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PRUDEN: Turn out the lights, the party’s over

- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 2, 2010

OPINION/ANALYSIS:

Scams die hard, but eventually they die, and when they do, nobody wants to get close to the corpse. You can get all the hotel rooms you want this week in Cancun.

The global-warming caravan has moved on, bound for a destination in oblivion. The United Nations is hanging the usual lamb chop in the window this week in Mexico for the U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, but the Washington guests are staying home. Nobody wants to get the smell of the corpse on their clothes.

Everybody who imagined himself anybody raced to Copenhagen last year for the global-warming summit, renamed "climate change" when the globe began to cool, as it does from time to time. Some 45,000 delegates, "activists," business representatives and the usual retinue of journalists registered for the party in Copenhagen. This year, only 1,234 journalists registered for the Cancun beach party. The only story there is that there's no story there. The U.N. organizers glumly concede that Cancun won't amount to anything, even by U.N. standards.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California, who wrote and sponsored the cap-and-trade legislation last year, says he'll be too busy with congressional business (buying stamps for the Christmas cards and getting a haircut and a shoeshine) even to think about going to Cancun. Last year, he joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and dozens of other congressmen in taking staffers and spouses to the party in Copenhagen. The junket cost taxpayers $400,000, but Copenhagen is a friendly town and a good time was had by all. This year, they're all staying home, learning to live like lame ducks.

The Senate's California ladies, cheerleaders for the global-warming scam only yesterday, can't get far enough away from Cancun this year. Dianne Feinstein says she's not even thinking about the weather. "I haven't really thought about [Cancun], to be honest with you," she tells Politico, the Capitol Hill daily. She still loves the scam, but "no - no, no, no, it's just that I'm not on a committee related to it." She's grateful for small blessings.

Barbara Boxer, who was proud to make global warming her "signature" issue only last year, obviously regards that signature now to be a forgery. She would like to be in Cancun, but she has to stay home to wash her hair. She's not even sending anyone from her staff, willing as congressional staffers always are to party on the taxpayer dime. "I'm sending a statement to Cancun." (Stop the press for that.)

This is another lesson that Washington's swamp fevers inevitably subside. Who now remembers Smoot-Hawley, Quemoy and Matsu, and the Teapot Dome? But these were once issues on which the survival of the known world rested. The only global-warming news of this week was the announcement that the House Select Committee on Global Warming would die with the 111th Congress. Mrs. Pelosi established the committee three years ago to beat the eardrums of one and all, a platform for endless argle-bargle about the causes and effects of climate change. The result was the proposed job-killing national energy tax, but with the Republican sweep, there's no longer an appetite for killing jobs.

Rep. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, the chairman of the doomed committee, organized one final event this week, a splashy daylong exercise in gasbaggery starring the usual suspects assigned to drone on for most of the day about the coming global-warming disasters, the melting of the North Pole and the rising of the seas that would make Denver, Omaha and Kansas City seaside resorts. Wesley Clark was the only former presidential candidate to accept an invitation, and he was a no-show. The star witness of the afternoon session was Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an "environmental attorney" who talked about how "clean energy" is nicer than the other kind. Mr. Markey himself, as bored as everyone else, didn't bother to return after lunch.

The members of the committee can now retire with their scrapbooks of clippings to recall the happy days of hearings about global warming (some of them before "global warming" became "climate change" and "liberals" became "progressives"), about how clean energy could replace smelly oil wells and provide Democrats with the means to enact sweeping climate-change legislation. Who could have foreseen that the only "sweeping" would be the sweeping out of so many Democrats?

When the thrill is gone, the thrill is gone, as star-crossed lovers have learned through the ages, and when a scam collapses, it stays collapsed. The thought is enough to warm hearts all across the globe.

- Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

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