- Number-crunchers put GOP chances of retaking Senate at 60 percent: report
- Ohio sheriff sends bill to Mexico for cost of jailing illegals
- Fla. voters’ support for medical marijuana bodes well for ballot measure: poll
- Keith Urban concert ends in ‘nutso’ chaos, with dozens arrested, injured
- Very religious still lean toward GOP, reflecting long-term patterns, Gallup poll shows
- Fist bump becoming all the rage for germ-wary handshakers
- Tennessee storms ravage counties, wreck 10 homes
- Chinese police tear down church cross in religion crackdown
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: ‘Obama, Obama, where are you?’
- Maine police find wife, husband, 3 children dead in home
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 Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
- '50 Shades' movie trailer outrages anti-porn groups
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq