‘Sneaky,’ ‘Crafty’ Republicans Plot Guerrilla War Over Climate Bill

April 28, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

For a man who read the morning paper during a congressional hearing on the Waxman-Markey climate bill last week, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) sure seems to be enjoying the fight over the legislation.

Barton, the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, doesn’t have any illusions about his role in the process; he is well aware that the details of the bill will be hammered out by the committee’s liberal and moderate Democrats. But he does hope to have some fun in the process by helping spark “mass chaos” at next week’s markup, as he told ClimateWire yesterday.

“I’m not the majority, so I’m not going to be the target,” he said. “I’m going to be the sneaky little guy that pops up from behind the bush and fights the guerrilla. But guerrilla warfare does succeed sometimes.” His militant rhetoric echoed that of his colleague Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) last week.

Barton continued: “There are going to be more members who want more allowances than they have allowances to give. So then you make some member mad because he doesn’t get what he thinks is his fair share. And then the crafty Republicans will come in and say we’ve got a deal for you, if you support us, there’s no need for allowances.”

His hope, in other words, is to wreak such havoc upon the negotiations that moderate House Democrats decide to support the nonexistent Republican alternative legislation, which, if written, would almost certainly involve no carbon caps, renewable electricity standards or other measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, since Barton does not consider global warming a problem.

Or maybe, after all those boring hearings, he’s just looking to have a little fun.