Dumbass Quote of the Day

Dumbass Quote of the Day November 26, 2011

You gotta give Mitt Romney credit for his ability to emulate utter stupidity. When he panders, he doesn’t just dip his toe in it, he dives in head first and splashes around. This may be one of the most idiotic statements ever made in politics (and imagine the competition for that award):

“I’m all in favor of eliminating pollution,” Romney said. “Now I know there is also a movement to say that carbon dioxide should be guided or should be managed by the Environmental Protection Agency. I disagree with that.

“I exhale carbon dioxide,” he added. “I don’t want those guys following me around with a meter to see if I’m breathing too hard.”

That’s such an obvious straw man that it might well end up being appointed as his running mate when he wins the nomination.

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  • davidct

    He should have mentioned the methane coming out the other end which is even worse.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Think of all the money we’ll save when Romney figures out we don’t need any form of sewage treatment!

  • Artor

    Neither methane or CO2 are the worst noxious gasses that come out of either end of Romney. The other hot air could be much more damaging to the environment if he’s elected.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    That’s such an obvious straw man that it might well end up being appointed as his running mate when he wins the nomination.

    That would be a ginormous improvement over the GOP’s last VP nominee. [Somebody had to state the obvious.]

  • D. C. Sessions

    davidct@1: nothing coming from his methane emitter can do even a fraction of the damage that the stuff coming from his mouth does.

  • Ellie

    I should think all the politicians et al, who believe CO2 is such a wonderful thing, would want to take full advantage of it, and wear plastic bags over their heads.

    Or perhaps, in spite of all the rhetoric, they recognize that we exhale carbon dioxide for a reason?

  • Damn the EPA anyway!

    “I don’t want those guys following me around with a meter to see if I’m breathing too hard.”

    Michele Bachmann was the queen of absurdity (death panels, etc.) but Romney takes the crown.

    Obviously the American Association of Breath-o-lizer Manufacturers & Field Agents didn’t contribute to his campaign.

    Davidct #1:

    Romney doesn’t exude methane but rainbows and pixie dust. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • Trebuchet

    Michele Bachmann was the queen of absurdity (death panels, etc.) but Romney takes the crown.

    You’re mixing you’re wingnuts, I’m afraid — that was Sarah Palin.

  • Trebuchet

    Awww, dang, blockquote failure. Must remember to insert the slash in the second one after pasting!

  • I’ve encountered a few crazy people who go on about the methane and carbon dioxide given off by cattle as contributors to the greenhouse effect, and denialists who use such people for ridicule like Romney did here. So I feel like clarifying the issue for those who don’t know: It’s not about what gives off carbon, it’s about the amount of carbon in circulation.

    For livestock, the carbon is in the air, gets absorbed by CO2 breathing plants, then it’s eaten by the animals (or the humans who eat those animals), who breathe or fart it back out into the atmosphere. The amount of carbon in the atmosphere remains pretty stable in that process. That’s not what’s causing global warming. For the same reason, burning wood is carbon neutral, so long as you’re growing replacement trees.

    What’s responsible for global warming is primarily the use of fossil fuels. Oil, coal, and natural gas are carbon sources that were safely sequestered underground, rarely interacting with our atmosphere. Then humans started digging it up and burning it, adding that carbon to the atmosphere. Without processes to take a roughly equal amount of carbon back out of the atmosphere, the total amount will keep increasing.

    That’s why a lot of “green” companies will brag about a project being carbon neutral. Supposedly, they went through the trouble of sequestering enough carbon to balance out the amount produced by the project.

  • False Bronze Dog, livestock contributes about 17% of all anthropic greenhouse gas emissions, there simply aren’t enough plants to sustain the billions of animals we raise for consumption

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cow-emissions-more-damaging-to-planet-than-cosub2sub-from-cars-427843.html

    Overall livestock accounts for more of global warming than all forms of transportation combined and more than industry

    http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772&CR1=warning

    Do your research please

  • axilet

    Yeah, and next thing you know EPA will be sending out hitmen to off people to protect the environment. /delusional wingnut.

  • Huh. Missed out on that.

  • abear

    DC @5: Watching the GOP debates, if the candidates lips hadn’t been moving,I would have thought all of them were talking out of their methane emitters.

  • Trebuchet @8:

    You’re right. They’ve got me all confused!

  • fishskicanoe

    The worst thing about Mittens is he is such a hypocrite. He was defending policies to combat AGW just earlier this year.

    http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/06/03/236305/mitt-romney-reducing-global-warming-pollution-is-important/

  • Modusoperandi

    *Pbbt!* Like that’ll be enough red meat for the wingnuts. The party is far enough gone now that he has to promise to run out in to the forest and waterboard Bambi with dioxin.

  • peterh

    @ #1,

    I’ve read that cattle & termites produce far more methane than humans. (CH4 from landfills is now coming onto the power grid in some locations.) Water vapor is reported to trump both CO2 & CH4. Review the NOAA records for US airspace in the fall of 2001. Almost no aircraft except military and the abrupt change in weather attributes was unmistakable.

  • krisrhodes

    Re: Methane vs. CO2

    While Shak’s point about the importance of methane is correct, bronze dog is also correct that fossil CO2 is the big problem.

    This is because the half live of the respective gassive in the atmosphere; methane’s half life is about 10 years at which point it’s effect is over. CO2 has a half life of several hundred years. The cumulative effect means that CO2 is a long term problem and difficult to address. Methane is a short term problem that can be dealt with comparatively easily.

    Also, keep in mind that the world was filled with methane producing ruminants before we showed up. Herds of billions of Bison, etc. This isn’t new. Unearthing carbon that has been out of the system for 300 million years and using it for energy is new.

    Shak: there simply aren’t enough plants to sustain the billions of animals we raise for consumption

    What are you trying to say? The only source of energy to sustain animals is plants. Your statement is nonsensical.

  • macallan

    How about cap & trade on hot air coming from political slimebags?

  • This is one of those cases where not only must Romney know he’s spewing bullshit, but that the particular type of bullshit is the most ignorant possible. Anyone using this argument is effectively signaling, “I know nothing about the subject, and will learn nothing”. The carbon cycle is not exactly hard to understand (they teach it to 3rd graders), and I’m pretty sure Romney understands it. He’s just signaling his willingness to go to the mat for the cause of denialism by using the stupidest argument possible. Another reason why this guy should be allowed nowhere near the White House.

  • naturalcynic

    @ peterh:

    Water vapor is indeed the most important greenhouse gas. However there has been little change in water vapor, so it contributes little to the temperature change. The gas that has changed in relative concentration the most is CO2. And any change in temperature will be a positive feedback for the amount of water vapor, which exacerbates the positive feedback.

    The location of the water in the atmosphere is important. There was a decrease in ice crystals and thin high icy clouds following 9/11 from the reduction in jet contrails.

  • Chris from Europe

    After such appeals common sense bullshit Mittens does this awkward smile/laugh. How could he be elected Governor of Massachusetts?

  • Modusoperandi

    Chris from Europe, to be fair he was a different Mitt Romney back then. Actually, the same, but at that time and that place mimicking the crazy ignorant wasn’t a job requirement.

  • @krisrhodes

    I agree with you about the half life of methane vs. CO2, but let’s also not forget that Methane is about 25 times more potent. CO2 is clearly still the more important issue, but Methane isn’t insignificant. I was simply trying to point out that Bronze Dog was wrong in his assertion that livestock emissions do not contribute to global warming.

    My statement that you quoted was poorly worded; I mean’t to say that there aren’t enough plants to OFFSET the total fossil fuel emissions from the livestock. Sorry for the silly mistake

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that past ruminant populations weren’t on the same scale as they are now because their carrying capacity was smaller than it is now with all the food we provide for them.

    It’s a little befuddling

    http://www.climatescience.gov/infosheets/highlight1/default.htm

    This link says atmospheric methane has doubled in the past two centuries, is that just because of rotting garbage and industry or does livestock play a role in that>

  • Just found out that Methane’s half life is only about 10 years because it is oxidized to by the hydroxyl radical in the atmosphere. This converts it into water vapour and, you guessed it, CO2. Perhaps that is why it is considered to have a higher global warming potential.

    http://unfccc.int/ghg_data/items/3825.php

  • krisrhodes

    Wikipedia article on atmospheric methane is pretty good.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_methane

    Have you ever heard stories of billions of buffalo roaming the great planes? Man has taken over a lot of the ecosystem that used to be used by other species, including large ruminants. I’m not sure if anyone actually knows if the # of ruminants is higher today then it was under pre-human conditions.

    All the estimates for where current atmospheric CO2 come from are terrible. Treat that data as very, very rough. That said, livestock do emit a significant amount of methane. If we ate less beef, we could reduce methane emissions that way. But melting permafrost could be a big source and is poorly understood and quantified. Growing rice also creates wetlands which create methane.

    Methane does seem to be high today compared to the past few millions years, on the order of x2-3. Tough to argue that it’s not anrthopogenic, but as mentioned, pinpointing it down past that is pretty rough.

    Shak:

    The CO2 that ends up in the atmosphere after methane breaks down started in the atmosphere for the most part; it’s a net break even. It’s “higher potential” is based entirely on how it absorbs and emits radiation.

  • Yeah I can see why it’d be tough to pinpoint sources of atmospheric methane with any precision.

    That’s just the thing, I don’t know whether the stories about billions of buffalo are exaggerated or not. I don’t see how an ecosystem would be able to support the population of as many ruminants as we do, considering how much agriculture of ours goes directly towards feeding our livestock. It seems likely that there were perhaps hundreds of million of ruminants in the past, still a large number, but not on the same order of magnitude as the 1.3 billion cattle and even more sheep and other ruminants today

  • Azkyroth

    Bronzedog:

    Even aside from that, methane is much (about 70 times, IIRC) more efficient at trapping infrared radiation than CO2, so every CO2 molecule turned into methane by the two step process of photosynthesis and fermentation in cow guts increases the total global warming load.

  • Azkyroth

    Err,yeah.

  • krisrhodes

    I don’t believe that humans have substantially increased primary productivity on the planet. In fact, instead of growing grass on the great plains which could be completely consumed by artiodactyls, we grow corn which only has part of it eaten. There are certainly marginal areas where we have increased productivity, but for the most part we have just taken over what was already there.

    There’s no reason to think that a great plains that grows corn, then has that corn fed to hogs and cows, couldn’t have supported huge buffalo herds in the past with grass.

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