House Science Committee keeps embarrassing itself

Image: The dome of the U.S. Capitol is reflected on the first day of the 113th Congress in Washington
The dome of the U.S. Capitol is reflected on the first day of the 113th Congress in Washington January 3, 2013. In the wake of bruising fights in their own...
American politics is filled with cringe-worthy personalities and developments, but among the most dramatic embarrassments is the Republican-run House Science Committee. Take yesterday, for example.

The House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology's Twitter account retweeted a Breitbart News article that is unscientific and steeped in opinion on Thursday.The article claims the science behind global warming is "in its final death rattle."

"Thanks [sic] what's now recognized as an unusually strong El Nino, global temperatures were driven to sufficiently high levels to revive the alarmist narrative -- after an unhelpful pause period of nearly 20 years -- that the world had got hotter than ever before," Breitbart's article, written by a climate denier, told readers.Most sensible adults would recognize this as nonsense. The GOP-led House Science Committee thought it was insightful and worth sharing to a broader audience.The committee is led by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), a favorite of Big Oil, who is both a notorious climate denier and an occasional contributor to Breitbart News -- a right-wing website formerly run by Steven Bannon, who'll soon serve as the chief strategist to the president of the United States.The broader problem is that the House Science Committee keeps finding new ways to make itself the punchline of a national joke. When ExxonMobil, for example, was accused of covering up its climate-change awareness for years, Science Committee Republicans stepped up to protect the oil giant.It's part of a lengthy House Science Committee campaign to combat any public effort to address the climate crisis.Circling back to our coverage from a couple of years ago, part of the problem is that House Republicans appear to go out of their way to find their most anti-science members and then give them seats on the Science Committee. It was, for example, home to former Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), perhaps best known for arguing that cosmology, biology, and geology are, quite literally, “lies straight from the pit of Hell.”Former Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) not long ago said in reference to global warming, “I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that.” His party put him on the House Science Committee.Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) once drafted a resolution for Americans to “join together in prayer to humbly seek fair weather conditions” after a series of destructive tornadoes and droughts. His party put him on the House Science Committee, too.Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) once suggested “dinosaur flatulence” may have caused climate change 55 million years ago. His party put him on the House Science Committee, too.To the extent that reality matters, this committee is not some irrelevant Washington panel. NBC News' report added:

An important committee in the United States House of Representatives, the committee's 38 members are in charge of all energy, environmental, marine, civil aviation and astronautics research and development.This includes oversight of NASA, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, FAA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and FEMA.

As long as there's a Republican majority in the House, however, the committee will remain an embarrassment.