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Scott Brown pulls off a rare climate reversal

Scott Brown isn't just wrong about climate change, he's wrong in a unique and special kind of way.
Image: Former U.S. senator Scott Brown speaks at the SALT conference in Las Vegas in this file photo
Former U.S. senator Scott Brown speaks at the SALT conference in Las Vegas in this file photo from May 16, 2014.
Running for re-election in Massachusetts two years ago, then-Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) was eager to highlight issues on which he disagreed with his party. Asked in 2012 whether he believes in global warming, for example, Brown said in a debate, "Yes, yes I do. I absolutely believe that climate change is real and I believe there's a combination between man-made and natural."
Now, however, Brown is running in a new state, New Hampshire, where he's adopted a new position.

During a GOP primary debate on Saturday, Brown was asked if he believed that "the theory of man-made climate change has been scientifically proven." The former Massachusetts senator, who hopes to challenge Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), responded, "Uh, no." [...] NextGen Climate, a group backed by billionaire financier and climate activist Tom Steyer working to elect Democrats, said Brown "can't make up his mind about what he believes" on climate change, immigration, health care or women's rights. "New Hampshire voters see Scott Brown for what he is: someone more interested in his own political career than in the issues that matter to Granite State voters," said Pete Kavanaugh, the New Hampshire director for NextGen.

The criticism is well grounded, though what strikes me as the most significant angle is the direction of Brown's reversal.
There are, to be sure, plenty of climate deniers, especially in contemporary Republican politics. There are also plenty of climate skeptics who grudgingly came to terms with reality in the face of overwhelming evidence.
But the universe of people who considered the evidence, accepted reality, and then changed their minds after the fact is quite small. In fact, I can't think of any other politician in Congress or on the national stage who started with the contention that climate change is absolutely real, but who then later added, "On second thought, maybe I'm not convinced after all."
To this extent, Scott Brown isn't just wrong, he's wrong in a special kind of way.
The video of Brown's comments were released by American Bridge 21st Century. The audio quality isn't perfect, but the Republican Senate campaign has not disputed its accuracy.