Honey, I shrunk the GOP, Part 3: RNC Chair Steele withdraws support for Rep. Kirk over his vote on climate and clean energy bill

Part 1 looked at how, conservatives vowed to purge all members who support clean energy or science-based policy following the House vote on the climate bill.

That anti-climate litmus test threatens the health and well-being of our children and grandchildren — and will ultimately prove self-destructive for conservatives, too, as noted in Part 2: Opposing clean energy hurts GOP “” Mellman. More recent polling further underscores the danger of opposing the clean air, clean water, clean energy jobs bill (see Swing state poll finds 60% “would be more likely to vote for their senator if he or she supported the bill” and Independents support the bill 2-to-1).

Now Think Progress reports on another striking GOP effort to purge a member who failed the litmus test:

This past June, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) “” who is now running for Senate “” was one of the eight Republicans to cast a vote in favor of Waxman-Markey clean energy legislation. But ever since Kirk began taking heat from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, he has been trying desperately to backtrack from his vote.

“Republican National Chairman Michael Steele has withdrawn his sole endorsement for Mark Kirk for the U. S. Senate, recognizing that the candidacy of Patrick Hughes has drawn major support from Illinois Republicans: thus Steele’s RNC is neutral “¦ a distinct victory for Hughes.”

Steele has previously referred to Kirk as a rising star and someone he would support. “I’m so excited about Mark Kirk and his race,” Steele said in a radio interview. “We were all kind of sitting around with bated breath as he was making his decision, a very personal decision, a family decision, to run for the Senate.”

“You have absolutely no reason, none, to trust our word or our actions at this point,” Steele told Glenn Beck in February. This of course remains an ongoing challenge for conservatives.

Anti-science conservatives have tied their future to policies that would inevitably lead to catastrophic climate change and impoverishment of this country “” and that would cede leadership in the clean energy technologies that will be the biggest job-creating engine this century. As the painful reality human-caused global warming becomes increasingly obvious, that is a political strategy that will keep shrinking the party. Let’s just hope that they disappear from sight in time for progressives to enact the policies needed to preserve a livable climate.


We aren’t living in a Disney science fiction movie. Even if the GOP is mired in science fictions, a happy ending is not guaranteed.

Photoshop credit to CAP’s Lauren Ferguson.

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