Photo via Boston Globe
Charles Barker is running for governor of Massachusetts. He's well educated, having graduated from Harvard, and he's got an MBA from Northwestern. But when asked whether or not he agrees with the majority of scientists that climate change is happening, he curiously said this: "I'm not saying I believe in it. I'm not saying I don't ... I absolutely am not smart enough to believe I know the answer to that question.''Which seems strange. He certainly seems smart enough to interpret widely disseminated scientific analysis--I'd hope so, at least, since he' aspiring to govern an entire state. It leads the blog Blue Mass Group to wonder:
Is Baker actually as ignorant as he claims to be? Is he really not "smart enough?"Now, to me it's obvious that he's simply dodging the question there for political reasons. And I'm not surprised in the least that he's adopting a line that will more likely than not lead to policies that obstruct climate action (his membership in the GOP attests to that with near-certainty).
Or, has he simply decided that it's good politics to pretend to be stupid? If Baker took truth serum before he answered the Globe does anyone honestly believe that he would maintain this pretense that he does not believe in global warming? Yes-it's sad but true that some, though not all Republicans (witness the exceptions like Lindsey Graham) have decided it's good fun to reject science, but Baker headed an organization vitally dependent on the scientific progress.
So which is it: not smart enough or intellectually dishonest? Could someone explain why either quality would make him well-suited to be governor?
But what's interesting is his selected method of doing so here, and what it says about the current state of climate issues in politics. It shows that he's banking on there being enough people currently confused about the state of climate science to accept such non-answers as valid. I think it's too bad that this is the case, obviously, that in one way or another, politicians continue to be able to address climate change in dishonest fashion without being held liable by their constituents, would-be constituents, or the MSM.