The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.
Of course, the cowardly corporate media won’t call out the Republicans for being a bunch of extremists, in part because they’re cowards, in part because – as Mann and Ornstein explain – “‘Both sides do it’ or ‘There is plenty of blame to go around’ are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias.”
You’d think that there might be SOME areas in which the Republican Party was NOT an “insurgent outlier,” perhaps matters about which there is an overwhelming scientific consensus, whether we’re talking about evolution (97% of scientists agree) or climate science (99.9% of climate scientists agree). But noooo…even when it comes to basic science — including the extremely simple concept that pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere results in a, yep, greenhouse effect – which is testable, disprovable, empirically verifiable, etc., many Republicans STILL refuse to “believe” (in quotes because, of course, science is not a matter of “belief” at all, but of reason).
And that, my friends, combined with knee-jerk hatred/distrust among many right wingers of the “gubmint” and also of “Obama,” is what leads to the results we find in this new poll of Virginians’ attitudes towards global warming and the government’s main effort to address it — the newly-unveiled Clean Power Plan. To wit:
*Overall, Virginians by a 59%-39% margin say that climate change is a serious problem, and by a 59%-36% margin support the Clean Power Plan.
*Among Democrats, an overwhelming 84% give the correct answer, that climate change is a serious problem (64% say “very serious”), while just 12% say it isn’t. A majority of independents (55%-44%) say the same thing. And the “insurgent outlier” Republicans? Just 32% say gloal warming is serious, while 67% claim – against all scientific evidence to the contrary – that it is NOT serious. Can we say “la la land?”
*Given those results, it’s not surprising that 83% of Democrats and 56% of independents support the Clean Power Plan, while just 34% of the “insurgent outlier” folks support it.
*Finally, by an 82%-11% margin, Democrats believe that Virginia should get moving on its plan to comply with the Clean Power Plan, as do Independents by a 52%-36% margin. The “insurgent outlier” folks? The numbers, not surprisingly (but still disturbingly) are flipped, with 55% saying Virginia should NOT move forward on “a plan to reduce carbon pollution.”
Anyway, this is what we’re dealing with in America today: a group of people who are, as Mann and Ornstein stated, “ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science.” And the results are to hold the rest of us back, on important issue after important issue. The question is, why do the rest of us put up with this crap? Or, as Brad Woodhouse of Americans United for Change puts it:
The jury is in on the consequences of climate change. 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history and the 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998. It’s happening right before our eyes. We’re seeing more frequent and intense tornadoes and storms like Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. And unlimited carbon pollution is contributing to more heart attacks, more lung cancer, more asthma attacks in children. We’ve got to do something, and thankfully the President didn’t wait on Republicans to act. Republicans didn’t want to listen to former U.S. Generals and Admirals who warned climate change is a serious and immediate national security threat. Republicans have blown off the 97 percent of the scientific community that agree that climate change is real and man-made. They choose to ignore the chorus of economists that say the President’s carbon action plan is good for the economy and jobs. They’ve ignored the Pope’s moral call to action. What will it take to convince the Grand Oil Party to act: a climate event straight out of the Book of Genesis? Another Noah’s Ark?