Sen. David Vitter, not content to be the most-hated boss in Capitol Hill history, apparently gave his thumbs up to a post on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee website outlining the various ways it's great that most of the EPA has been furloughed.
The post, which appears on the "Blogs" section of the minority caucus' portion of the site, is meant to be the sort of fun, hip numbered list so popular with the kids these days. Or maybe it's supposed to be the sort of top 10 list made popular by David Letterman, the late-night hose so popular with the aging adult population these days. Either way, it provides 10 reasons that "the government shutdown isn't all bad."
- 10. Approximately 15,000 EPA employees are furloughed, making it less likely fake CIA agents at EPA will be ripping off the taxpayer
- 8. Fewer bureaucrats at the EPA makes it less likely that they'll make up science on new regulations
- 3. Far-left environmentalists prove themselves hypocrites again: They criticize continuing oil and gas production on federal lands during the shutdown but issue no call to halt wind turbines
- 1. Richard Windsor has been furloughed-for good!
And the best one:
- 4. U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) still finds time on the Senate floor to make inaccurate claims about green jobs. (This is a positive, right . . . NOT!)
(The inclusion of a "not" joke suggests that the target audience — or author — is not in the "kids" age group.)
The piece feels like fading mid-level stand-up comic refreshing his gags in 1998 to include mentions of "modems" and "the information superhighway." Same old soft critiques, new angle for gags. For example, the incident in number 10, an EPA agent who pretended to be in the CIA in order to collect pay without doing work, happened once. So, yes, technically the furlough does make that more likely, but it also makes it less likely that the other 14,999 EPA employees will be able to detect water pollution or work to study air quality, for example.
As for number 8, the "made-up science" is, naturally, the science bolstering the link between carbon pollution and climate change. Vitter, who represents oil-enthusiastic Louisiana, has long been a climate change denier, and offered his own dubious evidence to rebut the work of thousands of actual scientists. (It's the only thing on the "Issues" page for the minority caucus.) It's not the EPA's science, anyway — it's the scientific community's, most of whom aren't furloughed and so can "make up" (read: "generate data on") climate science to their hearts' content.
The Richard Windsor thing? It's a callback to a private email account used by the former administrator of the agency. Vitter and anti-environment conservatives thought it would turn into a major scandal the way Fast and Furious and the IRS and Benghazi and Solyndra did.
It's not clear who wrote the post, but it's appearance on the site suggests Vitter's stamp of approval. As ranking member of the Repbulicans, he gets to run the show on the committee, including crafting a welcome message on the minority caucus' section. "Here," it reads, "you will find the latest information related to the Committee's work on federal energy and environmental policy and our nation's transportation and infrastructure systems."
At the top of the blog post is an image of an iceberg with a giant hole and long cracks in it.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.