The GOP’s Creeping Climate Crackup. Don’t Blame Us. It’s Al Gore’s Fault.
June 30, 2013
I’ve spent some time this past week near the Ilulissat Glacier, the world’s fastest moving ice stream, and quite likely the source of the iceberg that sank the Titanic. The Titanic, of course, made the mistake of charging full speed thru dangerous waters, and was unable to change course in time to avert disaster.
This week, following President Obama’s paradigm shifting address on climate change, we continue to see, in the disjointed and muffled responses from the GOP, evidence of a struggle in the wheelhouse. Given the anti-science momentum from 30 years of cultivating the looney fundamentalist, anti-science old-confederacy right wing, a sharp enough turn to avoid a below-the-waterline collision with reality seems unlikely. I posted Eli Lehrer’s recent Weekly Standard essay on saturday. Now we have another piece on the Washington Times website by Chris Ladd, which gives a revealing window into the tortured psyche of the conflicted, not yet quite reformed denier.
Climate change is an issue so uniquely suited to the needs of the dying global left that it feels too perfectly tailored to be a coincidence. We are being asked to accept that the accumulating exhaust of the Industrial Revolution is cranking up the planet’s thermostat, threatening to turn our blue marble brown unless we all decide to ride bikes and eat bugs.
Now, nobody likes a plate of witchety grubs more than I do, but I’m not aware that entomophagy has become a serious agenda item for scientists or climate change activists. Moreover, it seems to me that ignoring climate change is the course that will most likely lead to a bug’s life.
But never mind.
Republicans can’t be blamed for harboring skepticism, but we must realize that our strategy of blind blanket denial is developing into a political suicide pact.
“Republicans can’t be blamed” is a key phrase here. Keep your barf bags ready. We’re going to hear a lot of this.
“It’s not our fault. Scientists didn’t make the physics clear enough over the last 60 years.”
The National Academy of Science should have made this clear.
Oh. They did? Multiple times since 1979? Well, they should have their own talk radio show. That’s how I get my news.
Well, it’s Al Gore’s fault for being so damn snotty about it. How do you expect us to have a rational response to him? He’s overweight. Rush Limbaugh speaks to my values..what? … oh, never mind again.
Mr. Ladd finally takes the bull by the horns in the next paragraph.
We must stop wheeling in crank “scientists” who deploy tactics borrowed from the tobacco industry to “debunk” the credible research on climate change.
Oh baby. That’s gotta sting. If you’re going to admit that you’ve been hornswoggled by the guys that sell cigarettes to children, I guess you’ve got to believe that the only alternative was a plate full of bugs.
Ladd goes on to another fall-back we’re going to see a lot. Yes it’s warming. Yes we’re doing it. but there’s so much uncertainty, maybe the solutions don’t have to be all that tough.
So how do we address policy questions like whether to implement a carbon tax? Conservatives will lose the credibility required to even participate in that and other policy debates if we continue to tolerate the absurd notion that climate change is a hoax.
Then, a telling admission of the Republican bind on issues of science and fact. A key part of their constituency just doesn’t believe in them. Science and fact, that is.
On a political level, Republicans must not confuse climate change with other science vs. belief issues. On this issue public opinion will eventually move in the direction of established facts regardless of how much distortion we generate.
We can give hedged answers on the age of the universe with little consequence.
so it’s basically ok to deny and fudge physics with the Fox News crowd, as long as it’s all just theoretical.
Denying the reality of evolution won’t cause anyone to lose their favorite beach house, or for that matter, their favorite island. Climate change, on the other hand, is becoming apparent enough to the average layman to affect their holiday plans. We cannot swim against this scientific tide much longer.
But swimming against the tide of reality has been what the GOP’s far right has done best for years – and it’s taken this country into some of the most disastrous waters in our history over the last decade – with no evidence of the capacity on their part to learn, or even acknowledge error. The science of climate change has been more than mature enough to drive policy since the early years of the Reagan administration, as the video below richly demonstrates. As science-acknowledging right wingers come out of the closet, let’s welcome them, but have no illusions as to the willfull distortion of and resistance to the mainstream body of science, that will be a part of every school children’s rueful history for the next 10,000 years.