I wasn’t interested in the GOP convention this year, and I don’t expect to be interested in the Democratic convention. It’s not like I’m sweating who to vote for; of the two viable candidates, Obama, despite horrible flaws, is the overwhelmingly better choice for someone with my policy preferences.1
I assume Republicans feel the same way about Romney.
I’m growing anxious about the upcoming election. I sometimes read poll reports and analysis, but I stopped myself today when I realized that I was looking for reassurance, not information.
So I’m trying to minimize how much attention I pay to the conventions. But despite myself, I heard Romney’s big line making fun of global warming, and was appalled:
President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.
This seems horribly irresponsible for someone who has a good shot of being the next President. Addressing global warming and helping ordinary families are not mutually exclusive goals; furthermore, if nothing is done to slow down global warming, it will be ordinary families, not super-elites like the Romneys, who will suffer for it. (Who already are suffering for it).
Some right-wingers are defending Romney’s comment by saying that Romney wasn’t mocking global warming, but Obama’s hubris.
That’s not a significantly better position. In the speech Romney was mocking, Obama said that if Americans work and fight for it, we could begin to slow the rise of the oceans. How is that hubristic? It seems like an accurate statement of what most people in the non-science-denying party believe – that good policy can slow down global warming.
I don’t want a President who believes that the idea of trying to address global warming is hubristic and ridiculous.
For Republicans, I honestly don’t think thought enters the matter at all. There is no intelligent case to be made that global warming is a myth; nor is there any intelligent case for inaction.
What there is, instead, is partisan fear. Republicans believe that if they admit the obvious – that global warming is a real problem that urgently needs to be addressed — “liberal fascists” will immediately wipe out technology (even the internet) and eventually wipe out humanity altogether.
If that were all true, I suppose it would make sense to deny global warming, or at least oppose doing anything about it.
It’s not true, of course. Liberals like urban living, not caves; liberals like the internet and heated homes and all the other comforts of modern living. A serious fight against global warming doesn’t require a return to the stone age. And, obviously, liberals are humans, and thus see no profit in wiping out humanity.
The problem is, among Republicans, an ridiculous and irresponsible position on global warming has become a mark of tribal identity. An intelligent position, in contrast, would be a sign of disloyalty to the party. They are committed to doing nothing as a matter of partisan fealty, and there is no position harder to change than a partisan position.
- It’s very likely that my vote will be entirely irrelevant – I live in Oregon, after all — in which case I might vote for a third party. [↩]