Senate Held, House Swept, Prop 23 Goes Down

By Chris Mooney | November 3, 2010 6:29 am

Last night, it seems, largely delivered what was expected–though Republican gains in the House of Representatives were pretty staggering, and kept inching up throughout the night to the point where it now seems they’re going to gain more than 60 seats and clear, dominant control.

We are in for divided government, and we are in for some serious antics when it comes to attacking climate science, and climate scientists, in the House. And we are not going to get a law to regulate greenhouse gas emissions–sand China will keep whuppin’ us in clean energy.

But hey–California has led the nation in regulating greenhouse gases and promoting clean energy reform, and Prop 23–an attempt by Texas oil companies to change that–received a powerful rebuke.

Now the question: How do House Republicans handle their newfound power? Hold a bunch of show hearings? Try to block everything in sight? That is not what Americans want, I don’t think…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Conservatives and Science

Comments (29)

  1. I predict a slow two years of gridlock..

  2. Tom

    If anyone wants to attack climate science or climate scientists in the House or elsewhere – engage them with a chatbot on twittter (Quote: The result is the Twitter chatbot @AI_AGW) re: Chatbot Wears Down Proponents of Anti-Science Nonsense at


  3. John

    Seems like the kind of goverment you would like to see is bringing down the California government as we speak. Huge taxes to big companies is not going to so anything for global warming it will simply tax the state to death. Just look at how many companies simply move to another state!

  4. I am just happy about two things: Prop 23 went down, and O’Donnell did not win

  5. Bigby

    What Americans want is to stop out of control spending, high taxes, socializec medicine, government takeover of industries, and a President who slams the door in the face of the opposition party and tells them to “go to the back of the bus”. I will be happy to see gridlock for the next two years as opposed to what I’ve seen for the last two.

  6. FUAG

    With the way our government has been performing over the past decade, a bit of gridlock sounds like a wonderful thing!

  7. Sorbit

    -out of control spending
    Rampant during the Bush administration (Iraq War; check). In fact many conservatives who abandoned the party in 2008 did so because they thought that the GOP had thrown fiscal conservatism out of the window.

    -government takeover of industries
    Uhh…no. Real socialism would be if the government had actually taken over the running of these companies, which they didn’t. Also started by Bush.

    -socializec medicine
    You mean the plan endorsed by Mitt Romney and the one that does not include true universal health care run by the government? The plan which prevents companies from denying insurance because of pre-existing conditions? And the one which insures millions of children? Yes, that one.

    -a President who slams the door in the face of the opposition party and tells them to “go to the back of the bus
    And the earlier administration (not to mention the current crop of Republicans) was known for being generously bipartisan?? Reality check. Except for FUAG, moderate, compromising Republicans seem to be extinct these days. And in fact many liberals turned against Obama precisely because they thought he was being too accommodating.

    Now of course, it would be great if the “New Republicans” are different from the “Old Republicans”. But for now it seems we will just have more of the old since these guys are the same guys and there is no proposed coherent plan of substance that breaks from the old policies.

  8. Bobito (formerly FUAG, I'm over it now...)

    @2 – Seems like a great idea! Generally “warmist”, much like “denialists”, use canned responses over rational thought anyway. How ’bout we create a denialist bot as well, then we can pit them against each other. That way, we can use forums like The Intersection to have rational discussions and anyone that wants canned responses can follow the AGW Bot Feud!

  9. We should be a bit scared over the fact that the CA-11 seat in the House of Representatives almost went to a tea party candidate who was on record as advocating the abolishment of public schools as “insidious” and “socialist”. Instead, Congressman Jerry McNerney (wind energy consultant with PhD in Applied Math) leads now by 121 votes with provisional ballots yet to be counted.

    It is all part of the greater dumbing down of America. Long live our cultural icons: Charlie Sheen and Snooki.

  10. Bigby

    Saying Bush spent too much too is not an intelligent argument supporting the fact that Obama bested 8 years of Bush in his first 70 days in office.
    Socialism is government takeover. Period. Day to day operations don’t have to be by government officials. Unless you count dictating salary — which the Obama administration did.
    Just because Mitt endorsed government healthcare doesn’t mean it isn’t socialized medicine. Doesn’t include univesal coverage? What do you call fining anyone who doesn’t buy insurance? And yeah, the previous admin did work with Dems as much as possible – and got kicked in the teeth for it. Remember Reid telling a classroom full of kids that the President was an “idiot”? Ever see a Republican do that?

  11. Huge taxes to big companies is not going to so anything for global warming it will simply tax the state to death.

    Maybe you could show us evidence of any of these huge taxes on big companies.

  12. Jon

    Here’s Michael Lind (who almost always has something interesting to say):

    I generally agree. The voters who used to be called the “hard hats” back in the day have not been treated well…

  13. Jon

    Socialism is government takeover. Period.

    Lemon socialism isn’t real socialism.

    No one in the Obama administration came in to take over “the commanding heights of the economy.” Where they did, that situation was forced on them, and the intention was and is to get out as soon as possible.

    The reason why we had lemon socialism is that certain sectors of the financial markets (after years of powerful lobbyists and neoliberal policy) weren’t well regulated as they were in earlier years (thanks to policy developed in New Deal years).

  14. Sorbit

    @10: The point is that Republicans don’t have concrete plans for actually cutting spending expect to parrot the cut taxes mantra. And sorry, but calling the bailout (which was supported by Bush) as “government takeover” just sounds paranoid. As Jon indicates, why was it necessary? Because there was no regulation, a policy that was greatly ramped up during the Bush administration. And we seem to be living in two realities if you think the earlier administration and its neocons were the picture of bipartisan co-operation. And by the way, Obama said “car”, not “bus”, unless you want to go for Fox News’s bizarre misinterpretation of that comment as having something to do with Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement (that right there is paranoia and racism for you).

  15. Bobito (formerly FUAG, I'm over it now...)

    Jon. Certainly Obama didn’t inherit the most stable economy, and the “fixes” put in place can be attributed to issues over which he had no control. But he absolutely has a socialist ideology. He has taken a “have the government spend our way out” rather than “reduce taxes and allow the free market to spend their way out” approach. He thinks that the government is best suited to spend america’s money. His history as a senator and president points nowhere else.

    Note that, when faced with the same issues, Bush cut taxes and that had an immediate positive affect on the economy. Why is Obama going the other direction?

  16. Jon

    He has taken a “have the government spend our way out” rather than “reduce taxes and allow the free market to spend their way out” approach.

    Yes, he believes in “demand side” economics (see JM Keynes) as one way to fix things like coming depressions. Probably with McCain, you would have gotten more tax cuts, but probably still would have had massive spending–even Milton Friedman read his Keynes.

    That makes him a Democrat, not a socialist. We have two parties in the country, one believing more in activist government, but neither is socialist, by a long shot.

  17. Bobito (formerly FUAG, I'm over it now...)

    Jon, I see where you are coming from, perhaps “Socialistic” is a better term. There is certainly a grey area (as with anything) but in the nuts and bolts of political ideology, you have socialism at one end and capitalism at the other. Republicans/conservatives tend toward capitalism and Democrats/liberals tend toward socialism. By that line of thinking, Obama is a lot closer to socialist ideology than main stream America.

  18. Jon

    OK, well then I can call your political philosophy fascistic, right? Hmm, you’ve got T partier brownshirts going around physically intimidating people and using violent language, plus your party believes in military interventions and forms strong ties with defense contractors. Plus your side owns media outlets who only spout your party line, and think tanks that do propagandistic versions of scientific studies. Sounds fascistic to me.

    No? You don’t want to be called that? I agree. Words do matter. That’s why I don’t use that term.

  19. Bobito (formerly FUAG, I'm over it now...)

    I really wouldn’t mind the other way when it’s founded. I would call Rand Paul’s (and Libertarians like him) ideology capitalist to an extreme that is far beyond main stream America as well.

    This “You guys” mentality intrigues me (whether going from left to right or right to left). Is it that hard to believe that someone can sometimes agree with Republicans and sometimes agree with Democrats? I find it hard to believe that anyone could always agree with one party on every subject. And I certainly would not want to hear their opinion on anything if that is the case.

  20. Jon

    I’m only using “you guys” because the real point about “socialism” is to make it personal–dress Obama up as Mao or Stalin in protest signs, etc. It’s easier to “other” your opponent if you make them out to be Mao or Stalin. It makes it personal, not about policy. Calling right of center people “fascistic” would be doing the same thing with “you guys.”

  21. Bobito (formerly FUAG, I'm over it now...)

    IMO, Obama is as far left as Rand Paul is right. And this is the problem in this country, we just keep running to the extremes.

  22. Jon

    Obama is as far left as Rand Paul is right.

    No, he’s not. He ran to the right of HRC and Edwards during the primaries. All three ran on healthcare and energy. These are just the problems that need to be dealt with. I suspect any solution that any Democrat would have come up with would have been “far left” for you. Does that mean all Democrats are “socialistic”? That’s as absurd as calling all Republicans “fascistic.”

    He didn’t run on financial reform and bailouts, but these problems were forced on him, and he didn’t deal with them that much differently than his predecessor.

  23. Bobito (formerly FUAG, I'm over it now...)

    What he ran on means nothing, he’s a politician. Look at his voting records, some things he’s said, his associations. (And you can say the exact thing about Bush, he ran as a moderate).

    And, BTW, you are using fascist incorrectly. Fascism is not exclusive to conservatives. Fascism is as much a methodology as it is an ideology.

    Fascism: a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism. (from

  24. Jon

    Well to echo you, I didn’t say fascism, just fascistic. Tending towards fascism.

    I’m sure his voting record is to the right of John Edwards. And if you’re looking at voting percentage studies, those statistics can be messed with to say just about everything. I think just about every election cycle, you can find some journal that says “Bill Clinton is the most leftist blah blah,” or “John Kerry is the most leftist yadda yadda.” Why does some study always say the present Democratic candidate is the most left?

  25. Gimlet

    @14, it’s only a step in the right direction re: spending, but it’s a start:

  26. Sorbit

    The banking system was saved by $700 billion in bailouts started by Bush, not Obama (a fact constantly forgotten), and finished by Obama, with help from the Federal Reserve. It worked. The government is expected to break even on a risky bet to stabilize the global free market system. Had Obama followed the populist instincts of many in his party, the underpinnings of big capitalism could have collapsed. He did this without nationalizing banks, as other Democrats had urged. If he had been a true socialist he would have nationalized the banks.

    In addition, the bailouts saved the automobile industries and the companies are now actually making money. Millions of jobs were saved in this endeavor. The Economist, a well-known conservative and libertarian-leaning magazine actually said that it owes an apology to Obama.

    All this is good for capitalism and should end any serious-minded discussion about Obama being a socialist or communist or whatever. There are many Democrats who are far more to the left.

  27. Dunc

    IMO, Obama is as far left as Rand Paul is right. And this is the problem in this country, we just keep running to the extremes.

    No, the problem in your country is that you have no idea what “left” even means. Obama is moderately right-wing by European standards.

  28. Jon

    True, Dunc, but saying “SOCIALIST1!!11!!” dispenses with the problem of actually having to discuss policy:

  29. Matteo

    —->No, the problem in your country is that you have no idea what “left” even means.

    Pol Pot? Stalin? Ho Chi Minh?

    Do I get a prize?

    So if someone is hard left but to the right of these guys (or various Euroweenies) then I have no cause for complaint?


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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


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