Facing a nasty primary challenge from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Perry thought he had locked up support from the crazy crowd after brazenly suggesting that his state could secede from the Union in response to President Obama's policies. Yet with early voting beginning today, Perry has suddenly found himself out-crazied by Tea Party activist Debra Medina.
In addition to appearing to endorse two of the Tea Partiers' favorite conspiracy theories - that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen, and that 9/11 was an inside job - Medina has also gained considerable traction in far-right circles by railing against the Environmental Protection Agency's CO2 "endangerment finding." The finding - that runaway carbon dioxide emissions threaten human health by fueling global warming and its damaging effects - gives the EPA the power to regulate and limit carbon pollution. Most important, however, is the fact that the EPA's finding has sparked renewed debate and energy in Congress around the idea of pricing carbon emissions, thus harnessing the power of the free market to boost clean energy production and reduce pollution.
Mountains of evidence show that limiting carbon emissions can be a good thing for entrepreneurship, helping to create 1.7 million new jobs and generating billions in clean energy investment. Yet Medina has been railing that the EPA ruling threatens the Texas economy, and Perry is scrambling to out-crazy her: today, the Governor's office announced that the state of Texas will be suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the finding:
The EPA’s misguided plan paints a big target on the backs of Texas agriculture and energy producers and the hundreds of thousands of Texans they employ. This legal action is being taken to protect the Texas economy and the jobs that go with it, as well as defend Texas’ freedom to continue our successful environmental strategies free from federal overreach.”
Worse (or better, if you're a Rick Perry advisor), Perry uses the announcement as an opportunity to endorse a grab bag of phony conspiracy theories surrounding climate science:
The state’s legal action indicates EPA’s Endangerment Finding is legally unsupported because the agency outsourced its scientific assessment to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been discredited by evidence of key scientists’ lack of objectivity, coordinated efforts to hide flaws in their research, attempts to keep contravening evidence out of IPCC reports and violation of freedom of information laws.
Translation: Debra Medina may think the U.S. government brought down the World Trade Center, but I'm convinced that 1,700 Ph.D.'s are involved in an elaborate plot to trick the world's major economies into doing something that's in everyone's best interest!
So now that Perry's a card-carrying member of the Climate "Truther" Squad, we're wondering if R?S? fave Sen. James Inhofe is considering putting in an appearance on his behalf. We sure hope so: if nothing else, it'll make great political theater!