Two months after rejecting the idea of wasting the chamber's time on "show votes," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) scheduled a show vote yesterday on the Green New Deal platform. The idea, of course, was to play a little political game in which Republicans would challenge Democrats to vote on an ambitious and politically provocative proposal.
If Dems voted "yes," Republicans would use this for the basis of attack ads. If they voted "no," Dems would invite criticisms from the left. The Senate's Democratic minority decided not to play the pointless game and instead voted "present."
Yesterday's theatrics were not, however, meaningless. The floor "debate" -- I use the word loosely -- brought into focus that Republican officials have no idea how to address the climate crisis, and don't really have a coherent way of even talking about the subject.
To help drive the point home, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) delivered floor remarks yesterday alongside images of Luke Skywalker, Aquaman, and Ronald Reagan firing a gun while riding a dinosaur. The Utah Republican also offered a variety of odd condemnations of the Green New Deal blueprint, insisting it would ban both airplanes and cows. (Neither claim is true.)
Jon Chait added, "While this portion of the speech is extremely stupid and dishonest, it's worth noting that it is not the stupidest part of this speech. The stupidest part, in fact, comes at the end. Lee pivots from mocking the Green New Deal to insisting he does take climate change seriously, and he has a plan, a serious one, unlike the frivolous Green New Deal. His plan is for people to have more babies."
No, really. From Lee's speech:
"Climate change is an engineering problem – not social engineering, but the real kind. It's a challenge of creativity, ingenuity, and technological invention. And problems of human imagination are not solved by more laws, but by more humans!
"More people mean bigger markets for innovation. More babies mean more forward-looking adults -- the sort we need to tackle long-term, large scale problems."
I've seen the video; he did not appear to be kidding.