Jebbie finds a message by @BloggersRUs

Jebbie finds a message

by Tom Sullivan

They're scientists. They know stuff. Of course, they're elitists.

In all the earned media Jeb Bush got with his complaint about climate science the other day, nobody noticed.... Well, first, his statement via Think Progress (emphasis mine):

In comments reported by CNN on Wednesday, the potential 2016 presidential candidate called the science of human-caused climate change “convoluted,” and questioned the degree to which carbon emissions are responsible.

“For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you,” he reportedly said. “It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation about it, even.”

I'm loathe to call Bush's statement brilliant, or to suggest that he planned it — it was probably just reflex — but that really is a clever bit of wedge politics. It plays to a carefully cultivated anti-intellectual sentiment among GOP base voters. You don't have to be Richard Hofstadter to figure it out. What the left sees as pandering to anti-science sentiment on the right (or to oil interests) is really the politics of resentment. Also carefully cultivated. Us vs. Them. Real Americans vs. snooty intellectuals. Or the ever-popular city vs. county (deployed frequently around these parts).

And like Pavlov's dog, the left rose to the bait. (Okay, a bit of mixed metaphor there.) Think Progress went all "just the facts, ma'am":

Of the climate scientists who actively publish research, 97 percent agree that humans cause climate change. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — which draws on the knowledge of almost 800 climate experts across the globe — says it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities are the main cause of atmospheric and ocean warming since the 1950s.

CNN reported:

The Democratic National Committee was quick to respond to Bush's comments Wednesday night.

"Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that human activity has led to climate change. Ninety-seven percent. But Jeb Bush thinks they're wrong. Who's being intellectually arrogant now?" said Holly Shulman, DNC spokeswoman, in a written statement.

#Fail. Not only did they prove Jeb Bush's point, they helped him disseminate it.

And his point was? Bush was responding to a quote from President Obama's commencement speech earlier in the day at the Coast Guard Academy. Obama said, "Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security ... it will impact how our military defends our country." Which is already true. But truth was not Bush's point. Truthiness was. And the truthiness is, smartypants lefty intellectuals look down their noses at Real Americans who disagree with them. His Mr. Rogers-ish meta message was, "I like you just the way you are. They disrespect you because you don't think like them."

The left did exactly what it was supposed to. It responded with facts. Bush? Bush was on message.