Monday, June 13, 2011

Weiner and IPCC's Pachauri: both pursued by ankle-biters, both possibly ineffective

(UnAmericans may be unaware of our sexting Congressperson, so here's context.)

Congressman Weiner and the IPCC head Pachauri have both been 1. attacked by people of ill intention 2. for reasons that are only tangentially related to their office, but that doesn't mean that 3. we should root for them to stay in office.

Weiner has displayed astounding stupidity and unethical behavior outside of his political office, but whether that makes him a bad Representative is a different matter. I suppose astounding stupidity could be a disqualifier, but if it hasn't been shown in his work then maybe it doesn't matter. His political ethics should be more important to outsiders than the fact that he's a terrible husband/father-to-be. He burned a lot of friends by lying to them to them and sending them out as media surrogates, but that's not the reason he's being called to resign.

It's a little unfair to group Pachauri with a turdbucket like Weiner, but the conflict of interest charges made against Pachauri and the IPCC by ankle-biters are at least somewhat related to his work and somewhat true. The anklers ignore the fact that Pachauri and all the participating IPCC authors work for free and that Pachauri's home institution paid him 45,000 pounds annually - certainly less than that made by many of the anklers. The IPCC's institutional problem is that it does far too important work to rely on people on top with other jobs. Theyneed to be salaried and cut free from conflicts (or downscale the IPCC, but I think we lose a policy tool that way).

One reason to group Weiner and Pachauri together is on the basis of possibly being ineffective for reasons unrelated to the criticism they've received. Weiner has a reputation of being an ineffective legislator who's used by the Dems to beat up the right in the media (link, June 9 podcast). I disagree that being a lightning rod means he can't do legislating. Ted Kennedy for one thing could do both jobs, and Weiner could've done work behind the scenes and left negotiating to others. If he's not good, then get rid of him.

Pachauri has two jobs at the IPCC: coordinate its internal work, and be its outward face. I know nothing about the former job (probably the more important one), but he's not good at the latter. Lately he's been quiet, which is probably for the best, but someone who can better play the competent scientist role would be an improvement.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.