Friday, April 24, 2009

Student Activists Accuse Newt Gingrich of Flip Flopping on Global Warming

The Washington Examiner reports:

Student activists who favor global warming legislation are accusing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of changing his position in anticipation of his testimony today before House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“We think the hearings should include unbiased scientists and not someone who has taken money from the coal industry,” Andrew Nazdin, a junior with the University of Maryland said. “We favor climate change legislation that includes a 100 percent auction under cap and trade. If the polluters have enough money to pay Gingrich, they should have enough money to pay for their own pollution.”

Nazdin is a chief organizer with the Energy Action Coalition, which is staging a rally outside of the Rayburn House Office Building. Dressed in bright green shirts, hard hats and placards the youth activists hope to publicize Gingrich’s ties to the coal industry.

In April 2008 Gingrich promoted national action against global warming in concert with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The student energy coalition claims he has now changed his position after his organization accepted donations from coal interests.

“Young people from across the country are asking Congress to pass bold climate and energy policy that creates investments in clean, renewable energy and makes polluters pay for their mess,” Nazdin said. “We have no more time to wait and everything to lose if we do.”
Here's the 2008 video mentioned in the story, from an advertisement sponsored by the Alliance for Climate Protection's We Campaign.



So what happened to that Can Do American spirit that Newt seemed to embrace back int the day (i.e. just 12 months ago!)? Appearing at today's hearing (check out the hash tag #powershift09 on Twitter for live coverage and commentary of the hearing), the former Speaker of the House was all "we can't do it, we don't have the technology, it'll cost to much," etc. Yes We Can gave way to No, No, No.

Well, according to Energy Action Coalition, this is what happened:
[I]n July [2008], [Gingrich's] 527 group, American Solutions for Winning the Future, received a quarter-million dollars from Peabody Coal and hundreds of thousands more from coal and oil companies. By late August, the 527 group had launched its deceptive, anti-environmental, pro-dirty energy “Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less.” campaign.
Here's the story of the Drill Here, Drill Now campaign launched after Gingrich's organization received generous contributions from the coal and oil industries:



As 1Sky's bloggers write:
Gingrich has been a paid shill for the oil companies which, while already making record profits, want more of the status quo. Both the oil companies and Gingrich want us to stay dependent on oil. Of course they do. ExxonMobil is the most profitable company in the world according to the most recent Fortune 500 list.
Finally, as Miles Grant pointed out while the Drill Here, Drill Now debate was raging, despite his new visibility as a "leader" of the now minority-Conservative movement, Gingrich remains highly unpopular with the American public:
If there's anyone who proves time may not necessarily heal all wounds, it's Newt. Nearly a decade after he resigned from the House with an approval rating of just 28 percent, a 2007 poll showed remarkable 54 percent of Americans still held an unfavorable opinion of Gingrich. Cheney was only slightly less popular, rated unfavorably by 57 percent of those polled.
Alas poor Newt, maybe the Conservatives need to find a more credible and popular obstructionist blowhard spokesman...

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