Whore. It's not a pleasant word - and the Tank knows from grim experience that people resorting to such trash talk are generally the ones losing the argument.
Which makes it all the more strange that Alec Baldwin, noted Liberal actor and scene-stealing star of Team America: World Police, should tag Republican Senator Jim Inhofe an "oil whore" on social media site Twitter.
Sure, Inhofe is both a major recipient of campaign donations from the oil and gas sector and, conveniently, a well-known climate change denier. And yes, he had also recently been branded as "big oil's top call girl" by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. He was even among those who blocked a measure to raise BP's liability cap from $75m to $10bn following the massive 2010 Gulf oil spill.
But was it really necessary for Baldwin to ask: "Is there a bigger Oil Whore than James Inhofe?" before following that witty missive with: "Oil Whore Jim Inhofe has betrayed every man and woman who lost their livelihood on the Gulf due to BP's overwhelming negligence."
Inevitably, Baldwin has form on Twitter. He called the late right-wing commentator Andrew Breitbart "a festering boil on the anus of public discourse", and most recently mobilised his near 800,000 followers to turn the tables on a Twitter user who had been harassing his girlfriend, Hilaria Thomas.
But to the Tank's mind, Baldwin's vitriol towards Inhofe is more than a little self defeating.
Faced with the insult all Inhofe had to do was put out a reasonable statement bemoaning Baldwin's incivility as unnecessary and suddenly the man whose most recent book is called "The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future" ends up looking like the sane one.
And that is just what he did: "These kind of outrageous statements made recently on Twitter by Robert Kennedy Jr. and Alec Baldwin stand in stark contrast to the civil debate Sen. Inhofe had with Rachel Maddow last week," the Senator's press team droned in a spare moment between felling forests and salting the earth so nothing will ever grow again.
"In truth, the far left and Hollywood elites have lost on their pet cause of global warming. The only way to get attention these days is to make outlandish and irresponsible comments on Twitter."
Which of course isn't true, but runs the danger of swaying public opinion from the overwhelming scientific likelihood that the earth is warming because of human actions. The old switcheroo was most apparent in the Heartland leak, where the think tank somehow managed to make concerns over data security secondary to its frankly beyond-Machiavellian plans to dissuade educators from teaching science.
So a message to Baldwin, Robert Jr and co: please keep oil whores or fossil fuel floosies to yourself and stick to the evidence. The insults just play right into hands of Inhofe, Koch and the rest of the gang.
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