Harry Reid and the Shawshank Redemption

Harry Reid and the Shawshank Redemption
November 8, 2012

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters yesterday that he would like to see the U.S. Senate address climate change. At the same time, Democrat Reps. Henry Waxman (CA) and Bobby Rush (IL) wrote a letter to Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Fred Upton (R-MI) calling for hearings on an asserted link between Hurricane Sandy and global warming.

Reid, Waxman, and Rush call to mind one of the most fascinating characters in the classic movie “The Shawshank Redemption.” When Andy Dufresne (aka Tim Robbins) concocts various frauds, scams and kickbacks for Warden Samuel Norton to enrich himself at taxpayers’ expense, Dufresne runs the paper trail through the nonexistent Peter Stevens. Dufresne conjures up Stevens and then creates all the legal documents necessary to run the tainted money through the nonexistent silent partner. Dufresne explains that if people start nosing around the financial records and facts, the warden can simply point to the nonexistent culprit. “He’s the guilty one, Your Honor,” says Dufresne. 

By advocating the notion, in defiance of scientific facts, that global warming somehow caused Hurricane Sandy, Reid, Waxman, and Rush are inventing the climate equivalent of the nonexistent Peter Stevens. Reid, Waxman, and Rush hope people will chase this figment of their climate imagination, but the scientific facts do not lie. The facts expose Reid, Waxman, and Rush, just as the facts eventually exposed Warden Samuel Norton.

You can read more about it in my weekly Forbes.com column, available here.

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)