Each of us can think of that someone in history or in the present day who fits the description, “larger than life.”

Think Winston Churchill, John Wayne, JFK, Babe Ruth, Kim …(never mind – you get the point).

This past week in Washington, D.C., that figure was none other than Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump, and now a convicted felon who is headed to federal prison. In fact, Mr. Cohen wasn’t just larger than life; he was more important than the Planet Earth itself!

Mr. Cohen testified for three days before different committees of the U.S. House of Representatives, two days of which were behind closed doors, and one day in public. His public appearance before the House Oversight and Reform committee was widely attended by members of Congress of both parties, and had wall-to-wall television news coverage plus hours more of commentary by media talking-heads.

By contrast, just one day prior to the public hearing featuring Cohen, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on climate change.  It was attended by exactly two Democrats (the majority Party in the House), a handful of Republicans, and basically no media. The Republicans, the minority Party, summarily out-voted the two Democrats to end the hearing before it started due to the obvious lack of interest – from themselves, the Democrats who were AWOL, and the media, which ignored it altogether.

Nary a day goes by without alarmist statements of politicians and media figures pretending to be scientists—along with scientists posing as politicians and media figures—about the inexorable gloom and doom of the Planet Earth. Man-made climate change, it’s often claimed, is an “existential threat;” the Earth will be “uninhabitable” in just a few decades hence; we face the “point of no-return” even sooner (or a bit later), and so forth. That’s the mantra from nearly every Democratic elected official and major media and Hollywood figure, and they are sticking to it.

With such a dire emergency, you would think a congressional hearing this past week on the subject of climate change would draw full attendance from members of Congress and wall-to-wall news coverage, at least from the cable networks. It drew neither, and became a non-event as a result.

Now, members of Congress lead frenetic lives. They get pulled in all kinds of directions with committee meetings, constituents, television appearances, speeches, travel junkets, fundraisers, and so on. It’s hard to be everywhere simultaneously. Still, with the point-of-no-return supposedly fast approaching for our planet, you would think the same politicians would at least pretend to care by showing up at a committee hearing on the cause—climate change—and what to do.

Instead, the news channels and D.C. politicians were fixated on Michael Cohen, President Trump’s latest enemy of the moment, who was thought to have the goods on the president and who poured out his dubious self to the House Oversight Committee.

Notwithstanding the glaring contrast of these two House committee hearings on Capitol Hill, there may be a striking similarity: the credibility of Michael Cohen and man-made climate change are suspect, to say the least.

All but the most blindly partisan know Michael Cohen was a charlatan and a convicted perjurer, and had nothing new or substantive to offer.  Even the Office of Special Counsel had no need of him for its investigation of President Trump. He’s that useless. Yet, members of Congress pretended he mattered and conducted a show hearing, which for many of them advances their political interests – nothing more.

Could the same be said for climate change? That is, how many politicians beyond Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and several other fanatics sincerely believe the Earth will end soon because mankind is destroying it with its capitalistic lifestyle? In fact, evidence suggests insincerity even from Sen. Sanders, given his demand of the 2016 Clinton campaign for carbon-spewing private jet travel.

Politicians are notoriously short-term thinkers, as in the next meeting, the next fundraiser, or the next election. Most don’t worry about long-term issues like “Earth in the Balance” or the $22 trillion national debt because it remains a problem well into the future, if at all.

Might many of the politicians who claim man-made climate change is a long-term threat say so because it serves their near-term political interests, e.g., fundraising, re-election, and accolades from Hollywood actors? The non-attendance and non-attention to this latest hearing on climate change—which became a non-hearing—is a clue that perhaps not a few politicians are actually phoning it in on this issue about which they pretend to care.

Judging by interest of media and our elected officials in D.C. this past week, their priorities were clear:  Michael Cohen regurgitating insults was more important than the man-made climate change. He’s not just larger than life. Michael Cohen, for one brief shining moment in America, was larger than Earth itself.

Author

  • Peter Murphy, a CFACT analyst, has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the New York Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.