Who’s the Denier?

The Charleston Daily Mail editorial page recently featured “Rockefeller is Out of Line” a critique of the Senator’s “intemperate attempt to squelch debate.” Sen. Rockefeller responded by noting that:

We didn’t “attempt to squelch debate,” as the Daily Mail suggested. Rather, our letter was, in fact, an attempt to create and foster greater debate.

And part of that debate, I believe, requires calling attention to Exxon-Mobil’s funding of a pseudoscientific community whose purpose is to prevent us from tackling global climate change.

This is right out of the Washington politician play book. When told you are doing something wrong, just deny it. Say you did the opposite of whatever it was you did and then try to change the topic or discredit whoever offered the criticism.

Sen. Rockefeller’s opening move in this play is absolutely perfect in its defiance of logic. In no way does a call for defunding research foster debate, especially when it’s backed up by the coercive power of two US Senators.

The second part of this classic play is the attempt to discredit your opponent. In this case, Sen. Rockefeller would have us believe that ExxonMobil, as an interested party, cannot be a participant in an honest debate.

Are we to believe that this is in contrast to Senators Rockefeller and Snowe? Rockefeller betrays his own clear interest in the same editorial:

Thankfully for West Virginia, clean coal technology is at the heart of these solutions. And I don’t intend to allow deliberate misinformation to undermine our push for major national investments in the clean coal research and facilities that can help solve this problem.

The reality is that we need to have a free and honest debate about how we’re going to address a problem that threatens to be of epic proportions.

This brand of “free and honest debate” seems to be one in which the Mountain State comes out as a big beneficiary. You can’t deny that.