, Davis occupy same stage but different realities. IL-13
It finally happened! During an interview with the State Journal-Register editorial board, Rodney Davis was asked if he accepts the scientific consensus behind climate change.
The question came near the end of their interview with the three candidates in the 13th District Congressional race (at 53:00 in the video online). It was finally discussed after independent candidate John Hartman scolded the SJR editorial board for not asking about an issue as important as climate change. When asked if it’s man-made, Hartman spoke about the broad scientific consensus that man-made pollution is driving the climate crisis.
David Gill reinforced the position on his campaign website, saying, “It’s not a question of belief, it’s a question of what is. The science is extremely clear on this. It’s very, very real and it’s a grave threat. Irreversible damage is already taking place now. The failure of the Exxon-Mobil funded politicians in Washington D.C. to address it appropriately is perhaps the biggest mistake that we’re making.”
Gill didn’t mention that his Republican opponent, Rodney Davis, already took the maximum allowable campaign contributions from Exxon and the Koch brothers PAC. Both Exxon and the Koch brothers funded deceptive propaganda campaigns to spread doubt about the science of climate change. Does Davis represent the views of his corporate sponsors who try to undermine science?
Davis claimed that, “I think we all agree that climate change is reality. There’s a debate between how much of it is man-made and how much of it is due to natural causes.” He didn’t say where he stands in that debate.
Once again, Davis dodged saying plainly what he believes about climate change science. Furthermore, his claim about the debate is misleading. There’s broad scientific consensus that man-made pollutants are driving greenhouse gasses far beyond normal levels, causing the planetary emergency we face now.
After it became impossible to deny that climate change was already happening, the deniers switched to the “natural causes” argument in an attempt to cast doubt on the scientific consensus. Davis is repeating the misleading talking points used by the fossil fuel industry and their puppets like Glenn Beck, James Inhofe, and John Shimkus. He passed on the opportunity to distinguish himself from the anti-science conspiracy theorists who support his campaign.
Davis even brought out the old straw-man argument I often hear from coal industry spokesmen, that we can’t power the country on wind and solar alone. Back on planet reality, no one is seriously proposing we try doing that in the near future. What people do propose is that we create jobs by quickly building a lot of new clean energy. Unfortunately, Davis made it clear in his interview that he opposes meaningful policies to expand wind and solar.
When pressed about what tax loopholes he would close, Davis said “I would like to take away the energy tax credit that gave us the Solyndras of the world.”
I’ve heard that Republicans have a guy following around Democratic Congressional candidate David Gill in surgical scrubs and calling himself “Dr. Radical.” The Illinois Republican Party (where Gill’s opponent, Rodney Davis, used to be Executive Director) has a website to match, complete with a cartoonishly bad photoshop job of Gill putting on a surgical glove, as if he’s about to perform a colonoscopy.
The website is mostly full of gross distortions about Gill wanting to end Medicare, when the reality is that he would essentially extend it to everyone. But, the best part is when this sophomoric, ugly campaign site accuses David Gill of “not running a positive campaign.” Seriously!
This made me laugh for a good ten minutes. Isn’t that the perfect conservative talk-radio style attack? The site is saying, “We expect you to run a positive campaign while we call you childish names and lie about your platform.” It reminds me of Mitt Romney’s recent whining that Obama is running a negative campaign after Romney spent the past year lying about Obama’s record. Davis and Romney want everyone else to follow the rules they ignore.
It’s standard operating procedure for talk radio conservatives to accuse Democrats of anything shameful that Republicans are in the process of doing. My favorite was during the Mark Foley Congressional page scandal when Fox News kept bringing up a similar 30-year-old scandal involving a Democrat. Was that supposed to be an excuse for Foley?
Another example is when you have a candidate, like Rodney Davis, who wants to put everyone’s health care in the hands of the private insurance industry, which obviously wouldn’t include a public program like Medicare. Falsely accusing Gill of wanting to end Medicare is a tactic to blur the distinction between the two candidates. Now, reporters who want to seem balanced will write headlines like “both campaigns accuse the other of attacking Medicare” and the issue is successfully obfuscated. The tactic usually works. Continue reading Nasty Republican attack site complains about negative campaigning. Order a Dr. Radical.
If you were watching Rodney Davis’ campaign Facebook page Sunday afternoon you would have seen a flood of questions from citizens asking where he stands on climate change. They’re still waiting for an answer.
I wrote about Davis ignoring my question and hurrying away when I asked if he thought floods and droughts are getting worse due to climate change. That’s not the only question he’s dodging. He attends very few public forums where he will have to answer questions from the public, and he won’t get specific about where he stands on many major issues. Would he respond to citizens on his campaign Facebook page asking about climate change, the great challenge of our time?
I repeated my own question about floods and droughts.
Mr Davis, you didn’t answer my question about whether you think floods and droughts in Illinois are getting worse because of climate change. It will be devastating to farmers, residents, and the regional economy if the extreme weather disasters we’ve had the last few years become the new normal. Do you acknowledge the scientific consensus that man-made pollutants are contributing to climate change and what would you do to solve the problem?
Dozens of questions by others were posted on his page.
My respectful questions were removed quickly and I was banned from commenting on his Facebook page again. That didn’t surprise me. After a while, every mention of climate change by anyone was deleted as quickly as it was posted. Even the most politely worded questions were removed, like this one:
Thank you for putting forth an energy policy but I’m unclear about your stance regarding climate change. Since I will likely not be able to attend one of your appearances, might you be able to respond in this forum? Thanks so much.
That got deleted.
Many more excellent banned questions can be viewed at my Flickr set. I captured many, but not all, before they were removed by the Davis campaign. My favorite was posted on a comment about a campaign sign in a soy field.
Wonder where he stands on climate change? Rodney are you going to answer ever? It might help out the bean field?
Illinois Republican Congressional candidate Rodney Davis announced his energy plan in Springfield Tuesday. The campaign apparently forgot to send my invitation but you can see the plan posted online. The plan consist of several paragraphs in a press release filled with familiar talking points.
Davis supports an “all of the above” energy policy. If that sounds familiar it’s because “all of the above” is also supported by Rodney Davis’ former employer, Congressman John Shimkus, plus Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, David Gill’s previous challenger in the Democratic primary, oil industry lobbyists, the US Chamber of Commerce and nearly everyone else with a consultant who reads polling data. It’s used by so many politicians with vastly different energy policies that the phrase has become a meaningless cliche.
Illinois Republican Congressional candidates Rodney Davis and Jason Plummer held a press conference in East St. Louis last week to talk about the flood levee system. Both candidates are running for open seats in two of the nation’s most competitive Congressional races. I decided to tag along and see how it went.
After speaking at length on promoting federal spending for levees, they answered questions about how the current drought is impacting farmers. That’s when I thought, “Hey, I have a relevant question” and asked Davis if he thinks the floods and droughts are getting worse because of climate change.
Davis responded by ignoring me, then asking a reporter if he had another question, and quickly walking away. The scene is caught near the end of a video posted to the IL13RawFootage YouTube page. You can hear me ask the question off-camera before it pans over.
I understand why Davis wanted to rush away. He knows who I am and since he has seen my blog, he knows I’m not likely to praise him. But, I was polite. I didn’t interrupt the press conference. I only jumped in when I did because I could tell his staff wanted him to leave. I would have been more than happy to post any answer he gave. Instead, he walked away. Continue reading Rodney Davis (IL-13) ducks my question about climate change
A recent DCCC ad highlighting Republican Congressional candidate Rodney Davis’ ties to former Governor (and current inmate) George Ryan brought back some memories for me, but it gave the Davis campaign a case of amnesia. Davis’ response and the resulting press coverage left out some important facts. First, the ad…
Pretty typical, unimpressive attack ad.
The Davis campaign responded with a fact check that nitpicked some details:
Fact: Rodney Davis began working for the Secretary of State’s office as a fellow right out of college. He was a low-level employee who was only there for a short time and never had a connection to any wrongdoing.
Misleading Claim #2: “named on the infamous George Ryan Clout List of political favors.”
Fact: Rodney Davis was added to Scott Fawell’s “master list” without his approval, consent, or knowledge. He never asked for a favor, job, or political help. The list included numerous people, both Republicans and Democrats, who had nothing to do with corruption.
In other words, Davis did work for Ryan (for at least four years) and he was on the clout list. The ad is correct. But, there’s a little more to the story. Davis’ “fact check” has its own problems with the truth.
In 1996, Rodney Davis was given paid leave from his Secretary of State job to run for State Representative. Getting paid to not work at your government job while you run for political office is a pretty big favor!
Illinois’ 13th Congressional district is one of the top pick-up opportunities for Democrats nationally. It’s a newly created, Democratic-leaning district with no incumbent after Republican Tim Johnson dropped out of the race.
Republican county chairmen recently chose to replace Johnson on the ballot with Rodney Davis, a staffer for Congressman John Shimkus. Shimkus isn’t well known outside Illinois, but he received national attention for his anti-science views on climate change, and for his role in helping to cover up the Foley page scandal.
Rodney Davis makes several comments about health care in the article that suggest he fits the mold of his current boss, the uber-partisan Shimkus. Davis spoke about his wife having cancer, which thankfully, she survived.
“With the extensive bureaucracy of Obamacare, I’m not too sure we’d have that same result today,” Davis told Sangamon County Republicans when he appeared before committeemen last month.
Really? A claim as outrageous and inflammatory as suggesting that people would die as a result of Obamacare bureaucracy should be backed up. Unsurprisingly, the article provides no quote of Davis explaining exactly what provisions in Obamacare would result in people dying due to lack of care. Probably because it’s stupid bullshit. It’s a line that sounds good in Republican committee meetings but there are some of us who like to hear claims backed up by things like facts and reality.
Davis goes on to claim that single-payer health care would “cede control of where and when we seek medical treatment to a faceless bureaucrat.” He also suggests Americans are happy with their current health insurance.
Really? Like most people, I’m very familiar with “faceless bureaucrats” telling me where I can seek medical care and what treatment I’m allowed to have. They’re the bureaucrats who work at the for-profit insurance companies and HMOs I’ve been covered by, NOT the government. They tell me which doctors in the network I’m allowed to see and what procedures they’ll cover, instead of leaving those decisions to me and my doctor. Apparently, Davis is just fine with faceless bureaucrats dictating health care decisions, as long as they’re making money for a private insurance company. Continue reading Freshly Appointed Congressional Candidate Rodney Davis Out of Touch on Health Care