Is Climate a New Political Stealth Super Weapon?
September 9, 2012
There is some indication that the democratic inner circle, and even the mainstream media, might be getting it that climate is not only a safe issue to bring up, advantageous in attracting independent and suburban voters, but actually might be a stealth secret super weapon – in that politicians who pander to Climate Deniers, mostly in the GOP, have now destroyed their own ability to walk back on the issue, – and if they somehow were to do that, it would eat away at their own shaky base of support among the dittohead teahadists who now dominate the once great party.
The spectacular collapse of the arctic ice, coming on the heels of historic heartland heatwave and drought, may be setting the table for the re-emergence of climate as a critical component in this fall’s race.
An item of note: those at the convention gave the climate change paragraph among the most positive reaction given to any part of the speech.
And, even more astounding, the “Village” seems to have noticed.
- Politico rated the speech’s “best lines” and this was #5 of 15 — and #2 in terms of policy-related quotations.
- MSNBC rated applause lines — “And, in this election, you can do something it” was #6 with 17.2 seconds of applause.
At the presidential and congressional levels, 2012 is truly an election about science. Science is truly a differentiator between the parties — with climate science being the most extreme example of this. And on this, the American public (and America’s scientists) are not sympathetic to the Republican Party.
Climate change is an issue that lends itself to coherent discussion.
And climate change is a winning political issue.
The Obama-Biden campaign seems to be waking to the power of climate as an issue.
In Tampa, Mitt Romney threw down the gauntlet to Barack Obama, for whom global warming – and the consequent sea level rise – has been a signature issue since he promised in 2008 to do something about it as president.
“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet,” Mr. Romney told GOP delegates in Tampa, a smile on his face. “My promise [long pause – audience laughter] is to help you and your family.”
But that laugh line appears to have been just too much for Mr. Obama, who is fighting for support in a neck-and-neck campaign where the economy – not climate change – is the front and center issue. So he let fly.
“Yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax,” the president shouted to delegates in Charlotte, N.C. “More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it.”
That high-profile statement, political analysts say, may have marked a major turnabout for the president, who has scarcely mentioned global warming – or the more scientific designation of “climate change” – in recent months.
“My guess is that Obama, who is an incredibly competitive guy, was just annoyed at mockery and laughter and wanted to respond personally,” Mr. Romm says. “But I also think that he’s been trying to think about how to inject climate into the debate. Romney gave him an opening to do just that.”
But there are also indications that Obama, scratching for support among independent voters inOhio, Iowa, and other swing states, may have been warming to the idea of once again more publicly embracing climate change.–
…what if climate change turned out to be a good issue – not a boat anchor? That’s exactly what public opinion researchers at George Mason, Yale, and Stanford universities have been finding in national polls last year and this year.
In a nonpartisan national poll released by George Mason and Yale in March, 72 percent of Americans surveyed said global warming should be a very high (12 percent), high (28 percent), or medium (32 percent) priority for the president and Congress. Among registered voters, 84 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents, and 52 percent of Republicans said global warming should be a priority.
What those and other numbers mean, says the man who analyzed them, is that Obama and other Democratic candidates, instead of paying a political penalty for hitting global warming as an issue on the campaign trail – actually benefit.
“Our polling shows that in swing states, Democratic candidates who take a pro-climate-action stance will find it to be a vote winner for them,” says Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University in Virginia, who produced the poll. “The extra votes will come from independents.”
Unfortunately for Romney, even if he were to win support among independents by raising global warming as a problem to deal with, it would weaken support among his conservative base, researchers say.
“Independents respond to climate change as an issue much more like Democrats than Republicans,” he says. “But for a Republican candidate, taking a pro-climate action station in a general election campaign is neutral impact – winning independent votes, but losing some conservative support.”