A furiously venom-filled John McCain angrily admitted to this blogger in a just-finished phone interview that he has been in a state of unstoppable rage that has kept him terminally pissed off at the United States of America ever since we chose to end the Vietnam war. “You’re damn right I am, you little jerk,” he said.
Before I could even respond he exploded again like Yosemite Sam. “You’re ALL a bunch of little jerks!” he screeched out to me on my VOIP line,” all you word happy blah-blah-bloogers – especially you environmentalists.” He spat out the word as if talking about a pedophile, but I could sense he was using air quotes at the other end.
“Is that why you decided this week that your administration will not follow the Supreme Court’s order to regulate carbon dioxide, CO2, as a greenhouse gas pollutant? Is that supposed to be directed at us?” I asked.
“That’s right you little green smart-ass. How do you like me now? What kind of eloquent response do you have in answer to that one?” McCain was cackling away on the other end of the line like Burgess Meridith as The Penguin.
“But Senator,” I stammered, “haven’t you been following what’s been going on with the climate while you’ve been out campaigning? It wasn’t only the economy that melted down this summer, record levels of arctic ice, permafrost and the world’s glaciers melted away too. The wiggle room is all gone, dude. If the next President doesn’t take dramatic action he’s effectively signing a death sentence for all of us.”
“Yup,” McCain replied, “That’s what they tell me. Life’s a bitch and then you die. That’s what I always told my first wife and set of kids. That’s why you should never bite the hand that feeds you. Get it, blogger boy?”
“Well yeah, I get it,” I said, “But everyone else is going to get it too. Don’t you care about the impact of these actions?”
“You should have thought of that when you failed to recognize my status as a hero and when you called me a “phony” for not ever voting for any renewable energy. Bet you feel pretty stupid now, huh Mr. Vocabulary? Like you just got smacked good upside the head! Maybe if you had served your country like I did and my daddy did and my grandfather did you’d be in better shape now.”
“Actually Senator, I felt worse when I read in the Washington Post that your buddy George W. Bush is gutting the environmental regulations during his last months in office while everyone is watching you crash and burn your way through the campaign.” I knew I shouldn’t taunt the old man, but he brought that side out in me. “You say you’re some kind of George Bush fighting maverick, but the truth is you’re right behind him on all these changes, giving him the reach around of your support for the following:”
Two other rules nearing completion would ease limits on pollution from power plants, a major energy industry goal for the past eight years that is strenuously opposed by Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups.
One rule, being pursued over some opposition within the Environmental Protection Agency, would allow current emissions at a power plant to match the highest levels produced by that plant, overturning a rule that more strictly limits such emission increases. According to the E.P.A.’s estimate, it would allow millions of tons of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, worsening global warming.
“Too much regulation is bad for business, you dope!” bellowed McCain. “Didn’t you learn anything from this economic crisis we’re in? Sarah Palin explained the entire thing to me. We tied business up with too many rules, regulations and too much government interference. We boxed them in just like I was in a box for five long years,” he sounded wistful.
“Listen you little punk,” he said, “People die every damn day. I’ve faced death in the face for breakfast and it’s no big deal. You’re just a pitiful little whiner who needs to suck it up and stop acting like a damn socialist. I beat cancer for Christ’s sake! Toughen up!”
“Senator, I’m not asking you to listen to me,” I said, “I know you think I’m a know-nothing, worthless waste of space, but what about America’s greatest climate scientist? Dr. James Hansen says you just don’t get it.
“That guy’s a bigger jerk than you!” McCain thundered. He’s been trying to sell us that global warming garbage since the 1980s. The entire time I’ve been a Senator that pain-in-the-ass has been testifying and trying to get us to change the very nature of America’s destiny.
What a pantywaist moron that so-called doctor is! Why should anyone listen to Dr. Gloom and Doom? Around here we think of him of the science version of that punk Urkel! He’s good for plenty of laughs if you ask me. I hear Urkel is a Muslim too!”
“Well,” I said, “the way I see it, if Hansen’s right, then you’re going to make Dr. Strangelove look like Dr. Phil by comparison. And then I really steamed McCain’s shorts by reading him the latest from Hansen released just this week:
Some climate impacts are already becoming apparent, including an increase of extremes of the water cycle (heavier rainfall and floods, but also more intense dry periods and fires), melting of mountain glaciers with effect on fresh water supplies (once the glaciers are gone, potentially within a few decades if CO2 growth is not halted, the rivers will tend to run dry in the summer and fall), expansion of the subtropics (affecting the Southern United States, the Mediterranean region, Australia and Africa), and shifting of climatic zones (affecting the health of some vegetation and human health through spread of disease vectors). Such climate impacts will increase over the next few decades, affecting the people who are causing emissions as well as future generations.
However, the most serious effects will be visited upon the young and the unborn, the generations that bear no responsibility for the problem. The most important effects, I believe, will be those that are irreversible for all practical purposes, specifically (1) extermination of species, and (2) ice sheet disintegration and sea level rise. If we continue business-as-usual energy policy, using more and more fossil fuels, it is likely that we will have:
(1) rapid climate change that will combine with other pressures on species to cause the rate ofextinction of plants and animals to increase markedly, leading in some cases to ecosystem collapse, snowballing extinctions, and a more desolate planet for future generations.
(2) meter-scale sea level rise this century, and ice sheets in a state of disintegration that guarantees future sea level rise in the 10-meter-scale, with a continual reworking of future global coastlines out of humanity’s control.
“First of all, I don’t even know what half that mumbo-jumbo is supposed to mean!” erupted McCain. “Secondly, if we Drill Here and Drill Now then we’re not going to have those problems, especially while we’re building those 45 nuclear plants I’m also calling for. And Clean Coal too! Don’t forget about the world’s greatest supply of coal right here in the United States of America, my freaky little flag-hating friend on the far left coast. We’ll clean up that coal just like we’re going to clean up Warshington”
“You don’t have the time, old man,” I told him. “That oil is a decade away and those nuclear plants will take 20 years to get completed.”
McCain was doing that “Heh-heh-heh” kind of laugh you’ve heard on TV, “Joke’s on you typewriter boy!” My mother’s 96 years old. Long life genes run in my family. I’ll be around to get the job done, don’t you worry about that, my friend.”
“That’s very funny, Senator,” I responded, “But I wasn’t talking about YOU being around long enough. I was thinking about what Rajendra Pachauri, who won the Nobel Prize on behalf of the IPCC last year. I was thinking of when he said,
“If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”
“To hell with him!” McCain roared. “We’re not going to let the friggin’ United Nations tell us what to do! All you liberals are always quoting the goddamn United Nations! Hell, half those countries deserve to go under water in the global climate change McCain/Palin will be bringing!”
“What?” I asked as if hit with a body shot.
“Haven’t you been listening? We’re bringing change to Washington and all around the world. Climate Change, the kind that can really make a sweeping difference. Once we found out what rising sea levels would do to all those states on the coastlines that aren’t part of the real America, states like yours, dumb ass, we embraced the change. Guess you misunderestimated us once again, ey chump? Hope that makes it hurt twice as bad.”
And with that the line went dead and my 10 minutes with the Republican presidential candidate were up.