Rohrabacher torches latest global-warming report

The congressman's reaction?

"Well, I've never taken my cues from big industry," he said with a chuckle.

He may not take big industry's cues, but he takes its money. Of the $80,040 Rohrabacher has raised so far to win re-election in November, 79 percent has come from business. In the 1997-1998 cycle, business accounted for 82 percent of his $316,704 total.

The reason is clear: Rohrabacher has been one of big business' steadiest votes, especially where those votes concern "science," and more so when the science involves gold-plated military technology programs like Star Wars. In hearings and votes that would have directly benefited key Rohrabacher contributors—including Boeing, Loral Systems and Hughes Aircraft—Rohrabacher sought two years ago to reanimate the moribund, Reagan-era anti-missile program nicknamed for the 1970s-era sci-fi movie. But with the Soviet Union on the ash heap of history, where was the enemy against whose missiles the Stars Wars program would be deployed? Incoming interstellar asteroids—like the killer-cosmic scuds depicted in the 1998 sci-fi movies Deep Impactand Armageddon.

However, it's more likely that Rohrabacher acts from ideological—rather than merely financial or even cinematic—considerations. If scientists establish a link between global warming and industry, that would seem to demand massive government intervention. Rohrabacher, a student leader of the libertarian movement in the 1960s, would likely rather suck on a muffler pipe than acknowledge there's a legitimate role for government in global warming.

Or perhaps not a muffler pipe. Confronted with bacteria-induced beach closures in his district last summer, Rohrabacher reacted then as he has now: by casting doubt upon the evidence, arguing for go-slow government policies, and demanding further study—tactics not so much libertarian as Luddite.

In Dana's world, shit in the ocean and alarming weather trends should not fool Americans into giving in to "people who want to give the government the power to regulate and control more of the world's economic activities."

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