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Poll: 1 in 5 Americans believe Obama is a cactus

By Joe Romm  

"Poll: 1 in 5 Americans believe Obama is a cactus"

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“If the president says he is a human being, I’ll take him at his word,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday.

So it’s a downer day, as E&E News (subs. req’d) reports:

The House’s top Republican watchdog is planning to launch an investigation into international climate data if he takes the helm of the chamber’s oversight panel next year.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said a probe of the “Climategate” scandal will top his environmental agenda if the Republicans take over the House next year and he gets the chairmanship.

“For me, settled science starts out with settled raw data, then people negotiate and discuss and hypothecate from that data,” Issa said. “If the raw data’s in doubt, then the idea that we have settled science doesn’t exist. I want settled science.”

Right now, Nate Silver says it’s almost 2-to-1 the Dems lose the House, though I tend to think it’s closer to 50-50 right now.  Either way, there’s a good chance that many of the top climate scientists in this country will be subject to yet more harassment.

And so, to lighten things up, here’s a great piece from The Onion for you to hypothecate about:

According to a poll released Tuesday, nearly 20 percent of U.S. citizens now believe Barack Obama is a cactus, the most Americans to identify the president as a water- retaining desert plant since he took office.

The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found a sharp rise in the number of Americans who say they firmly believe Obama was either born a cactus, became a cactus during his youth, or has questionable links to the Cactaceae family.

“We asked people of varying races, ages, and backgrounds the same question: ‘What is President Barack Obama?’” Pew spokeswoman Jodi Miller told reporters. “And a fifth of them responded, ‘A cactus.’”

According to the poll, Obama has lost favor among many voters who supported his candidacy in 2008 but have since come to doubt he is a mammal. While these Americans concede Obama may not specifically be a cactus, most believe he is a plant of some kind, with 18 percent saying the president is a ficus, 37 percent believing him to be a grain such as wheat or millet, and 12 percent convinced he is an old-growth forest in Northern California.

When asked why they agreed with the statement “President Obama is a large succulent plant composed of specialized cells designed for water retention in arid climates,” many responded that they “just know,” claiming the president only acts like a human being for political purposes and is truly a cactus at heart.

White House officials have asserted that the nation’s 44th president is a person.

“You can’t go a day without hearing how Obama’s a radical cactus sympathizer who wants to sap America of all its drinking water, or how he was actually born in the Kalahari Desert,” said media critic Lynn Pelmont, referring to cable news outlets that suggest the president has prickly spines he uses to protect himself from thirsty animals. “For a man who prides himself on delivering a coherent message, there’s an awful lot of confusion out there about whether he’s a Harvard Law graduate or a leafless flowering shrub.”

“He must speak frankly to the American people about his mammalian background,” Pelmont added. “If not, it’s only a matter of time before people start believing those fringe bloggers who claim the president of the United States is actually an old washing machine.”

Some Beltway observers have accused Republicans of tacitly encouraging the cactus rumor, pointing out that if millions of voters believe Obama produces buds through spirally arranged areoles situated along his stem, the GOP has a much better chance of retaking Congress in November.

“If the president says he is a human being, I’ll take him at his word,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on Meet the Press. “Though I’ve never heard him complain about being thirsty. Not once. That could be a coincidence, I suppose, but it’s really not my place to say.”

During a Wednesday morning briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs once again denied that President Obama is a cactus, citing numerous physiological attributes of the nation’s chief executive, including his ability to walk upright and to manipulate objects with his opposable thumbs.

“Cacti don’t talk,” said Gibbs, shaking his head. “They just don’t.”

President Barack Hussein Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961 in Honolulu, HI to parents Ann Dunham and Barack Obama, Sr. From the ages of 6 to 10 he lived with his mother and stepfather in Indonesia, where he attended Besuki Public School and St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School. In 1971, Obama returned to Hawaii, where he was raised primarily by his grandmother until he left home to attend Occidental College in Los Angeles.

“I don’t care what he says or what his people say or what anybody else says,” 48-year-old Kansas resident Jake Nolan told reporters. “The guy’s a cactus, plain and simple. I mean, Christ, look at him.”

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21 Responses to Poll: 1 in 5 Americans believe Obama is a cactus

  1. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Why don’t US climate scientists simply migrate to China, or some other rational state, and pursue their research there, while the witch-trials and Inquisitions rage back home? They could, of course, return home, when and if reason returns to their homeland. They could also holiday at home, although it might be safer to do so secretly, or under an assumed name, lest the denialist mobs seek them out. In the UK the decaying education system, part of a decaying economy (remember, Thatcher made it plain that there was ‘..no such thing as society’ and her heirs are back in charge, and set to wreak even more destruction)cannot provide enough jobs for graduates, and many are apparently moving to China in search of gainful employment. It would do wonders for cross-cultural amity too, which we are going to need as we seek scientific, cultural and economic means by which to save our species. We’re all in the shite together.

  2. another joe says:

    hy·poth·e·cate
    1    /haɪˈpɒθɪˌkeɪt, hɪ-/ Show Spelled[hahy-poth-i-keyt, hi-] Show IPA
    –verb (used with object), -cat·ed, -cat·ing.

    1. to pledge to a creditor as security without delivering over; mortgage.
    2. to put in pledge by delivery, as stocks given as security for a loan.

    So THATS what scientists should be doing…

  3. caerbannog says:

    Climate-scientists hauled before a GOP-led congressional committee will have an impossible task — explaining science to GOP congresscritters. They may as well try reading Shakespeare to a bunch of barnyard animals.

  4. Peter M says:

    The Ignorance of so many Americans will be their undoing

    and guess what? Its far sooner then the think :-(

  5. homunq says:

    Do you think the Romans had The Onion (or Li Unio or whatever)? They certainly should have; a great empire deserves to laugh at its fall. I hope Dinosauria did too, though I don’t think onions existed.

  6. Chris Winter says:

    Once again, the Weekly World News was there first. One of the two issues I remember seeing from it, way back in its heyday on supermarket racks, had a cover story all about scientists allegedly creating plant people. One of the types described in the story was cactus soldiers, and sure enough the cover featured a drawing of a cactus wielding a machine gun.

    So thanks to the staff of The Onion for a trip down memory lane.

    And eat your hearts out, Taliban monkey-soldier trainers! ;-)

  7. caerbannog says:


    hy·poth·e·cate
    ….
    1. to pledge to a creditor as security without delivering over; mortgage.
    2. to put in pledge by delivery, as stocks given as security for a loan.

    So THATS what scientists should be doing…

    And of course, we all know that Issa’s just chomping at the bit to *refudiate* all that pointy-headed climate science.

  8. Theodore says:

    Obama is not a cactus. That’s just silly. But I have heard that he might be a stuffed shirt, no doubt made of some strange un-American fabric like muslin, or linen.

  9. Peter Bellin says:

    If he were a cactus, at least he would have some spine. I do wish he would repudiate the deniers and obstructionists more forecefully.

  10. toby says:

    “Hypothecate?” Where do they get them???

  11. I have absolutely nothing against cacti

  12. Bill W says:

    “Warning! Step Away from the Congress!”

    [Issa made his fortune from the Viper car alarm, the one that had a voice, Issa's, saying "Warning! Step away from the car!" if somebody got too close.]

  13. hapa says:

    the administration’s denials reek of legalistic mumbojumbo like rotting flesh. they haven’t denied the kalahari konnektion so then i guess “it depends what the meaning of ‘cactus’ is”!!!! read it for yourself!!!!!!!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoodia

  14. Dean says:

    In politics, the best figure out a way to turn a negative into a positive, a 180 degree change. If perchance the Rs try and do a Starr Chamber on climate scientists – and you know that they will focus on Mann – scientists need to figure out a way to turn it around. With numerous investigations clearing them, and with even some skeptics a bit worried about political persecution of science, it just may be possible to expose these faux investigations for what they really are, and turn the tide on this issue. So it might end up being an opportunity (though not one Dr. Mann will look forward to).

  15. Richard Brenne says:

    Ahh, but how many of us think that 20 per cent are as smart as a cactus? Hands?

  16. george ennis says:

    It seems most climate scientists will be blocked from doing any further climate research after the mid-terms. Either that or be faced with enormous and never ending legal bills defending themselves from the ignorant braying idiots in the GOP. Mann will be the first one up.

    This is truly depressing.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Theodore, I believe that the Romans greatly valued cloth from India, of the type later known as ‘muslin’. They spent so much on it, and pepper and other spices, that they debauched their money. They called it ‘woven air’, and I think that is a good description of Obama, the confidence-man par excellence. Woven hot air, to be precise.

  18. Scrooge says:

    So they have come right out to say Mcarthyism will begin.

  19. afisher says:

    Issa’s statement is wrong on so many levels, it made me try and come up with an example of how his flawed logic would work in the Real World. I didn’t do an indepth historical study, but consider:

    Back in the 80′s a number of gay men started showing up at physician offices with strange symptoms and a skin anomaly that was identified as Karposi’s Sarcoma. As data continued to accumulate, some said that this was god’s revenge on gays. If that was the “negotiated” consensus, that would be great, as all those gays deserved what the got and everyone would have gone back to their lives.

    But data continued to stream in, straight people were also being diagnosed as having the same symptoms and related diseases. How could that be? Based on ISSA’s approach to science, the facts had been negotiated and the problem had been settled. This was a disease that only affected gay’s, quit wasting money on research and treatment.

    My grandfather died in the 1930′s. He died of an anaphylatic response to the “miracle” drug Penicillin. Using ISSA’s approach, Penicillen should be banned as the data was negotiated and using my grandfather as his case study, penicillin kills!

    KISS examples need to be used to demonstrate how irresponsible ISSA’s approach to “negotiated” science will affect the future.

  20. Romm, you missed out an important consequence of the promised ‘investigations’: if the Republicans get their way, US officially policy will be stating that British government are idiots or liars — British PM David Cameron, Prince Charles, the Lord Oxburgh inquiry, the Muir Russell inquiry, all of them.

    The US Republicans are going to create a diplomatic row with Britain. Think about that. And think about that again.

    What will Obama do in such a situation? I expect — at any moment now — a news item saying that Obama has just signed an executive order to bomb East Anglia back to the Stone Age.

    frank

  21. peter whitehead says:

    “Are you now or were you ever a climate scientist?” – obviously rational thought is an Un-American Activity (if it’s the land of the free, can ANYTHING be un-american?)

    Anyway, Obama’s a Klingon. K’plah! Pass it on.