Mommy Issue, Daddy Issue
Jude Wanniski
July 24, 2001


Memo To: Sen. Joe Biden [D-DE] , Chairman Foreign Relations
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Bad Science

Last week, I sent you a memo of high praise for your detailed knowledge of the ins and outs of the national Missile Defense System, especially the flaky science that underpins arguments that its proponents use to say we should scrap the 1972 ABM Treaty. I’m perfectly willing to support continued R&D within the terms of the Treaty. If and when the Pentagon can take it to the point where it can work in real conditions, not the contrived tests undertaken to date, the elapse of time may demonstrate between now and then that there is no need for deployment. There may be no “rogue” states and the potential threat from Russia and China may well have dissolved in a blizzard of capitalism and diplomacy.

The reason I write today is that I note your total acceptance of the bad science underpinning the arguments that mankind must reduce its contribution to global warming. If you had mentioned on this weekend’s talk shows that there remain a few questions of theory and evidence about global warming, I would have been impressed with your due diligence even on matters dear to the hearts of liberal Democrats. It would have seemed presidential of you. I’m not sure you would change your mind on global warming if you had looked at the issue as diligently as you have dug into missile defense, but I do think you would not be so glib in brushing aside those who are skeptical.

Several years ago, I began to describe the Republican Party as the “Daddy Party” and the Democratic Party as the “Mommy Party.” It is of great importance that one party take the role of representing the interests of individuals and the other take on the interests of the community, the collective nation. In the family division of labor going back to the dawn of civilization, the man of the house protected the family from outside threats from man and beast and did the hunting to put meat on the family table. The woman of the house has always looked upon all her children as having equal claims on her attention, they having come from her own body. She looks at them as being equals while her husband looks for the strongest and bravest among his offspring to help him in his efforts and to take over when it is time. He must take risks as a matter of course. She must argue for security, warning her mate against carelessness or excessive risk.

What we have facing us as a nation in this new world, where the United States is the sole superpower, are two extreme issues based on bad science. Daddy wants to protect the national family from nuclear attack or from hostiles who would be intimidated by perfect defense from trying anything. There are deep holes in Daddy’s rationales, which you have spotted as one of the leaders of the Mommy Party. But on global warming, where Mommy aims to protect Mother Earth herself from the very breath of man and beast, Daddy is finding deep holes in her argument, which would if taken most seriously, require the family to huddle close to home and live austere lives. If Earth is in the Balance, what else can we do?

Now if Senator Biden were really presidential, he should be able to spend as much energy as a leader of the Mommy Party on the arguments of the leaders of the Daddy Party, and not simply trash and ridicule them. You could put aside all your preconceptions for a little while and really listen hard to the arguments of those in the GOP who are worried about protecting Mother Earth, but who also think the idea of mankind’s contribution to a greenhouse problem as being unfounded. It really is not enough to take the precaution of capping carbon dioxide emissions if the science does not support the theory or the evidence, just as it is not enough to break the ABM treaty on the possibility that some rogue dictator would find enough nuclear stuff to make a warhead and then spend the resources to build an ICBM to fire at some American city, for what reason nobody now can tell.

This is what bipartisanship should be about. Mommy and Daddy talking things over, seriously, and then coming to terms of reconciliation on common ground. You should think about it. A man who would be a leader of the national family... and the global family... would think about it.