I’m sure Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and his friend thinks he was making a really good, solid point today on the floor of the U.S. Senate, but he was not. To make matters worse, Lee compounded his scientific illiteracy with some good old fashioned dad jokes in the form of printed stills from cartoons and movies. You have no idea how much I wish this was one of my satirical pieces right now.
Today, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided to flex his trolling muscles and he put up the “Green New Deal,” a proposed set of environmentally-protective legislation sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the Senate and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in the House for a vote. You might think there’s nothing overtly political or partisan about putting a propose bill up for a vote, but that’s not how legislation has been crafted in this country for as long as any of us can remember. McConnell knows full-well that expansive, reformatory bills like the Green New Deal go through several stages of “markup” and amendments that allow both parties to take their best shots at making their constituents happy with the law.
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It was a pretty big bad faith gesture to begin with, and when Lee took to to the floor, as reported by The Washington Post, he made matters even stupider. Lee was there to argue that not only is the Green New Deal unrealistic fanciful liberal thinking, there’s a much better solution to climate change that doesn’t involve writing a new law — people just have to fall in love and have more babies.
“Climate change . . . is a challenge of creativity, ingenuity and technological invention,” Lee said. “And problems of human imagination are not solved by more laws, but by more humans. More people mean bigger markets for innovation. More babies mean more forward-looking adults — the sort we need to tackle long-term, large-scale problems.”
Huh? The solution to global warming is to have more humans be born, thereby increasing the demand for resources, particularly energy, that right now not enough of is generated in a sustainable way? I mean, if you want to call it “logic,” I suppose I get what he’s saying. It’s a numbers game to Sen.Lee. The more babies that are born, the more chances we have that one of them will be the Silver Bullet Baby who, despite what the name makes it sound like, is not a baby who kills werewolves, though I am right now staking my claim to all intellectual property rights for the Silver Bullet Werewolf Hunting Baby franchise I’m now going to develop.
What’s really fun is that Lee’s suggestion is not only condescending pabulum, its not even rooted in science. Lee’s “be fruitful and multiply” suggestion is the 180-degree opposite of what recent climate studies suggest should be the route we take in terms of population control. In fact, reducing your family size by just one child has the same impact on emissions as nearly 700 kids recycling as long as they live, seriously.
A 2017 research article determined that one way an individual could contribute to eliminating greenhouse gases is to have one fewer child.
“A U.S. family who chooses to have one fewer child would provide the same level of emissions reductions as 684 teenagers who choose to adopt comprehensive recycling for the rest of their lives,” the researchers wrote in an article published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
Given that Lee is a modern day Republican elected official, he had to make sure to shoehorn in some very irrelevant nationalist dog whistle rhetoric too. Why this man thinks that a baby being birthed on one continent has more potential for greatness than another is a matter of pure, unadulterated, blind nationalism. What, exactly, is the basis of Lee’s claims? His feelings, would be my guess at his honest answer to that question.
“American babies, in particular, are likely going to be wealthier, better educated, and more conservation-minded than children raised in still-industrializing regions,” Lee said.
Ordinarily, this is where we’d be wrapping the story up, after I maybe summarize how insane it is for a sitting U.S. Senator to make such a mockery of a serious issue like climate change with such scientifically illiterate and illogical solutions. But Lee didn’t just say really questionable stuff on the floor of the senate today.
Lee tried out prop comedy while making his speech, too.
When this tweet was posted to his social media feed, I bet Lee and his social media team all high-fived. Boy did he own the libs today. And you know what? They’re absolutely — WAIT IS THAT A FUCKING TAUNTAUN?
The solution to climate change is not this unserious resolution, but the serious business of human flourishing – the solution to so many of our problems, at all times and in all places: fall in love, get married, and have some kids.https://t.co/N2gYdJFldt pic.twitter.com/ekoFlaECSd
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) March 26, 2019
Yes. That is a tauntaun. From “Empire Strikes Back.” And that was not the only image Lee decided it was wise to spend tax dollars on. Not by a long shot. He also used a photoshop of Reagan on a GD velociraptor from Jurassic Park, and a still from the Aquaman cartoon.
I am pretty sure Lee thought he was being satirical, you know, mocking those libs with his hilarious riffs on dinosaurs and dead presidents. And as a comedian, I try not to call anyone else unfunny, because comedy is subjective and we all have our tastes. Perhaps there are some people out there that think what he did was tremendous comedy, but I think for most of us it was un-that. Like, it was comedy so bad even Dane Cook doesn’t want to steal it from Louis CK…you know, before we found out what price Louis paid for his fame and genius (it was his humanity and dignity and shame, if you’re wondering).
Maybe I’m being too harsh on Mike. Maybe this was his first mic. Maybe he was just working some stuff out. God knows I have definitely bombed on nights when I really thought people would love my new material, so let me re-evaluate Lee’s set and say this…
Lee’s performance today was absolutely hilarious. If you understand pathos, and irony, then you cannot deny that Mike Lee was the most hilarious man on the Hill today. He was absolutely guffaw-inducing and laugh exhorting politician in the world today. I mean, just take a look at his brilliant joke here.
“The solution to climate change is not this unserious resolution, but the serious business of human flourishing,” Lee said. “The solution to so many of our problems, at all times and in all places: fall in love, get married and have some kids.”
You tell me what’s more hilarious than a grown, middle-aged man printing out dad jokes that are bad attempts at memes daring to call anything “unserious” or wasteful. I can’t think of a single one. Maybe suggesting that having more babies will help save us from the worst of climate change’s effects. I’m not sure, you tell me.
For what it’s worth, AOC as per usual had her social media game on point and torched Lee for his dumb display with some of the same condescension conservatives toss her way.
Like many other women + working people, I occasionally suffer from impostor syndrome: those small moments, especially on hard days, where you wonder if the haters are right.
But then they do things like this to clear it right up.
If this guy can be Senator, you can do anything. https://t.co/vU4ChbTnnr
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 26, 2019
Here’s a fun clip of Sen. Mike Lee bringing Reagan on a velociraptor where it rightly belongs — into a discussion about averting potential mass extinction events, courtesy of The Daily Beast.
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) March 26, 2019
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.