GOP Senate Leader: Greens Have 'Just Gotten More Nutty'

     The end of the political convention season must have put Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in a good mood. It got him praising Democrats and complimenting the mainstream media. But it didn’t stop him from criticizing “nutty” environmentalists.

     In a briefing with bloggers at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., September 4, McConnell warned against the drastic “green” actions some have proposed. He also said the media isn’t what it once was when it comes to liberals outnumbering conservatives.

     McConnell was asked what the Republican Party could do to satisfy some grassroots activists who are concerned about the environment.

     “We’re not unconcerned about the environment, but there are – you take the climate change issue – there are two ways to go at it,” McConnell said. “You can either clamp down our economy or you can develop the technology to deal with the problem. We believe that if climate change is a problem, the way to go after it is with technology.”

     Some of the proposals have come from House leadership, specifically House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Pelosi had said she was trying to “save the planet.”

     “I was amused by the Speaker saying she was out to save the planet,” McConnell said. “I’m all for saving the planet, but let me ask you the following question: In what way do you save the planet by exporting oil and gas production from the most environmentally sensitive, most technologically proficient country in the world to places like Nigeria and Kazakhstan? I think not.”

     McConnell said that the logical conclusion of bearing down on off-limits oil leases in energy policy would result in job losses.

     “Exporting production out of America to somewhere else doesn’t do one darn thing to quote, ‘Save the planet,’” McConnell said. “Putting clamps on the American economy, when you know the Chinese and Indians are not going to do it, to do one thing to ‘save the planet’ simply grinds down your own economy and exports jobs to Asia.”

     McConnell addressed the progression of the environmental movement in this regard – wanting to limit energy, specifically offshore drilling, in the name of the environmental movement over the last 10 years.

     “I think they’ve just gotten more nutty,” McConnell concluded.

     In that same briefing, McConnell talked about how much more balance there is in the media today than under the Fairness Doctrine.

     “Actually, it’s better than it used to be,” McConnell said. “When I was in my 20s, you had the National Review. That was about it. No talk radio, no conservative newspapers of any consequence, no nothing. Everything was on the left. Now, as a result of getting rid of the Fairness Doctrine, we have vital, vibrant discussion on radio.”

     McConnell credited conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the growth of talk radio for changing the media for the better as a whole.

     “The Rush Limbaugh phenomenon – which has had a number of kind of clones out there that have been helpful,” he said. “The advent of Fox News, which in my view is the only channel that’s really objective and really presents both sides – that’s all better than it used to be. And The Wall Street Journal editorial page, of course, is absolutely essential.”

     And McConnell said the conservative voices have helped improve other media as well. “Yeah, it’s still tilted to the left,” he said, “but it used to be a whole lot worse.”

     McConnell also offered praise for Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent. Lieberman spoke at the Republican National Convention on September 3. When asked if he would welcome Lieberman to the Republican Party, McConnell said “certainly.”

     “Well with regard to Lieberman, we certainly would welcome him,” McConnell said. “He would be out of sync with most of our members on domestic issues, but frankly we have some other members who are and he’s very solid – he’s really the last Scoop Jackson Democrat – the last democrat who really believes in a strong national defense and standing up to terrorism.”