Year 4, Month 7, Day 21: Haters Gotta Hate

The New York Times notes that Republicans are, predictably, assholes:

When President Obama announced strong measures to combat climate change last week, environmentalists who felt he had long soft-pedaled the issue for political reasons rejoiced.

But many Republicans were just as gleeful — in the belief they had been handed a powerful issue to use against Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections in energy-rich states from Texas to Minnesota.

Elected officials and political analysts said the president’s crackdown on coal, the leading source of industrial greenhouse gases, could have consequences for Senate seats being vacated by retiring Democrats in West Virginia and South Dakota, for shaky Democratic incumbents like Mary L. Landrieu of energy-rich Louisiana, and for the Democratic challenger of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.

In ordering limits for the first time on carbon dioxide emissions from up-and-running power plants, Mr. Obama jabbed that opponents belonged to “the Flat Earth Society.” But in coal country, it was Mr. Obama who was called out of touch, with predictions of job losses and spiking energy bills.

Republicans immediately went on the attack against Democratic House members in mining states, posting Web ads with a 2008 sound bite of Mr. Obama predicting regulating carbon emissions would cause electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket.”

Asked about the impact of the president’s actions on his own re-election prospects next year, Representative Nick J. Rahall II, Democrat of West Virginia, said, “They don’t help.”

They never get any better; they only get worse. July 3.

Republican readiness to exploit President Obama’s climate initiatives in their quest for the electoral upper hand is politically savvy but morally reprehensible. It reflects a confluence of three significant and malign influences on American politics: the short-term profit motivation of fossil fuel barons and the legislators they control, the scorched-Earth politics of personal destruction pioneered by Newt Gingrich and brought to unprecedented heights by the current majority in the House of Representatives, and the theocratic Biblical literalists whose eagerness for a fiery Armageddon is only matched by the vehemence of their denials that our planet is warming.

Combine an inability to think in the long term, an ethically bankrupt propensity for fighting dirty, and a visceral desire for an apocalyptic conclusion to Earthly life, and you get the face of today’s GOP — a snarling visage more appropriate for a cartoon villain than the erstwhile party of Lincoln and Eisenhower.

Warren Senders

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