Friday, October 1, 2010
Party of the Dead!
Very early in his term, President Barack Obama says he knew that Republicans were going to oppose him at every turn.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Obama explained that it was first apparent to him while attempting to negotiate the stimulus bill.
I still remember going over to the Republican caucus to meet with them and present our ideas, and to solicit ideas from them before we presented the final package. And on the way over, the caucus essentially released a statement that said, "We're going to all vote 'No' as a caucus." And this was before we'd even had the conversation. At that point, we realized that we weren't going to get the kind of cooperation we'd anticipated. The strategy the Republicans were going to pursue was one of sitting on the sidelines, trying to gum up the works, based on the assumption that given the scope and size of the recovery, the economy probably wouldn't be very good, even in 2010, and that they were better off being able to assign the blame to us than work with us to try to solve the problem.
But even with that clear signal, the White House continued to try to make compromises with their opponents. The Obama administration took single-payer off the table and offered little support for the public option when campaigning for the health care bill. The final bill -- which contained neither -- had almost no Republican support.
In March, the president adopted a conservative call to open more waters to offshore oil drilling but got little in return. In the end, partisan bickering led to the climate bill being pulled in the Senate. Republicans have vowed to block legislation in the next Congress.
Politics Daily columnist David Corn thinks there is one fact that Obama should have been aware of: Republicans are zombies.
"If on the eighth day of the administration, if the president knew the GOP has been anti-everything, why has he been negotiating with them as if he could get a yes from them?" MSNBC's Keith Olbermann asked Corn Tuesday.
"Because the president doesn't watch zombie movies," answered Corn. "And you can't negotiate with zombies, you can't trust zombies."
"After getting that big no from them on stimulus spending, he ran into it again and again on the energy front, on health care, on Wall Street reform, and each time he was, you know, he spent a lot of effort and a lot of political capital trying to work with the zombie party," said Corn.
"And he kept hitting his head against the same wall. Maybe if he'd come to that conclusion earlier, things would look a little different today," he said.
"These zombies, though, don't eat brains, clearly," joked Olbermann.
While Corn doesn't explain exactly why Republicans are the "zombie party," he may be giving a nod to philosophical zombies. Wikipedia states:
A philosophical zombie, p-zombie or p-zed is a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from a normal human being except that it lacks conscious experience, qualia, or sentience. When a zombie is poked with a sharp object, for example, it does not feel any pain. While it behaves exactly as if it does feel pain (it may say "ouch" and recoil from the stimulus, or tell us that it is in intense pain), it does not actually have the experience of pain as a putative 'normal' person does.
One liberal blogger postulated that Republicans are zombie-like because of their mob mentality. Jason N wrote:
If you say anything that indicates you're open to discussing alternatives to the status quo, the Republican zombies attack. They hurl accusations of socialist, liberal or some other simplistic insult.
This angry mob is intent on arguing not with what you say but with the straw man they created prior to your discussion. It's not that some liberal groups don't have much the same reaction to their hot button topics. I just find this new wave of Republican imbecility a particularly anti-Republican movement.
RL Miller of Grist explains that many Republicans were zombies when it came to their constant denial of man's role in climate change.
Meet the Climate Zombies.
Their stupid is contagious.
And if they win, humanity loses.
"Climate zombies like [Alaska's] Joe Miller mindlessly replicate. If you listen carefully, you can hear them moan: 'caaaash!' Or maybe they cry 'kooooch!'" wrote Miller.
A comprehensive Wonk Room survey of the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate finds that nearly all dispute the scientific consensus that the United States must act to fight global warming pollution. In May, 2010, the National Academies of Science reported to Congress that “the U.S. should act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a national strategy to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change” because global warming is “caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for — and in many cases is already affecting — a broad range of human and natural systems.”
This finding is shared by scientific bodies around the world. However, in the alternate reality of the fossil-fueled right wing, climate science is confused or a conspiracy, and policies to limit pollution would destroy the economy.
Remarkably, of the dozens of Republicans vying for the 37 Senate seats in the 2010 election, none supports climate action. Even former climate advocates Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) now toe the science-doubting party line.
Many of the Senate candidates are signatories of the Koch Industries’ Americans For Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and the FreedomWorks Contract From America. The second plank of the Contract From America is to “Reject Cap & Trade: Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.”
In reality, a carbon cap-and-trade market — by rewarding work instead of pollution — would increase jobs, lower electricity bills, restore American competitiveness, and forestall a climate catastrophe.
GOP SENATE CANDIDATES ON CLIMATE SCIENCE AND POLICY:
ALABAMA – Richard Shelby
ALASKA – Joe Miller
ARIZONA – John McCain
ARKANSAS – John Boozman
CALIFORNIA – Carly Fiorina
COLORADO – Ken Buck
CONNECTICUT – Lisa McMahon
DELAWARE – Mike Castle and Christine O’Donnell
FLORIDA – Marco Rubio
GEORGIA – Jonny Isakson
HAWAII – Cam Cavasso
IDAHO – Mike Crapo
ILLINOIS – Mark Kirk
INDIANA – Dan Coats
IOWA – Chuck Grassley
KANSAS – Jerry Moran
KENTUCKY – Rand Paul
LOUISIANA – David Vitter
MARYLAND – Eric Wargotz, Jim Rutledge, John Kimble, et al.
MISSOURI – Roy Blunt NEVADA – Sharron Angle
NEW HAMPSHIRE – Jim Bender, Gerard Beloin, Bill Binnie, Kelly Ayotte, Dennis Lamare and Ovide Lamontagne
NEW YORK #1 – Joe DioGuardi, Bruce Blakeman, and David Malpass
NEW YORK #2 – Gary Berntsen and Jay Townsend
NORTH CAROLINA – Richard Burr
NORTH DAKOTA – John Hoeven
OHIO – Rob Portman
OKLAHOMA – Tom Coburn
OREGON – Jim Huffman
PENNSYLVANIA – Pat Toomey
SOUTH CAROLINA – Jim DeMint
SOUTH DAKOTA – John Thune
UTAH – Mike Lee
VERMONT – Len Britton
WASHINGTON – Dino Rossi
WEST VIRGINIA – John Raese
WISCONSIN – Ron Johnson
Overwhelmingly, the Republican candidates not only oppose action to limit global warming pollution, they question the validity of climate science. Here are a few quotes drawn from the Wonk Room report:
Gov. John Boozman, Arkansas:
“Well I think that we’ve got perhaps climate change going on. The question is what’s causing it. Is man causing it, or, you know, is this a cycle that happens throughout the years, throughout the ages. And you can look back some of the previous times when there was no industrialization, you had these different ages, ice ages, and things warming and things. That’s the question.” [KTHV Little Rock, 3/10]
Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri:
“There isn’t any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the earth.” [Human Events, 4/29/09]
Rep. Rob Portman, Ohio:
“When you analyze all the data, there is a warming trend according to science,” he said. “But the jury is out on the degree of how much is manmade.” [Columbus Dispatch, 7/25/10]
Jim Huffman, Oregon:
He casts doubt on scientists’ findings about global warming. It’s “rooted in some fairly vague science,” he says. “There are a lot of studies out there that offer alternative explanations for global climate variations.” Huffman opposes a cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, largely because it will be too expensive. He argues that it’s more realistic to adapt to climate change than disrupt peoples’ lives trying to prevent it. If some island nations become uninhabitable, he says, “I think that’s a tragedy, but we can adapt to that.”[Portland Tribune, 9/2/10]
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Posted by Lenny Wagenknecht