Thursday, October 15, 2009

Off with their heads!

Far right-wing activists across the nation are enraged by Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) decision to work with Senator John Kerry (D-MA) to craft comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation. In an op-ed published in Sunday’s New York Times, Graham and Kerry wrote about their agreement on a framework for mandatory global warming pollution reductions linked to government support for the nuclear, coal, and natural gas industries. The Natural Resource Defense Council’s Dan Lashof embraced the announcement as a game changer. Graham has recognized the threat of global warming and agreed to work with Democrats. Those “conservatives” who deny global warming see this as total abandonment.

Graham has said: “I think the planet is heating up. I think CO2 emissions are damaging the environment and this dependence on foreign oil is a natural disaster in the making. Let’s do something about it. I’d like to solve the problem – and if it’s on President Obama’s watch, it doesn’t bother me one bit if it makes the country better off.”

Although he votes with Republicans over 90% of the time, Graham’s willingness to drop blind partisanship for the chance to help shape climate legislation is making him the latest target of the extremist right, who drove Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) out of the Republican Party and demonized Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE). Yesterday, Graham held a town hall meeting in Greenville, South Carolina in which local teabaggers accused him of “going to bed with John Kerry” and making a “pact with the devil.” These accusations generated tremendous applause by the assembled crowd.

Unless you believe that global warming is a hoax, Lindsey Graham’s efforts are what Republican stalwarts and conservative activists should want from GOP officials – taking an already corporate-friendly pollution reduction system and using his support as leverage to establish conservative-leaning business interests – the nuclear, coal, oil, and natural gas industries. But the teabaggers cannot see past their noses to understand this concept.

The mistake that many teabaggers are making is to believe that denial of the science of global warming should be a plank of the Republican Party. Like the anti-immigrant fervor and race-tinged fear and hatred of President Obama that drive many of these activists, the idea that climate change is just a big Al Gore conspiracy threatens to consign the Republican Party to irrelevance even as it hurts the nation and the world. These days, it is hard to tell whether there is a consistent GOP ideology, what with the belief espoused by the far-right wingnuts that Obama is simultaneously a communist, fascist, Marxist (same as communist – but they do not seem to know it), socialist, tool of corporations like GE and Goldman Sachs, tool of the United Nations, and other mutually irrational and inconsistent conspiracies.

Following the trend set by the Bush administration of “you’re either for us or against us,” the teabaggers are intent on driving any remaining Republican moderates and conservatives who are willing to negotiate with the Democrats out of the party – such as Senators Lindsey Graham, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins. They have dubbed officials who don’t vote with the ultra conservatives 100% of the time RINOs (Republican in name only).

Come 2012, the Republican Party will be relegated mostly to the Southern States, the nationwide teabaggers, and 99.9% White – with party views rivaling those espoused by the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland:
“Off with their heads!”