Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich recently did a global warming ad with Nancy Pelosi that was sponsored by Nobel Laureate Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection (embedded right).
Obviously, he has taken a lot of heat -- no pun intended -- from conservatives for not only staking out a seemingly unconservative position on this controversial issue, but doing so in such a high-profile way with the likes of Pelosi and Gore.
Update: Sheppard responds to his critics at end of post.
The Gingrich-Pelosi Climate Change Ad: Why I Took Part
Many of you have written to me to ask why I recently taped an advertisement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for The Alliance for Climate Protection, a group founded by former Vice President Al Gore.
I completely understand why many of you would have questions about this, so I want to take this opportunity to explain my reasons. First of all, I want to be clear: I don't think that we have conclusive proof of global warming. And I don't think we have conclusive proof that humans are at the center of it.
But here's what we do know. There is an important debate going on right now over the right energy policy, the right environmental policy, and making sure we do the right things for our future and the future of our children and grandchildren. Conservatives are missing from this debate, and I think that's a mistake. When it comes to preserving our environment for future generations, we can't have a slogan of "Just yell no!"
I have a different view. I think it's important to be on the stage, to engage in the debate, and to communicate our position clearly. There is a big difference between left-wing environmentalism that wants higher taxes, bigger government., more bureaucracy, more regulation, more red tape, and more litigation and a Green Conservatism that wants to use science, technology, innovation, entrepreneurs, and prizes to find a way to creatively invent the kind of environmental future we all want to live in. Unless we start making the case for the latter, we're going to get the former. That's why I took part in the ad.
Frankly, I think this makes a lot of sense. After all, if conservatives aren't at this environmental bargaining table, our views will not be represented, and the left likely will be able to ram through any legislative proposals they want.
To prevent this, we've got to be involved, or we shouldn't be surprised with what results come from all this global warming hysteria.
In the end, having a brilliant mind like Gingrich's at that table appears well worth this instance of strange bedfellows.
*****Update: This post has generated almost unanimous dissent here, in my inbox, and at conservative websites across the Internet.
For instance, Allah wrote:
As I’ve said before, this is just the sort of logic lefty environmentalists should be encouraging. But, er, isn’t he being disingenuous in saying the jury’s out on man-made global warming when he called for “urgent” steps to reduce carbon emissions in his debate with Kerry last year? The two positions aren’t contradictory — he may simply be taking a “better safe than sorry” approach — but doubtless many of the people e-mailing him are global warming skeptics and he’s leading them to think he himself is more skeptical than he probably is.
Barry Hearn at JunkScience wrote:
NewsBusters takes the position Gingrich should be "at the table" but (and I’m an Aussie with exactly zero part in American politics) I disagree vehemently. The Pelosi table is huge government with massive tax and spend schemes and one you should not walk but run away from. I’d have thought you had enough of Republican big-spending big-government with the current regime without flirting with the absurdity of "addressing gorebull warming". Really bad idea guys.
Honestly, I agree with both of these gentlemen, which might seem hypocritical, but let me explain.
First, I think this was a terrible ad. I've watched it now about 20 times, and I get more disgusted with each viewing. I do think this strengthens the alarmist position, and weakens that of us realists. The way it was produced clearly depicts Gingrich as an alarmist, and I don't believe this is the case.
As such, although I agree with his explanation, it doesn't address the potential harm this ad has done to all those around the world working diligently to refute the as-yet unproven contention that man is cataclysmically warming the planet by burning fossil fuels. His very presence on a sofa next to an hysterical alarmist like Pelosi could sway the many undecideds concerning this issue into the alarmist camp which is something we don't need as Congress debates economically damaging "solutions" to a problem that might not exist.
That said, with full disclosure, I am a Newt Gingrich fan. I believe this to be one of the most astute and well-educated politicians of my lifetime, and owe many of my conservative philosophies and opinions to him. As such, I clearly am biased, and can't be impartial.
Given my esteem for him, I believe he's entitled to the benefit of the doubt, and will represent conservatives well at this table. At least, I'm ever hopeful.
Moving forward, I wanted to comment about the tenor of the dissent expressed here. I am extremely pleased that all those sharing their negative views of both Gingrich and my opinions did so with respect and civility.
As I knew this post would generate much criticism, I was concerned with how it would be represented. Happily, your decorum has made me very proud to be a part of this website, and this community.
Unlike many of our brethren on the opposite side of the aisle, we conservatives really do welcome debate, and try do it with respect and dignity even when we disagree. For this, I thank you.