From Fox News contributor Sarah Palin's Twitter:
Every winter, there are two things you can count on, two things that are absolutely assured of happening. The first is that at some point somewhere in the northern hemisphere, it will snow. The second is that some thick-as-a-brick conservative will guffaw loudly that the presence of snow on the ground means that Al Gore is a moron and climate change is a fraud.
It happens all the time, and as funny as those jokes weren't the first time they were made, they're downright tiresome now.
But for Politico writers seeking to nab their latest link from Matt Drudge (a connoisseur of lame Al Gore/winter snowfall jokes), conservative mockery of the former vice president stemming from the record snowfall in Washington, DC is big news:
Conservatives mock Al Gore on snowstorms
By Andy Barr
With the nation's capital buried in several feet of snow and the federal government brought to a halt by Mother Nature, conservatives are mocking former Vice President Al Gore and his crusade to curb global climate change.
The vocal doubters of global warming frequently use any unseasonal snowfall or cold spell to mock Gore and the scientists who believe human actions are unnaturally warming the planet.
But the historic snowfall in Washington -- coinciding with a push from Democrats to enact legislation capping emissions -- has given conservatives more fodder than usual to bash the former vice president.
What follows are quotes from Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin all making THE SAME EXACT JOKE about Gore -- a joke they've probably all made dozens of times in the past.
Absent from the article was any indication that these conservatives, in addition to demonstrating a marked aversion to fresh comedic material, are also flat-out wrong to suggest that isolated weather phenomena, like the DC snowstorms, are at all relevant to the climate change debate. They certainly don't disprove climate change theory, much in the same way that unseasonably warm temperatures in Vancouver do nothing to confirm it.
But why let facts get in the way when there's a tired joke to flog and a Drudge link to be had?
UPDATE: Politico has since updated their article, citing Media Matters' item from yesterday documenting the plethora of conservatives using the snowstorms to make foolish and ignorant attacks on Al Gore and climate change theory. The Politico article now contains the following language:
Most climate scientists would disagree with the two senators -- both of whom are frequent critics of cap-and-trade legislation -- pointing to numerous studies indicating that carbon emissions have contributed to rising global temperatures.
The left-leaning group Media Matters wrote in its blog Tuesday that "conservative media figures have used the recent snowstorms in the Washington, D.C., area to level more science-free attacks on global warming."
But criticism of the position has not deterred global warming deniers from using an unusually snowy winter in Washington to bash Gore.
Remember back in September 2008 when candidate Obama used a common idiom to assert that his then-opponent Sen. McCain couldn't credibly claim to be "about change"? Obama said:
Let's just list this for a second. John McCain says he's about change, too. Except -- and so I guess his whole angle is, "Watch out, George Bush, except for economic policy, health-care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy, and Karl Rove-style politics. We're really gonna shake things up in Washington." That's not change. That's just calling some -- the same thing, something different. But you know, you can -- you know, you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig.
How could we forget? These comments sparked one of the most embarrassing media spectacles of the presidential campaign, as pundits and journalists, conservative and otherwise, speculated that Obama was taking a shot at Sarah Palin since around the same time, she referred to herself as a pit bull wearing lipstick, nevermind that he was talking about policy and didn't mention Palin in his preceding remarks. A New York Post headline declared, "Holy Sow! Obama Takes a Pig and a Poke at Palin."
Although some reasonable media figures recognized that the "lipstick on a pig" phrase has a long, long history in political rhetoric, that both Obama and McCain had previously used the phrase during the campaign, and that this story was a stunning waste of time and resources, the whole ordeal was an unpleasant reminder that the media has ... a problem.
So we'd expect that media figures wouldn't be eager to revisit that unfortunate incident. But seventeen months later, in an article about Robert Gibbs mocking Sarah Palin in a press briefing yesterday, New York Post writer Jennifer Fermino chose to write:
Team Obama has let loose at the Alaska ex-governor before. While campaigning in 2008, Barack Obama said, "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig" -- which many took as a reference to Palin's famous line, "What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick."
What in 2008 was a baseless media freak-out directed by McCain campaign spin is now simply what happened according to the New York Post.
From Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich's twitter feed:
From TPM Media:
For those like me who are snowed-in on the Atlantic coast, I present some Wednesday mid-morning fun:
The WashPost's Chris Cillizza recently toasted Sarah Palin's ability to speak in soundbites, and noted that successful presidents in the past, such as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, were able to chisel their political philosphies into pithy phrases. It's all true, and there's no denying that soundbites are part of modern day American politics.
And yes, Cillizza stresses that Palin has a gift for the craft. She's "mastered the art":
Palin grasps that concept intuitively and has spent much of the past year -- via Facebook -- dropping all sorts of soundbite hits on an Obama Administration that has repeatedly tried to explain their own policy proposals with a nuance and subtlety lost on many Americans.
But then Cillizza (to his credit) notes that Palin isn't actually that popular. (Her polling numbers continue to be a disaster.) So doesn't that pretty much kick the legs out of his argument that Palin's scoring points via soundbites? Meaning, if the soundbite strategy actually worked, wouldn't Palin be popular and respected? But she's not, which suggests her soundbite strategy is a failure.
So why is Cillizza toasting it as being "extremely effective"?
UPDATED: Cillizza's opening leaves me scratching my head:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as mastered the art of the political soundbite and has used it to devastating -- and some would say irresponsible -- effect since emerging on the political scene in the fall of 2008.
But what has Palin done "since emerging on the political scene in the fall of 2008"? She was part of a GOP ticket that lost in an electoral landslide. She walked away from her job as governor, and is now viewed by most Americans as being wholly unqualified to lead the nation.
Bu other than that, I suppose her soundbite strategy has worked wonders.
Or, welcome to the 'Global Warming Games'!
I've been having fun recently mocking the normally weather-obsessed Matt Drudge, as well as the rest of the right-wing media, for having refused to acknowledge the big pre-Winter Olympics story out of Vancouver: The Canadian outpost has a shortage of snow thanks to an historic January heat wave [emphasis added]:
it comes as little surprise that this January will go down as the warmest in Vancouver history. The 44.8-degree 31-day average easily eclipsed the previous mark of 43.3, set in 2006. Since record-keeping began in 1937, the January average had been 37.9.
But of course, that's bad news for Drudge and his anti-reason friends at Fox, because this winter's meme has been that, OMG, it's been snowing a lot (in some place) in January and February, which means (duh!) global warming, or climate change, must be bunk, right? Because if it's snowing today, that means the atmosphere won't warm decades from now, right? (Makes perfect sense.)
So naturally, Drudge and Fox News mostly ignore the Vancouver heat wave story. (It does not exist!) But if you had to select the Vancouver Winter Olympics headlines that Drudge will never, ever link to, here they are:
UPDATED: I'll even throw in a Media Matters trucker hat as a prize if Drudge gets up the nerve to acknowledge today, amidst right-wing blizzard giggles, the biggest story of the Olympics so far -- the Canadian winter heat wave!!
UPDATED: Good for Drudge! He recently did acknowledge the Vancouver-has-no snow story. (That only took weeks of prodding from Media Matters.) But now, will he link to any articles that specifically connect the snow-less Olympics to climate change? And what about Fox News?
UPDATED: Another key headline from today that the GOP Noise Machine must absolutely ignore:
Apparently, neither does O'Reilly. Tonight, his show promises us a special report on "sexy snow angels," which apparently consists of "sultry skiers" and "steamy snowboarders," aka female Olympic athletes, who posed in, you guessed it, bikinis for Sports Illustrated. Take a look:
Flashback to 2007: Laura Ingraham was a guest on O'Reilly, and she really took O'Reilly and Fox News to task for its penchant of gratuitously airing video of half-naked women. Ingraham rightly argued: "I don't know if there's a rampant midlife crisis going on on this network among the male anchors, but I can tell you that my female listeners are saying ... what is the purpose? ... You can talk about cultural issues and cultural debates without running the constant loop of this video." The segment concluded with O'Reilly vowing, "No more bikinis! They're over," and promising to "[n]ever again" air images of, in Ingraham's words, women with "hands over the boobs."
Not surprisingly, this was a promise O'Reilly had absolutely no intention of keeping.
From the Fox Nation:
From a February 9 post on The Hill's Twitter Room blog:
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Tuesday used the D.C. snowstorm to make a political jab, saying that it provides evidence for global warming skeptics.
The conservative senator took to Twitter on Tuesday amid reports that the area is due to receive another 10 to 20 inches of snow this week:
It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries "uncle"
Some conservatives have echoed DeMint's sentiments that the snowstorm should poke holes in evidence backing global warming.
DeMint took direct aim at the former vice president, who is one of the foremost proponents of government action to counter global warming.
Reports of more snow caused the House of Representatives to call off the rest of its votes scheduled for this week. The Washington, D.C. area was blanketed with about two feet of snow last week, causing the Senate to adjourn earlier than expected on Thursday.
The South Carolina senator was not the first Republican to use the snowstorm to make a political point. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) said that absence of votes in the House is a plus for taxpayers.