Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips, Koch-funded astroturf leader, talks about next steps in the war on climate science. A good case study in how denialism is intertwined with right-wing “free market” radicalism fronting for corporate interests.Brad Johnson at Wonk Room had a post on November 27 (“Tim Phillips On Climate Policy: ‘If We Win The Science Argument, It’s Game, Set, And Match’”) that began with (boldface added):
At an October blogger briefing at the Heritage Foundation, Americans For Prosperity president Tim Phillips explained his organization’s plans for defending global warming pollution. A day after his policy director, Phil Kerpen, claimed the organization did not question the science of climate change at a Center for American Progress Action Fund event, Phillips relished in the success of the “UK email scandals” for convincing people of a scientific “conspiracy,” saying “over the last ten years it appears it was cooling and not warming.” “If we win the science argument, I think it’s game, set, and match” for “the left,” he expounded. Phillips also discussed his plans as head of the astroturf group to make the Environmental Protection Agency an “albatross” and to kill “the myth of green jobs.”
Phillips has harnessed right-wing populist anger in the service of pollution giant Koch Industries on several fronts, especially to prevent any limits on greenhouse gas pollution. His organization’s propaganda efforts include attacks on climate legislation, with the “No Climate Tax” pledge signed by a large majority of freshmen Republicans, and the “Hot Air Tour” that has traveled around the country the last few summers. AFP’s “Regulation Reality” campaign attempts to demonize the Environmental Protection Agency. Their campaigns use a mix of false economic arguments, appeals to patriotic freedom, and support of global warming denial.
In 2011, Phillips announced, his organization plans to drive a wedge between Congress and the EPA, to increase attacks on climate science, and to attempt to discredit clean energy jobs, creating the impression that the American people support a pollution agenda (even though polls show the opposite).
The post on Wonk Room also includes extended quotes from Phillips, which show how he weaves together denialist talking points and specious assertions into a framework that can be used by politicians and interest groups to attack on several fronts.
His talk is posted on YouTube here.
Joe Romm comment on Climate Progress:
For the record, the polling makes clear that climate hawks have won the economic argument with the public — as well as the argument that we should take action on global warming and that the EPA should regulate emissions. It is only our feckless leaders in Washington that haven’t gotten the message.
For more on Americans for Prosperity and the Koch brothers, see:
Americans for Prosperity: Distorting climate change science and economics in well-funded campaign
Koch Industries multibillionaire Koch brothers bankroll attacks on climate change science and policy
Jane Mayer, “Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama,” The New Yorker, August 30, 2010
The Big Money Behind Americans for Prosperity
Source Watch – Americans for Prosperity
Wikipedia – Americans for Prosperity
And this on Tim Phillips:
Tim Phillips, The Man Behind The ‘Americans For Prosperity’ Corporate Front Group Factory
With nearly 70 Republican operatives and former oil industry spokesmen working behind the scenes of AFP’s various fronts and disclosures that point to ever increasing oil and corporate donations to the group, one must wonder, who is guiding this massive front group factory?
The answer is Tim Phillips, the President of AFP who has built a long career of inventing fake grassroots causes. In Phillips’ official biography, there appears to be over a 10 year gap — but that period was when Phillips developed his very first astroturf groups to do everything from smearing his opponents with anti-Semitic attacks to laundering money for criminal lobbyists….
Phillips’ brass knuckled hits on fellow Republicans almost prevented the only Jewish Congressman in the GOP caucus from ever being elected. Phillips set up a 527 called “The Faith and Family Alliance,” a group supposedly designed to support conservative and Christian causes. But like his other front groups, Phillips used the Family Alliance to simply slime his political opponents with an organization that appeared to represent a grassroots community. The Richmond Times Dispatch reported that Phillips was hired by State Sen. Stephen Martin to manage his direct mail campaign against State Del. Eric Cantor in the 2000 Republican primary for the Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Tom Bliley (R-VA). Phillips used his Family Alliance to blast robo-calls and mass mailers claiming Cantor did not represent “Virginia values” and that his opponent was the “only Christian in the contest.”
Larry Sabato, a political analyst and the director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, noted: “A despicable, underground campaign that was unquestionably anti-Semitic nearly beat Cantor…”
Tim Phillips and Americans for Prosperity are a revealing and significant case example of how the war on climate science has become inextricably intertwined with right-wing “free market” radicalism in the service of corporate power and ultra-rich funders, and sleazy political operations without a shred of integrity.