Following the comprehensive failures of President George W. Bush, conservatives faced a hard choice: rethink or go crazy. For too many, the election of Barack Obama appears to have made it, so to speak, a no-brainer. Millions have chosen the comforts of delusion, envisioning the ordinary give and take of politics in a democracy as an apocalyptic struggle between good and evil.
In a presidential election year, the evidence is everywhere. Two weeks ago, Florida GOP Rep. Allen West told a gathering of constituents that he knew of “78 to 81” congressional Democrats who are members of the Communist Party. Almost needless to say, Allen—who is black, incidentally—failed to name even one. Hardly anybody noticed, and certainly not the “severely conservative” presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.
Crackpot pronouncements from GOP stalwarts have grown almost too commonplace to remark upon. Just the other day, Romney pretended not to hear a woman in Ohio accuse President Obama of governing outside the constitution. She wanted him tried for treason. Handed an opportunity to appear “presidential,” Romney reacted with the manic unease of a used car salesman fearful of losing a customer.
Meanwhile, speaking of conspiracy theories, a right-wing “think tank” called The Heartland Institute erected a billboard along the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago featuring a portrait of The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.
“I still believe in Global Warming,” it read. “Do you?”
Elsewhere, Heartland’s deep thinkers generously conceded that “not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants.”
Big of them, don’t you think?
Of course, Hitler loved dogs. So I don’t know what that means about dog lovers like me. Could I be a Nazi?
What I do know, however, is that virtually every major scientific organization in the world—ranging from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, to the British Royal Society and the Science Council of Japan—agrees that the atmosphere is warming far in excess of natural variability, and that greenhouse gases caused by burning fossil fuels are the cause.