- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
EDITORIAL: James Hansen for Congress
Question of the Day
Yesterday, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, James Hansen, called for oil executives to be tried for “high crimes against humanity and nature.” He also pledged to campaign against members of Congress with “poor” climate-change records, reported the Guardian. This follows comparisons of adversaries to Holocaust deniers and bosses of organized crime and a long record of adversarial relations with the elected officials who, in theory, oversee him. In short, Mr. Hansen sounds like a member of Congress, or perhaps Al Gore - which, indeed, points to two of the legitimate options a vocal, caustic public advocate such as Mr. Hansen has in a representative democracy. High technocrat for global warming is not one of them.
The question is: Would Mr. Hansen’s blatant political advocacy be tolerated anywhere else in the federal government? Could a decorated general advocate an invasion of Iran or North Korea, calling his congressional opponents weak or traitorous, without violating his office? Of course not.
The NASA climate-science chief should stop trading on the public trust of an unappointed federal scientific position and try running for one of the offices that possess the legitimate powers he seeks to usurp. Short of that, he could convince George Soros to fund a think tank. In some respects, we tilt at windmills to even make the suggestion, since certainly there is no political will to sack Mr. Hansen for violating the public trust. Mr. Hansen makes more media appearances than the average cabinet secretary. He knows how to get attention.
Certainly no one should expect Mr. Hansen to act upon the merits of this argument on his own. A scientific institution such as the Goddard Institute for Space Studies is perhaps the ideal place for an ambitious empire-builder to push the limits of political advocacy while retaining the credibility of science. Housed in New York City’s Columbia University and affiliated with its well-funded, well-connected Earth Institute, Mr. Hansen’s operation is far removed from Washington’s political tentacles at Goddard’s main campus in Beltsville, Md.
The United States is still a representative democracy. The sort of high-priest technocrat that Mr. Hansen presumes to be stands outside that tradition. An advocate is an advocate.
By Isaac Orr
New carbon-dioxide rules would put America in the dark
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors