Cynthia Tucker: The GOP is now a party of know-nothing flat-earthers

One of the greatest crises of our time is climate change, which threatens to create food shortages (as the Russians learned this summer), change geography, eradicate entire eco-systems and even wipe out cities and towns in coastal areas. (NOTE: If you are an anti-science know-nothing, don’t bother to comment. The clear scientific consensus indicates a warming climate caused by human activity.)

That’s Pulitzer Prize winner Cynthia Tucker of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a blog piece titled, “The GOP is now a party of know-nothing flat-earthers.”

Sadly, and painfully, the anti-science crowd did bother to comment, but that is no big surprise since they swarm over any unmoderated discussion.  Her piece continues:

But we’ve reached the odd and depressing point in American politics where not a single Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate supports aggressive action to mitigate climate change. The last science literate, Delaware Congressman Mike Castle, was defeated by tea party favorite Christine O’Donnell.

The blog Think Progress did a survey of GOP Senate candidates, and it found that even those who had previously supported policies that would curb carbon emissions have backed away, fearing a backlash from their know-nothing constituents.

Many others have simply chosen to be ignorant anti-science flat-earthers. Alaska’s Joe Miller, who defeated incumbent Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary, is an example of the latter category. He told an Alaska newspaper,
“We haven’t heard there’s man-made global warming.” [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 8/23/10]

Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson is in the more sophisticated category, too smart to deny the science outright but unwilling to buck a tide of flat-earth voters and selfish businesses that don’t want to change their ways. This was Isakson’s response, according to Think Progress:

Science has shown us that there has been a gradual warming of the earth over the last 50 years. What is not as clear is whether the cause for this warming is man-made emissions, a cyclical warming of the planet, or a combination of both. Given the uncertainty in the science behind climate change, I believe that we should take proactive steps, both personally and as a nation, to reduce our emissions. footprint.

Interestingly, though, Isakson doesn’t support any “proactive measures” to combat climate change.

The current GOP represents a step backward from the Bush administration, which acknowledged the threat of climate change. In 2007, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the US was “a major emitter” and was not “above the international community on the issue.” She also said that “all nations should tackle” the “growing problem” of climate change. (h/t The New Civil Rights Movement)

“The current GOP represents a step backward from the Bush administration.”  Think about that!

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28 Responses to Cynthia Tucker: The GOP is now a party of know-nothing flat-earthers

  1. John McCormick says:

    Aside from the GOP now a party of flat-earth climate deniers, what other damage can it do to our country?

    Imagine the baggers organizing the repubs to overturn Roe v Wade. “Dare you to vote against it, you Rino.”

    Add your own frightening legislative bombs these crazies are ready to lob at us thinking Americans.

    These people are about to terrorize our democracy folks.

    John McCormick

  2. Teeboone says:

    If you want to be really depressed, read the comments on that article. I want to go hug a puppy now.

  3. Joe Onan says:

    I was surprised to see Tea Party-ist Christine O’Donnel beat off Mike Castle

  4. darth says:

    If you check out the comments at the article there are plenty of deniers there posting the usual misinformation (Lindzen, newsweek “global cooling”, etc) but there are a substantial number of people refuting those posts with actual facts. It gives me a bit of optimism.

  5. Bob Wallace says:

    Joe #2 – Subtlety fail….

  6. WayneMac3 says:

    Go to the link for Cynthia Tucker’s article and the comments. It is sad and depressing to see so many posters denying that there is consensus in the scientific community about 1. the fact that the climate is warming and 2. human activities are the cause of climate change. I guess it is a whole lot easier to let Faux News do your thinking for you.

  7. Peter M says:

    The damage the republican party is doing to the country will come to haunt us in ways that will be devastating – let them finish their ‘contract with America’.

    The American people are buying a bill of goods- thinking that a safe & secure future is what the republicans can give them. Good luck.

    Times change- society remains not the same- realities will alter- Global Climate disruptions are here- and will destroy the misguided hopes of so many in years to come.

    Lets see how far Those 1980 ideas of Reagan do in the complex world of today- climatic disruptions and all.

    A UCLA Geographer L. Smith has said the power of influence will shift to the north in the decades ahead- to Seattle, Vancouver, Stockholm, Montreal, Reykjavik to escape the ravages of climate change and a society in chaos to the south.

    Should I migrate to Burlington VT or Portland Maine?

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    Before Vote, City Officials Fretted About New System

  9. Prokaryotes says:

    The Justice Department is scrutinizing the actions of the nation’s largest voting machine company, according to court records and sources.

    Electronic voting is open for fraud.

  10. Susan Anderson says:

    We’ve had those scanning machines in Boston forever. They work fine here. Not OK that there wasn’t sufficient preparation or training, but this type does provide a paper record, it’s not the nasty Diebold stuff you’re thinking of. And the lack of training is a symptom of budget difficulties as the money has run out. This is ancillary to climate change as more and more money will be spent on mitigation, the most expensive way of dealing with our growing troubles.

  11. Wit'sEnd says:

    paulm, you might be interested in this article in the Guardian if you haven’t already!

  12. Prokaryotes says:


  13. Prokaryotes says:


    Problems in this election disproportionately affected Black voters. Accumulated problems uncovered so far quantify to tens of thousands of votes, in an election where just a few thousand votes separated winners from losers.

  14. Susan @ #11: Hopefully, you mean adaptation, not mitigation. Mitigation is the cheapest option of the Mitigation, Adaptation, Misery triad.

    If we mitigate (emit less) now, there will be less need for adaptation soon.

  15. Neven says:

    Prokaryote, here’s a documentary you’ll like called Hacking Democracy.

  16. Bill W says:

    Read “Merchants of Doubt”. Republican free-market ideologues have been fighting any science that might lead to regulation for 50 years. Now it’s just become official party-wide policy.

  17. Prokaryotes says:

    Thanks Neven, will watch that later.

    Ideal would be to have CC dealt with above politics. Because the climate does not care about politics.

  18. mike roddy says:

    For those upset about the denier commenters-

    Many of them are paid indirectly by fossil fuel companies, via think tanks etc. This is an organized operation, evidenced by their frequent use of pseudonyms and robotic parroting of discredited studies and talking points. When an article appears anywhere in the media that they don’t like, the boiler room cockroaches are instantly summoned from the basement.

    They took over and ruined Dot Earth, and showed up recently in the Grist comment section. Obviously, the Far Right does not read these publications, so it’s not as if earnest readers want to question the content.

    Eventually Grist and maybe even the Times will summon the nerve to tell them to get lost, and go spew their lies to fellow airheads at WUWT and CA.

    It’s a waste of time to engage them, and Joe’s policy here is the right one.

  19. paulm says:

    ta for the link wits. The public just dont know. Some kinda known but are afraid to see.

    USF grant to get people thinking about rising sea levels

    The Al Gore approach to climate-change education didn’t work, says University of South Florida geologist Jeffrey Ryan. Too many charts.

    He wants people to see the evidence around them – wells turning salty, beaches and mangrove islands disappearing, signs that billions of dollars worth of waterfront property could be underwater in the next several decades.

    “We need to pull together a broad swath of the community, not just academics,” Ryan said.

    His goal is to find ways to educate people, from school children to adults, about the effects of climate change, sea-level rise in particular.

    It involves everything from developing a public school curriculum to encouraging more students to study climate science in college.

  20. Russell says:

    One cannot fairly assert all in t The Base believe the earth flat , as some insist the sun revolves around it:

  21. David Ferrell says:

    If they truly “…haven’t heard that there’s man-made global warming,” that’s because they’re stone deaf to reason and sense—the basic definition of both idiot and lunatic. Otherwise they’re liars. But this is a collective form of lunacy—by far the most dangerous kind since it tends to go unrecognized as such.

    Believe me when I say that we’re in deep trouble if this insane element in American social and political life ever again gets a firm grip on the levers of power. The damage that could be done to our world potentially far exceeds the damage done to Germany and the rest of Europe by Hitler and the Nazis—who were equally extreme and who were cunning enough not to announce their more murderous intentions beforehand.

    In that event I’d say take to the hills, except that I just remembered that we haven’t got too many of those left—mountaintop removal as a side effect of environmentally unsafe and unsound industrial coal mining has just about flattened many of the more scenic portions of the American landscape that weren’t already flat.

    Somehow all of that seems to go with the flat-Earth mentality so prevalent in Congress as well as the less-populated Red states—many of which are in fact mostly flat topographically, as in the Great Plains. That’s also where Denier-in-Chief Sen. James Inhofe hails from—Oklahoma, in fact, a place so flat that I tend to get it mixed up with Nebraska and Kansas. (I actually misidentified Inhofe as “R-Nebraska” in a recent post on this site—but that’s how it goes.)

    Sorry, Senator. Try (a) thinking straight and (b) hailing from a state where most of the people are in touch with reality, i.e. not nutcases. Is somebody saying they’re not nutcases? I’ll believe it the day they vote Inhofe out of office.

  22. William P says:

    Interestingly, almost amusingly, many Republicans, Tea Baggers, ditto heads just label the concept of global warming as “Liberal”.

    How can a scientific finding, with lots of evidence on one side be either liberal or conservative? How about the concept of gravity. Could it be reframed into a liberal plot? Not funny – maybe it could in today’s political scene.

    This post starts with: “One of the greatest crises of our time is climate change, which threatens to create food shortages (as the Russians learned this summer), change geography, eradicate entire eco-systems and even wipe out cities and towns in coastal areas.”

    No, it is likely to be much worse. Eminent earth scientist, James Lovelock says 5 billion or more humans will perish if CO2 is not reduced. James Hansen has worse news. Earth will become a fireball like Venus.

    So, let’s be accurate. The best scientists say we are in for much worse than “food shortages” and coast line difficulties. Let’s not purposely distort the end results of global warming to avoid being too scary. The public needs to hear the facts, as unpleasant as they are.

  23. Tim says:

    The “round earth” idea is just a theory and to reject the flat-earth alternative theory just shows how close minded you liberal morons are.

  24. William P says:

    Politics, Washington, elections are increasingly driven by the large right wing media machine – Fox “News”, Limbaugh, Savage, Levine and many more.

    This was evident when Senator Chuck Grasley went home after agreeing to support the health care reform. After discussion with his voters he completely reversed position, coming out with phrases manufactured by Limbaugh and Fox such as, “They are going to pull the plug on grandma.” He heard this phrase from voters, who heard it on right wing media. That’s how politics works now.

    We need to put right wing media in the cross hairs (to use language that may appeal to them) of whats wrong with Washington and the extreme partisanship. Its clearly and simply this right wing media machine. It has successfully propagandized citizens by the millions on many subjects, not just global warming.

    In modern times Germany, an educated nation, was seized by a successful propaganda machine run by a man named Joseph Goebbels. Like Limbaugh, Hannity, and O’Rielly, Goebbels found a scapegoat – the Jews – and blamed all problems on them. With Limbaugh and the rest, it is the “liberals” who are to blame for everything from global warming to the mortgage crisis to the crash of Wall St. The parallel between Goebbels and Limbaugh, Hannity, etc. is chilling to say the least.

    Goebbels and his leaders took Germany down to utter and total destruction – right up to the last hour – all with the power of propaganda.

    This is a lesson we desperately need to review right now.

  25. David Ferrell says:

    Rearing its despicable head here is a highly cultivated form of mass ignorance—a defiant, proud ignorance reminiscent of the stonewalling ignorance of the flat-earthers of centuries past. Such “learned ignorance” represents ingrained stupidity at its very worst. It is not easily defeated, nor can it soon die a natural death, for the very simple reason that it is 100% impervious to the facts.

    Exhibit A: believers in a flat earth, biblically inspired, persist in some numbers to this day and—unsurprisingly—the overwhelming evidence that the earth is sphere rotating on its axis and revolving around the sun has no effect on them. Not long after the dawn of modern era of space exploration, Samuel Shenton, a founder and “organizing secretary” of the International Flat Earth Society, was shown a photograph of the spherical earth as seen from space. His response? “It’s easy to see how a photograph like that could fool the untrained eye,” he said. He was not fooled; the picture’s very flatness served to further confirm his belief that the earth was, in fact, pancake flat. Similarly, dinosaur bones dug up from geologic strata buried for 100 million years can so easily fool those unaware that the earth is actually no more than 10,000 years old. Can’t they?

    So let’s be frank. It requires a keenly blinkered eye, plus a big dose of spoon-fed biblical bamboozlement, to see that most of what is called “modern knowledge” is pure bunk. This includes all the accumulated scientific wisdom of our time—the indisputable evidences of a big-bang origin of the universe, ancient galaxy formation, a 4.6-billion-year-old earth and moon, prehistoric asteroid impacts, and the sequence of five major terrestrial mass extinctions during the last half-billion years. So-called “global warming” is just the latest scientific conspiracy to be exposed. If the Climategate Scandal had not happened, it would have been necessary to invent it—which of course is exactly why it was invented.

    Why? Understanding the full force of the scientific argument for reining in greenhouse emissions requires at once a firm grasp of elementary climatic physics and an understanding of the fundamental role of CO2 in the earth’s multibillion-year climatic history—proceeding backward through the recent series of ice ages to events tens and hundreds of millions of years ago, including the appearance of the Arctic ice cap circa 3 million years ago, the beginnings of Antarctic glaciation when atmospheric CO2 fell to ~425 ppm about 34 million years ago (due to increased geochemical weathering secondary to intensified geologic uplift of mountain chains in that era), and so on. But all of this “history” is in irreconcilable conflict with history as Written in Genesis I. Pity the poor souls who would mistake these obviously erroneous scientific “theories” for the certitudes of infallible Scripture….

    In passing, it is worth remembering that a few centuries ago, such souls wouldn’t have been pitied—they’d have been tortured and burned alive at the stake. The main achievement of civilization since that time, at least in the liberal democratic West, has been to erect constitutional barriers against the exercise of arbitrary, dictatorial authority, whether ecclesiastical or secular, while granting certain inalienable rights to individuals. The main effect has been to unseat from positions of civil governance those servile, churchly types of mentalities who, in the name of God, would burn us at the stake in order to save our immortal souls. Give these types a chance, however, and they will quickly re-assume the full mantle of dictatorial authority, under the auspices of an all-controlling theocratic state, to enforce upon pain of death the edicts of God-given scripture as they see fit to interpret it. Today’s assaults on the constitutional “wall of separation” between Church and State—including the assertion that no such wall actually exists—are only the beginning.

    The obvious next step is to re-write History and Science, beginning with the schoolbooks. This is now being done in very determined fashion in Texas, the oil-rich Execution State (a.k.a. the Lone Star State), where for years there has been serious talk of formal secession from the U.S.A.

    The sober, somber truth of the matter is that the people on the Far Right in this Country today are nutty and increasingly so, and that what will happen if “God’s Own Party” manages to return to power with anything like the majorities the Republicans had after 2004, when they also held the White House, is something we must hope never to see. Even George W. Bush was nowhere near the extremes of incompetence and sheer nuttiness we’d see in Washington if the Palinites and their Tea-Party brethren assume control. That’s possibly why Senate Democrats are loath to part with the 60-vote requirement to stop the filibuster; they realize that one of these days quite soon—especially after the 2012 elections, now only two years away—they may need it the way a man dying of thirst in the desert needs water.

  26. Deborah Stark says:

    Re: Mike Roddy Post #18:

    Excellent post. Right on target.

    Meanwhile, from Boston, have just listened to the evening news and heard the following: Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island were hit with an unusually destructive thunderstorm earlier this evening during which a tornado watch was put up until 6:00 PM by the National Weather Service. Currently, southeastern Massachusetts is under a heavy wind advisory with winds gusting to 60mph forecast for this evening.

    Also, the summer of 2010 has been pronounced the hottest on record for Massachusetts. A meteorologist at the Blue Hill weather station just south of Boston, when asked what he thought might have caused the incidence of so many unusually high nighttime low-temperature readings this summer said, “It’s the buildup of heat-trapping pollution in our atmosphere.”

  27. SunMan says:

    Where have all the educated and wise Americans gone? Are they crawling in their holes and whimpering while the ignorants run amok?

    If the educated all choose to not vote, then we get the flat-earth outcome in charge.

  28. John Mason says:

    Joe I can see why CP is moderated even more than ever – I only read the first page of comments on that link and the number that actually made any sense can be counted on the fingers of one hand pretty much!

    Cheers – John