Weekly Standard: Adrift?

Quick on the heels of its recommendation that conservatives support the Senate pro-amnesty immigration bill (for political rather than principled reasons, yet), the Weekly Standard is apparently laying the groundwork for a change in the conservative position on global warming.

From the June 12 issue, in an article by Contributing Editor Irwin M. Stelzer praising Treasury Secretary-designate Hank Paulson with all the enthusiasm usually reserved for people named Bush, comes this:

Then there is the environment, a policy area in which the Bush administration is in something of a time warp. No honest person can with certainty assert that global warming is a threat. But any responsible person can see that the evidence is sufficient to suggest that it might be, and that some action to contain emissions of greenhouse gases is an insurance policy worth having. Paulson is Wall Street’s greenest titan, chairman of the Nature Conservancy, a bird-watcher, an advocate of a greenhouse gas emissions trading system for the United States and of mandatory curbs on emissions if voluntary action proves inadequate. At Goldman, he allocated $1 billion for investment in renewable energy and energy-saving projects. He is likely to make his voice heard in an administration that is said to be ready to move from its justifiable opposition to the Kyoto treaty to more positive proposals for emissions reduction.

No word from the Weekly Standard on the price tag of the “insurance policy worth having” (known as ‘cap and trade’ to those of us speaking plainly) as if 1) the cost wasn’t billions, to be borne mostly by those who can least afford it, and 2) the “insurance policy” would actually lessen global warming IF (a big IF) the environmental left’s position on global warming is accurate.

Will we soon see the Weekly Standard join the New Republic in name-calling skeptics of the notion that slowing the U.S. economy would have a notably beneficial impact on the world’s weather?

And, speaking further on the Weekly Standard, but not on global warming: After noting for some time Fred Barnes’s fawning coverage of Karl Rove, I wondered in April: If Karl Rove were to be indicted, would Fred Barnes spin it as a positive development?

Based on the Fred Barnes/Weekly Standard coverage of Fitzgerald’s reported decision not to indict Rove, I’m guessing “yes.” Barnes begins his article with “The lefties and the media are right about Karl Rove. That’s why they’re in a dither now that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has cleared Rove of any criminal wrongdoing in the overblown leak case…”

I’m not a lawyer, but I believe a decision not to indict is not in any respect the same thing as being “cleared” of “any criminal wrongdoing.” There is such a thing as an “immunity agreeement,” after all, and I believe Fred Barnes and the editors who presumably check his copy most likely have heard of it, as Monica Lewinsky had such a deal in a case that received a tad bit of media coverage, including in the Weekly Standard.

I’m not saying Rove committed a criminal act, by the way, or signed an immunity agreement. When I’m not reading the Weekly Standard (a magazine that used to be my favorite, but which recently has caused my contrarian impulses to kick in), I actually tend, all things equal, to be a fan of Rove. But I am wondering why Fred Barnes seems to want Tony Snow’s job so much, and why the Weekly Standard, a magazine that so often in the past published truly thought-provoking pieces, so frequently lately seems to be adrift.

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