I thank Julian Babbitt, director of recruitment for the College Republicans, for taking the time to respond to my previous letter which spoke about certain issues related to global warming, the media and other related issues. Babbitt brought certain issues to the table (besides distorting my views) that I would like to discuss.
However, doing so is a little difficult. He brings up a point, talks about something unrelated (sets up his straw man), then comes back to the initial point thinking he has achieved it. I will focus my letter on two examples of misinformation that clearly show how far Babbitt goes to mislead his readers even if it means being completely dishonest.
He starts his letter by claiming he finds it ‘quite humorous when liberals say that Republicans ‘cherry-pick’ information.’ I assume he was talking about my claim that Jesse Nickles was cherry-picking information. To support his claim, he talks about the ‘culture of corruption’ label that Democrats had placed on the Republicans when they controlled all three branches of the government. His argument is that since he can come up with a handful of examples of ‘corrupt’ Democrats, this disproves the ‘culture of corruption’ label placed on Republicans in power.
Oh, wait, that wasn’t his goal. This must mean that Democrats cherry-pick information, right? His examples of ‘corrupt’ Democrats are Sandy Berger, William Jefferson and Nancy Pelosi. I remember when the Jefferson scandal came out; not a single Democrat defended Jefferson, and many asked him to resign.
Let’s talk about his claim against Nancy Pelosi. I think it’s fair to say that Republicans (since he holds a position for the College Republicans) purposely mislead people with misinformation. Babbitt claimed that Pelosi wanted to increase the minimum wage for everyone except for workers employed by Del Monte Foods, which has its headquarters in her district. This misinformation was reported in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press and cable shows on networks such as CNN and, not surprisingly, FOX News.
So what really happened? Let’s expand on the Republican argument which Babbitt distorted to sound more dramatic than it really was. Del Monte Corp., which is headquartered in Pelosi’s district, owns one of American Samoa’s largest employers, StarKist. And since Pelosi has supported several versions of the Fair Minimum Wage Act since it was introduced by Democrats in 1999 (three years before Del Monte bought StarKist) and each has included a wage hike for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands but not for American Samoa, this must mean that Pelosi’s support of this bill stems from Del Monte’s interest. Of course, anyone who makes that connection is clearly delusional, but if you are not convinced and still want to hold that Del Monte owns Pelosi, then you must also hold that Del Monte owns Republicans too, since Republican House members introduced minimum wage proposals in 2005 and 2006 that included a wage hike for the Northern Mariana Islands but not for American Samoa.
Babbitt clearly demonstrates how Republicans cherry-pick information and misinform people in order to achieve their desired ends. He also shows how short his memory is concerning the true Republican ‘culture of corruption’ that has infected the government.
Have you forgotten about Randy Cunningham accepting $1.3 million in bribes, Bob Ney pleading guilty to accepting bribes, Tom Delay being indicted on charges of money laundering and I. Lewis Libby’s recent conviction on two counts of perjury, one count of obstructing justice in a grand jury investigation and one of two counts of making false statements to federal investigators? Did you forget about all those Republicans who took money from Jack Abramoff? The list goes on and on.
In my earlier article I claimed that American automobile makers that keep insisting on making gas-guzzling cars would lose money if the government raised fuel efficiency standards to even reasonable levels. And thus, it is in their benefit to keep global warming under wraps. Babbitt makes the claim that ‘according to economic data [American automakers] are doing fine by themselves.’ He also implies that relatively recent energy-efficient vehicles being made by Ford, GM and Saturn would save them from bankruptcy due to ‘Global Warming Hysteria.’
Of course, Babbitt is being dishonest since American automobile makers are and have been losing money for quite a while. According to Fortune Magazine, Ford Motor Co. reported a ‘stupefying’ $12.7 billion loss for 2006, while General Motors reported an ‘equally horrendous’ $10.6 billion loss for 2005. While I’m not happy with the fact that American automakers are losing money, I’m glad that they have recently awakened to the fact that Americans want fuel-efficient vehicles. My claim still holds that American automakers would be devastated by a rise in fuel efficiency standards not only because the bulk of the cars they make and sell are not fuel-efficient, but because they are slow to change and adapt to new markets.
I want to end this letter by asking a series of questions that gets back to the initial topic. What would it take to convince those who do not believe that global warming is a serious threat to the world? Would global flooding due to the melting of the ice caps do the trick? I don’t think so, since a few islands have literally disappeared off the map because of flooding. What about a relatively global scientific consensus? No, that’s not it, since we already have one, despite an insignificant minority that disagrees.
What is it about this topic that leads some Republicans to go out of their way to misinform the public? It’s not the Democrats that are drinking the Kool-Aid, it’s the Republicans, most of whom do not even directly benefit from keeping global warming under wraps, but still do so because they blindly follow their leaders.
Carlos Meza is a fourth-year psychology major.
Filed Under: Opinion