MSNBC’s Hayes: Tea Party ‘Climate Denialism’ Shows ‘Future Of The Earth In Peril’

Posted on Wed 08/14/2013 by

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By Brad Wilmouth ~2013-08-12-MSNBC-AI-Hayes

On Monday’s All In show on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes fretted that “climate denialism” by the Republican party’s “right-wing base” is preventing “meaningful climate policy” from being enacted.

After showing clips of California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher at a Tea Party event mocking global warming alarmists, Hayes described the conservative gathering as “the future of the earth in peril,” and “the belly of the beast.” Hayes:

But the fear of a Tea Party primary challenge is endemic in the Republican party right now. And it’s making meaningful climate policy, among other things, completely unachievable in Washington. So what you’re seeing in this room at the Newport Mesa Tea Party Patriots monthly meeting is the future of the earth in peril. In this room, this, this right here, this is the belly of the beast.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, August 12, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

CHRIS HAYES: Good evening from New York. I am Chris Hayes. It is good to be back. Tonight on All In, global warming is a complete fraud. It’s weird. I just said that, and no one stood up and cheered. But when Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said it at a Tea Party event the other day, the crowd went wild. Why climate denialism and global government conspiracy is a fan favorite of the right-wing base.

(…)

HAYES, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: Coming up, an amazing video of a U.S. Congressman doing an impersonation of Arnold Schwarzenegger and denying global warming because it’s this huge liberal conspiracy to take control of everyone and everything. It’s completely hilarious except that it’s basically everything that’s wrong with our politics.

(…)

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R-CA) CLIP #1: Remember, I endorsed Arnold, which was my big mistake, because, I thought in the beginning it looked like he was going to be a good governor, but then he gave into this global warming stuff.

ROHRABACHER CLIP #2: I’ll never forget it. He came to see the California delegation, and I’m sitting there and Arnold’s walking by me.

And I said, “Arnold, Arnold, did you hear, did you hear about the melting ice caps and the retreating ice caps?” “Why, Dana, yes, I know about the icecaps, all right. I’m very surprised that you know about the icecaps melting and retreating.”

And I said, I said, “Arnold, I’m talking about the ice caps on Mars.” “Oh.” Bam, and he’s gone.

HAYES: That was Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California trotting out his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression for a local Tea Party group in a speech that serves as a perfect artifact of the single biggest obstacle to the U.S. getting climate policy right, which is that the base of one of our two main parties is 100 percent committed to denying that climate change is even a thing that requires policy.

Seriously, that is the number one barrier to get anything done on climate in this country because when it comes down to it, let me tell you something. Even the fossil fuel companies, as powerful and destructive as they are, could probably in the end just be paid off, bought off for the right price.

But the fear of a Tea Party primary challenge is endemic in the Republican party right now. And it’s making meaningful climate policy, among other things, completely unachievable in Washington. So what you’re seeing in this room at the Newport Mesa Tea Party Patriots monthly meeting is the future of the earth in peril. In this room, this, this right here, this is the belly of the beast.

ROHRABACHER: What a horrible thing to be attacked by Barbara Boxer, and she was noting that there are fires, there are fires in our country and in our state, and they’re due to global warming. And the people should understand that they’ve got nitwits like Congressman Rohrabacher who don’t even believe that mankind is causing the climate to change.

(AUDIENCE APPLAUSE)

HAYES: That is what happens when you just so much as bring up the topic of global warming in a room full of Tea Party conservatives. Just the idea that someone like Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer might attribute to the growing severity of California’s wildfires to climate change was met with laughter and jeers and applause.

And Congressman Rohrabacher’s own proud climate change denialism, well, that is the big applause line, because if you’re a Republican, climate change denialism is a quick and easy way to demonstrate your conservative authenticity. It has a real visceral resonance as a cultural war issue. It’s not just some big policy plank. It’s “liberals are lying to you about this.” It’s in their gut.

ROHRABACHER: Just so you’ll know, global warming is a total fraud. The federal government, they want to create global government to control all of our lives. That’s what their game plan is. It’s step by step by step more and bigger control over our lives by higher levels of government. And global warming is simply that strategy in spades.

HAYES: Now, the whole “global warming is a liberal conspiracy” line is understandably a big hit among the conservative base, but in delivering that line, Congressman Rohrabacher tips his hand to the reasoning behind his global warming denialism, which basically goes like this: If global warming is real, then the government would need to intervene to fix it, but we don’t like government intervention. Therefore, global warming cannot be real.

That’s it. That is the logic behind the pervasive view on climate change on the right: We don’t like the solutions to this problem, so we officially declare this not to be a problem.

Joining me now is Sam Thernstrom, who served on President George W. Bush’s Council on Environmental Quality. He’s now executive director of the Energy Innovation Reform Project. And, Sam, my first question is, how do we get over this? This is my big, I realize that I can`t be the person that breaks the ice here, that figures out the way to make this dialogue not be as toxic and terrible and self-destructive as it is. But how do we get out of this dead end?

Brad Wilmouth contributes posts to the NewsBusters site and he analyzes news for the Media Research Center.

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