This time around Miller has two Republican opponents for the August primary. There's Dan Sullivan, a former natural resources commissioner, and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. The winner will face Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. Miller has been hammering both his GOP foes on climate change. And instead of sticking with their former views, they're bending in Miller's scientifically illiterate direction. As Heather "Digby" Parton writes at Salon:
Begich is the “hysterical hippie” of the bunch simply by admitting that climate change exists. Even he, however, is not one to jump on the “we need to do something urgently” bandwagon. He agrees that it should be studied but prefers the issue be discussed in terms of costs and benefits because … well, because. The knock-down, drag-out fight is among the Republicans. Apparently, no matter how shrilly you decry climate change as a communist plot to destroy everything good and wholesome about America, it is not enough.Miller said last week that Begich was engaged in “climate change deception.” But he also went after Sullivan and Treadwell, calling for them “to come clean with voters on their history of support for the man-made ‘global warming’ agenda.” In a written statement, he said, “Clearly, both of my primary opponents have joined with climate change alarmists to push for top-down federal regulation.”
Please read below the fold for more on the candidates' retreat on climate change.
Both men have, in fact, indicated on a number of occasions that they not only think climate change is happening, but also that something should be done about it. Heresy! Lisa Demer reports that Sullivan said in a 2008 speech that “our energy challenges and climate change challenges stem primarily from a common source—an overreliance on hydrocarbons as the world’s primary form of energy.”
But in an email to Demer last week, Sullivan retreated:
Alaska is on the front lines when it comes to changes in our climate, and with seven billion people on earth, humans will have an effect. However, despite what many climate change alarmists want us to believe, there is no general consensus on pinpointing the sole cause of global temperature trends.Treadwell, who once headed the Arctic Research Commission, testified at a Senate committee hearing in 2008:
[W]e understand it is this nation’s goal—expressed with other nations—to reverse the trend of climate change caused by humans. In the Arctic, research to support adaptation to and mitigation of climate change is high on our agenda. But as more forces than climate are working to produce an accessible Arctic, it is essential that our nation act now.But now he's saying:
“Since where most of us live in Alaska was once covered by ice, I’m pretty sure humans didn’t cause it all,” Treadwell wrote in an emailed response. “Whether or not we caused some of it is a discussion that has taken years, and will take more. In the meantime, Alaskans are working to adapt.”As Digby points out, such statements don't go nearly far enough for Sullivan or Treadwell to beat Miller in the contest to become chief of the loons on climate change denial. Purists aren't going to vote for mumblers.
It shouldn't be hard for Alaskans to figure out just how loony the outright denial and the hemming and hawing actually are. After all, they're on the front lines of climate change as noted here, here, here, here and here.
It would be encouraging to discover that, whoever wins the Republican primary, come the morning of Nov. 5, rank-and-file Alaskans will have proved that they can see what's happening all around them even if Joe Miller can't or has reasons to pretend he can't.