During a hearing this week in the House that dealt with transportation matters, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg faced Republican ignorance. Specifically, he was questioned by panel member Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) about the reasoning behind the multi-faceted push towards renewable energy and the lessening of greenhouse gas emissions, like from traditional (meaning non-electric) vehicles.
“The [electric vehicle] revolution is happening with or without us,” Buttigieg told the Congressman. “Exercising their free choice, Americans have tripled the proportion of cars that they are purchasing electric already, and we are still at the very outset of this revolution. You add to [that] the fact that the cost of producing the cars will come down and that if you’ve ever driven one, you probably know that it has superior performance, lower maintenance costs, lower costs of fueling it.”
LaMalfa was dismissive of electric vehicles as a concept, eventually asserting that their rising prominence was tied to government force rather than the consumer demand that Buttigieg cited.
“What I can tell you is that climate change is real,” Buttigieg eventually said in reply, as he tried to lay out the basis for moving forward with support for the development of electric vehicles. LaMalfa was dismissive again. “Yeah, this one’s called autumn,” he said. Daily weather conditions are not the same thing as the climate as a whole, the Secretary noted. “Yeah, that’s the seasons changing, which respectively is not the same thing as the climate changing,” Buttigieg said.
This kind of rank ignorance, expressed here by a Congressman whose district is in the far northern reaches of California, is potentially destructive. It’s also exemplified in the push from House Republicans for an impeachment inquiry targeting President Joe Biden despite the lack of evidence actually tying him, financially or in a similarly meaningful sense, to ostensibly corrupt business dealings that involved his son, Hunter.