Real Question for GOP on Energy: Where’s the Beef?

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-MI) has gotten a lot of unwanted attention for yesterday’s appearance on ABC’s This Week. Boehner told host George Stephanopoulous, “George, the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide.” The video below and Grist has the transcript.

There’s a whole lot of mumbo jumbo jammed into those three sentences. Joe Romm unpacks it best: “One of the GOP’s senior leaders thinks this debate is about whether carbon dioxide is a carcinogen? And thinks carcinogens harm the environment, rather than people? And thinks that cows are of concern because they produce carbon dioxide, rather than methane?”

While most of the initial reaction has been focused on mocking Boehner’s “cows fart a lot” comment, it’s the end of the interview that’s most telling. For all the attention to Boehner’s ham-handed cow comparison, he just can’t deliver the beef. All Boehner can do is duck and flounder.

Watch an increasingly exasperated Stephanopoulos give Boehner chance after chance to give a straight answer a simple question: What’s your plan?

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it sounds like from what you’re saying that you don’t believe that Republicans need to come up with a plan to control carbon emissions? You’re suggesting it’s not that big of a problem, even though the scientific consensus is that it has contributed to the climate change.

BOEHNER: I think it is — I think it is an issue. The question is, what is the proper answer and the responsible answer?

STEPHANOPOULOS: And what is the answer? That’s what I’m trying to get at.

BOEHNER: George, I think everyone in America is looking for the proper answer. We don’t want to raise taxes, $1.5 to $2 trillion like the administration is proposing, and we don’t want to ship millions of American jobs overseas. And so we’ve got to find ways to work toward this solution to this problem without risking the future for our kids and grandkids.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you are committed to coming up with a plan?

BOEHNER: I think you’ll see a plan from us. Just like you’ve seen a plan from us on the stimulus bill and a better plan on the budget.

Here’s the full clip:

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Published: April 20, 2009