By Tracy Dingmann
I always love to see an old hand shake it up a bit. I think that’s why I liked Thom Cole’s “UpFront” column so much yesterday (Jan. 12).
Yep, you heard me right, I said I liked it. (I know I’ve not been his biggest fan.)
Why? Because what Cole did was achingly simple – and devastatingly informative for New Mexicans who need an update about what a local hero’s been up to lately.
Cole’s column, called “Harrison Schmitt: In His Words,” directly lifted a wide selection of some of the many, many eyebrow-raising statements written by former astronaut and current Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources appointee Harrison Schmitt of New Mexico.
Cole does start with a rather lengthy intro:
Words matter. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it.
So, today, let’s visit the words of former astronaut and U.S. Sen. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who is Gov. Susana Martinez’s pick to head the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.
For more than a year, Schmitt has been posting his views on national and international issues on www. AmericasUncommonSense.com.
I suspect most of you will agree with some of what he has to say and disagree with other things. The man does have credentials: a doctorate in geology from Harvard and a bachelor’s in science from Caltech. He walked on the moon.
As for me, I think Schmitt spent a little too much time in weightlessness. Then again, I may be a member of what he calls the “state-committed media,” working with President Barack Obama “to control personal behavior and private sector decision-making.”
In reviewing his comments, you might want to keep in mind that — if confirmed as secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department — Schmitt will oversee state regulation of the production of most natural resources, including oil and natural gas.
He also will be in charge of programs related to the development of alternative energies, such as solar and wind, and supervise management of New Mexico’s treasure of state parks.
Then, without further comment, Cole drops a number of views taken straight from Schmitt’s blog.
Wow. The Martinez appointee has some…interesting views about climate change, social security, healthcare, national security, Pell Grants, President Barack Obama and more.
It’s complicated, intricate stuff – and Cole was wise not to attempt to paraphrase it. Statements like those need to be read in their entirety.
Yesterday’s “UpFront” column is quite a departure from Cole’s usual style, in which he dumps a bunch of really negative-sounding information or innuendo about some person or agency, fails to adequately explain to readers why it matters and frames the whole thing with snarky comments. (Honestly, I find some of those columns hard to follow.)
I’ve linked to Cole’s column above (it is hidden, alas, behind the Journal’s paywall). But if you are really interested in what got Cole’s full attention, I’d recommend you go to Schmitt’s blog and read his thoughts yourself.
You can find it at AmericasUncommonSense.com.
But be warned – it’s strong stuff.