One candidate attracting some attention is Texan Beto O’Rourke. None other than Fox News reports that O’Rourke has a lot to say about climate change. But there’s more; Grist has something to add as well.
First the flattering stuff:
Beto O’Rourke kicked off the first day of his now-official 2020 presidential campaign by comparing those fighting against climate change to American soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy during World War II.
The El Paso Democrat, who announced his decision to run for president on Thursday following months of deliberations after his failed Texas Senate bid, made the comparison during an Iowa rally in response to a question on climate change.
“That’s who we are. That’s why they call us the indispensable nation. Well, that moment is now for us on this issue. So, if there’s a time to reassert global leadership and make friends instead of enemies, it’s today because the challenges are too great to do otherwise.”
That’s pretty good rhetoric. I can see, it’s the kind of thing that can get people fired up, without repelling skeptics (not deniers, real skeptics).
What’s behind the rhetoric?
O’Rourke is no climate denier. Even in deep-red Texas, O’Rourke, who had no name recognition nationally until he launched a grassroots, seat-of-your-pants campaign against Senator Ted Cruz in 2017, was clear from the get-go that climate change is real, that it’s happening now and humans are driving it. O’Rourke also sports a lifetime score of 95 from the League of Conservation Voters.
OK, that’s pretty good. What else?
Last year, he was taken off a list of politicians who’d signed a “No Fossil Fuel Money” pledge, after he received $430,000 from people working in the oil and gas industry. Three-fourths of the donations were larger than $200 and 29 of them were from oil and gas executives.
When he traveled to parts of Texas dependant on fossil fuel extraction during his Senate campaign, O’Rourke promoted fracking as fundamental to national security.
Say what? Oil money is bad enough, but being taken off the list after you signed the pledge? And … fracking is fundamental to national security?
Beto, you talk a great game. You have inspiring rhetoric. And I can hear Denzel Washington’s voice saying “Boy, you are outside your mind.” You get an F.