I think there’s probably a simple answer to Kevin Drum’s question about why Republican members of congress have become even more skeptical that global warming is due to human activity — when the GOP lost big in November, the losers came disproportionately from less-conservative districts which means the losers were disproportionately moderate in their views. This is one of several rather perverse consequences of our rather unfortunate constitutional system.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no apologist for “moderate” Republicans, but it’s still the case that there is and was some difference between even the fauxist of faux-moderates and the true right wing hard core. It’s the hard core the voters were trying to reject. But, in practice, it’s almost impossible to knock the true believers out of their safe seats unless they get into ethical hot water on the side. So instead you go after the more vulnerable, more moderate members for failing to moderate the GOP agenda in any meaningful way. And fair enough — don’t cry for them. But the upshot is still that most of the worst of the worst get to hang around.