GOP on Environment: Not just off the rails. Off the Planet

November 14, 2011

Compare the bizarre Republican advertisement above, which, I guess, compares the EPA to some kind of bizarre takeover by alien zombies (you decide) – to the views on environment of Ronald Reagan.

Now, I’m no great fan of Reagan myself, but given the extremes to which his party has gone in the last 10 years – it seems that the Reagan we knew, to whom so many give lip service, would never be seriously considered as a contender in the current GOP field – he’d be seen as a liberal, a “watermelon” – green on the outside, red on the inside.

Here are some radio ads from – a small but growing group of republicans who recognize that ignoring science and reality has been terribly destructive to the conservative movement, even as it threatens the very life support system of the planet itself.

Below, a little red meat for the peanut galleries – slams “left wing if it feels good do it philosophy”

In addition, there’s a radio interview with George Schultz, who was Reagan’s Secretary of State, and who has been a steady voice on the importance for conservatives of dealing with the Climate issue. Ok, he repeats the standard canard about “things some climate scientists have done”, this was recorded at the height of the climate gate brouhaha – and he was being mislead about the particulars, but still understood the overall frame had not changed.

Carl Pope, writing in the Huffington Post, notes that today’s Tea Party Republicans have come unglued from their own constituents on issues of environment –

But Florida is not the only place where Tea Party politicians are trying to get rid of clean water. In Missouri the legislature almost voted to turn clean water enforcement over to the EPA by stripping their state environmental agency of the ability to collect the permit fees that fund state enforcement — but then, on the last day of the session, they blinked and restored state authority. Here, at least, fear of the how voters might react prevailed.

Nor is there much evidence that grassroots Tea Party Republicans elsewhere in the country share the enthusiasm of their congressional representatives for dirty water. The current second round of devastating floods in the Midwest, for example, has created enormous public anxiety about the pollutants being swept up by those floods.

There’s a reason why Republican pollsters like Frank Luntz consistently find that clean water ranks at the very top of public environmental concerns, particularly among conservatives and Republicans. Unlike dirty air, which is dangerous but often hard to see, sewage on the beaches is visible, tangible, visceral, and (especially) disgusting — a value cluster that’s particularly strong among conservatives.

While the Fox News/Rush Limbaugh media echo chamber, backed with huge funding from Koch Industries and the oil and coal lobbies, has managed to create a major partisan split on global warming (narrowly defined), they have not managed to shake Republican support for clean energy sources like wind and solar nor to diminish conservative concern about oil dependence. And their disinformation campaign has even less hope of convincing Republican mothers to accept more toxic chemicals coming out of their faucets and more animal waste on their beaches.


19 Responses to “GOP on Environment: Not just off the rails. Off the Planet”

  1. daveburton Says:

    The difference is that Republicans like Reagan and me care about real environmental problems. Unfortunately, the conservation/environmental movement, and the EPA, have been hijacked by climate zealots, who care nothing about actual science.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      Reagan would clearly not be welcome on the podium of the current GOP presidential debates. Goldwater would be considered the far out liberal in this field.

      Since the late 80s the GOP has concentrated on denial – denial that cigarettes cause lung disease, denial that acid rain is a problem, or that there is a solution, denial that air pollution is real, or that the government has a regulatory responsibility in that area. Denial of Evolution has become a strong thread in the ideological mix – and is certainly not a negative for contenders in the GOP primaries.
      At the same time, the party has increasingly relied on fanning the flames of racism and ignorance in order to gain short term electoral advantage. In 2005, the GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman acknowledged and apologized for that behavior, tho it continues strongly today (yes, people were paying attention to the signs and dogwhistle symbols of the tea party). In fact, the GOP has merely doubled down, with appeals to anti-gay stereotypes as well, which they know plays well to the ignorant, fundamentalist, racist base they have cultivated for decades. (Mehlman participated in this agenda despite the fact that he was himself a closeted Gay man, who recently came out)
      The torrent of ignorance spewing from the podiums of the GOP debates over the last 6 months would, in ordinary times, be a subject of shame for a party that had any. Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman, Sara Palin, Herman Cain, and Rick Santorum would be considered clowns, not contenders, in a party where intellect was respected. (let’s not even start on George Bush…who would be the pointy headed intellectual in this crowd..)

      The hatred of science, fact, experience, intellect, and learning is the not-so-secret sauce that binds these threads together.

      • daveburton Says:

        Wow, Peter, that’s an impressive amount of hate and nonsense crammed into such a short message. My question: why do liberals think they can just make things up with no regard whatsoever for the truth, and it’s somehow okay? Things like, “Since the late 80s the GOP has concentrated on denial – denial that cigarettes cause lung disease…”

        You’re a pretty smart guy, Peter, so I’m sure you must know that’s not true. So why did you say it?

        • greenman3610 Says:

          The George Marshall institute, a leading conservative Republican think tank, cut its teeth using tobacco money to insist that tobacco smoke was harmless to children and other living things.
          Marshall veterans Will Happer, Frederick Seitz, and S. Fred Singer went on, of course, to use the same techniques of misdirection and dishonesty in the climate wars.
          some history here

          wiki has:
          “Historian Naomi Oreskes states that the institute has, in order to resist and delay regulation, lobbied politically to create a false public perception of scientific uncertainty over the negative effects of second-hand smoke, the carcinogenic nature of tobacco smoking, the existence of acid rain, and on the evidence between CFCs and ozone depletion.[3]”

          The tobacco documents pried loose during court proceedings are rich with references to Singer, Happer, the Marshall institute, and other leading lights of the republican right.

          The international network of well-funded little clusters of Ayn Randian weenies, pumping out bogus faux-conservative “free market” rationalizations for anything big polluters want to do, are all continuing with the same template.
          That you equate facts with “hate” speaks volumes.
          Say, what is your belief on evolution? Are you in the Rick Perry camp, – that it’s a personal choice? Is Michelle Bachman your type? How about Sara Palin?

        • Alteredstory Says:

          Tell me something, Dave – since when does ANY criticism count as hate?

          I don’t accuse someone of “spreading hate” unless they’re insulting people, calling them less than human, and so on.

          It seems to me that you don’t agree with him, but you don’t have any argument against what he said, so you accuse him of “cramming hate” into his message.

          The GOP candidate HAVE been proudly displaying a depressing level of ignorance – even members of their own party admit it.

          They ARE putting a lot of effort into ideas and policies that have no foundation in reality, and some of which, like their stance on gay rights, are causing real harm to people.

          But apparently you don’t want to hear that, so you accuse Peter of spreading hate, rather than actually forming any kind of coherent argument.

          Why do you do that?

    • Help us compare what you regard as actual science to what I assume you think of as the imaginary science that climate zealots read. Jack Barrett and David Bellamy do have an interesting web site. They don’t deny science. They even explain science. However, they construct complacent conclusions on stacks of selected uncertainties – therefore casting doubt on the range of risk assessments agreed to by the world’s most esteemed scientific organizations. Let’s discuss one of their posts. Your choice.

  2. neilrieck Says:

    Reagan was a well known deal maker with the other side (Tip O’Neill is the first name that comes to mind) so today he would be ostracized by TEA-party Republicans.

  3. Martin_Lack Says:

    It would seem that Dave Burton is ignoring me, but let’s try again (and get the formatting right)…

    Dave, You haven’t watched the Barry Bickmore video, have you! Go on, I dare you.. OK, so it includes a lot of what you would no doubt call “armchair psychology” but there is also a lot of what I would call “hard facts“…

    The likes of Jack Barrett and David Bellamy have been shown-up to be fools many times and, in any case, if they had such a sound scientific argument, why was their ‘Climate Stability: An inconvenient proof’ paper only published by the Institute of Civil Engineers?

    Also, with regard to the FACT that the same people that still deny AGW have denied a whole range of environmental problems including the dangers of smoking… I would like to add to what Peter has said by offering my recent analysis of the case of Richard Lindzen.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      oh right, I forgot Richard “Tobacco isn’t nearly so bad as all those crazy doctors say” Lindzen.
      thanks for the reminder.
      guess I’ll have to do a vid on the tobacco/climate denial connections.

    • Gorbin Wafflemunch Says:

      That’s kinda Dave’s style Martin – Ignore the bulk or all of what you’ve said, focus on or pick some small point (if any) and carry on as if your points have been addressed. Or, as in this case, simply ignore all together.

      Deflect, ignore and carry on. Depending on your audience, it’s a technique that can work quite well – unfortunately.

      • Martin_Lack Says:

        Thanks for the vote of confidence. I think Dave continues to ignore me because he does not think I am a scientist (because I refuse to debate the science). Clearly, ignorance is bliss.

        • Gorbin Wafflemunch Says:

          No problem brother. I’m done with giving Mr. Burton the benefit of the doubt though, to my mind he’s proved his tendency for intellectual dishonesty one time too many.

          Whether it’s ignorance, motivated reasoning or just good old trolling, I can’t decide. If I were to wager, it’d be motivated reasoning coupled with an above average intellect.

          It seems that Burton Systems created a piece of revision control software called TLIB – there aren’t many current references to it but, it would appear that it had a measure of popularity in the past.

          Granted I’ve never used it, but I am a developer and reasonably familiar with other revision control software. Creating one from scratch would be no easy task and would take a fair chunk of cranium to do effectively.

          I suspect, his past success with TLIB is part of what fuels the arrogance of his arguments on this site.

    • Dave,

      Yesterday, I spent 3 hours reading Barrett Bellamy – at your request – and then offered to discuss any one of their web pages. It’s a chance to change people’s opinion. Driving by hurling insults does no more than make you feel good.

      • Martin_Lack Says:

        I don’t know why you bothered, Charles.

        I don’t have access to my laptop at present so I cannot quote them verbatim but, I researched both Barrett (a Chemist) and Bellamy (a Botanist) as part of my MA dissertation into climate change scepticism in the UK (see the About page on my blog): Both are hopelessly ignorant of relevant science and, therefore, anything they say is merely a re-statement of other contrarians such as Freeman Dyson, Richard Lindzen, Pat Michaels, Fred Singer, and/or Roy Spencer.

        Furthermore, as I indicated previously, they (and those upon whom they rely) have been repeatedly exposed as being wrong, so quite how they have the nerve to keep repeating the same old nonsense, I really do not know (although financial support from the fossil fuel lobby may have something to do with it).

        • Martin,

          WordPress didn’t put my reply to Dave Burton where I thought it would. In the future, I’ll name the addressee. I’m not as up to speed on Barton Bellamy, but 3 hours is enough time to know that they most certainly selectively ignore relevant science. They’re perhaps hopeless, but not hopelessly ignorant. Therefore, taking it out to the back alley with Dave would have been a more tedious than the typical brawl. I was looking forward to it. 🙂


  4. witsendnj Says:

    I went to the Heartland Institute denialpalooza last summer, just to see what climate zombies are like up close, and it was pretty clear from discussions in the sessions that two issues have them most worried, because they are easy for people to understand:

    1. clean water

    2. ocean acidification

    • greenman3610 Says:

      in other words, what Heartland is worried about is that people actually might give a damn about oceans and water pollution. That’s a definite threat to their program.

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