Year 3, Month 9, Day 7: Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay

The Washington Post notices that the “GOP platform highlights the party’s abrupt shift on energy, climate”:

This language didn’t just come out of nowhere. At the time, a handful of prominent Republican politicians appeared genuinely interested in tackling climate change. Then-Senator John Warner (R-Va.) was co-sponsoring legislation to reduce the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions. On the presidential campaign trail, John McCain was talking up his cap-and-trade program that would put a price on carbon. (McCain, for his part, was one of the earliest members of Congress to endorse this idea.)

The 2008 GOP platform certainly didn’t agree with liberals and environmentalists on everything. Far from it. The document put a heavy emphasis on nuclear power, which tends to cause some green groups to bristle (although many Democrats softened their opposition to atomic energy in the years that followed, in a failed effort to woo conservatives on climate policy). The platform also had harsh words for “doomsday climate change scenarios” and “no-growth radicalism.” Yet the 2008 GOP platform was, essentially, taking part in a debate over how best to tackle greenhouse gases—not about whether the climate was changing at all.

Skip ahead to 2012, and the GOP platform takes a markedly different tone. That section devoted to climate change? Gone. Instead, the platform flatly opposes ”any and all cap and trade legislation” to curtail greenhouse gases. It demands that Congress “take quick action to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations.” It criticizes the Obama administration’s National Security Strategy for ”elevat[ing] ‘climate change’ to the level of a ‘severe threat’ equivalent to foreign aggression.” The platform even tosses in what appears to be a subtle swipe at climate scientists:

Moreover, the advance of science and technology advances environmentalism as well. Science allows us to weigh the costs and benefits of a policy so that we can prudently deal with our resources. This is especially important when the causes and long-range effects of a phenomenon are uncertain. We must restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research.

The language echoes an op-ed written by Paul Ryan in December of 2009, which accused climatologists of using “statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” Ryan’s charges were untrue; a number of subsequent investigations into the leaked Climate Research Unit e-mails found no evidence of wrongdoing by the scientists involved. Nevertheless, the insistence that research institutions lack “scientific integrity” remains intact.

We just got one thing to say to you fuckin’ hippies.

Sent August 31:

It isn’t just Paul Ryan accusing climatologists of cherrypicking scientific data in order to increase their funding. Conservative politicians and media figures across the country level the same charges, evidence or no. It might be Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, James Inhofe, Michelle Bachmann, or dozens of other climate-change denialists — but the substance of the calumny is identical: scientists are guilty of manipulating the facts for personal and political gain.

And who better to make such assertions than the people who’ve made data-mining and math-massaging into a political art form? After all, Republicans ignored intelligence reports on Iraq’s non-involvement in 9/11 and started a war on utterly specious grounds, support photo ID laws to protect against nonexistent voter fraud, and claim tax cuts for the wealthy will rebuild our economy. Intellectual dishonesty is the preferred modus cogitandi for conservatives, who assume that everyone, including scientists, is as mendacious as they are.

Warren Senders

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