Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate targeted global warming skeptics on the Senate floor in July, potentially hurting claims the nominee is someone constitutional conservatives can support.
Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, was tasked with heaping scorn on conservative nonprofit groups in early July for opposing Democratic policies addressing man-made global warming.
Kaine was chosen as Democratic presidential nominee Clinton’s running mate on July 22, no more than a week after the Virginia senator was tasked with criticizing Virginia-based nonprofit groups for not toeing the line on Democratic policies addressing climate change.
There is a cabal of organizations that “knowingly try to misrepresent the status of climate science, and suggest that climate change is not occurring,” Kaine said July 11 on the Senate floor.
The Virginia Institute for Public Policy “makes statements that are promoting a false point of view,” he said, adding, that the free market group “promotes the idea that ‘oh, well, we shouldn’t do anything about it (global warming).”
It is one thing to disagree about how climate change should be approached, Kaine argued, it is quite another to openly deny that the climate is changing.
The inquisition began when Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, directed 19 of his fellow Democratic senators to attack conservative and libertarian organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and the Cato Institute on the chamber floors for engaging in what the senators call a “web of denial.”
Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada, as well as Chuck Schumer of New York joined Kaine on July 11 targeting groups like Mercatus Center.
Emily Enderle, a top environmental policy adviser to Whitehouse, who is leading the hit parade, constructed the strategy in an internal email with several leading environmental groups — some of the groups include the Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Clean Water Action.
Conservative groups argued the move by Kaine, among others, is an example of senators unfairly targeting the free speech rights of organizations not falling in lock step with global warming orthodoxy.
“It’s unbelievable the level of coordination the Senate Democrats have taken to political intimidate free market organizations,” Molly Drenkard, a spokeswoman with the American Legislative Economic Exchange (ALEC), told The Daily Caller News Foundation on July 11. ALEC was one of the conservative groups targeted by the senators.
But now some conservatives are attempting to paint a different picture of Kaine, who is currently running against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, a candidate many conservatives feel is not fit to be president.
Washington Post columnist George Will, for one, has begun laying down a coda suggesting Kaine might be the most palatable candidate for constitutional conservatives.
“There probably is no Democratic governor or senator more palatable than Kaine to constitutional conservatives,” Will wrote in an editorial Tuesday. “Such conservatives are eager to bring presidential power back within constitutional constraints, and Kaine is among the distressingly small minority of national legislators interested in increased congressional involvement in authorizing the use of military force.”
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