The Tea Party has always been the GOP’s far-right flank. Despite its small membership and radical views, it has mustered up an undue measure of influence in the Republican Party due to its fanatical posturing and wealthy financial backers. Now a new study by the Pew Research Center sheds light on a profound split between Main Street Republicans and the deep right-field Tea Party. Pew’s research reveals that…
“Just 25% of Tea Party Republicans say there is solid evidence of global warming, compared with 61% of non-Tea Party Republicans.”
So a solid majority of Republicans recognize the reality of Climate Change that is affirmed by 97% of scientists who have studied the matter. But only 25% of Tea Partiers respect the peer-reviewed evidence of Climate Change. While some of the Tea Partiers say that they don’t have enough information as to whether the Earth is warming, a majority of the skeptics stubbornly insist that it’s “just not happening.”
This split between the Tea Party and the rest of their Republican pals in the public at large is not reflected in the GOP representation in Congress where a majority of the GOP caucus aligns itself with the deniers. Nor is it represented in the conservative media that stridently rejects any suggestion that the planet faces any climate risks. The inevitable result of that divergence is that a portion of the population is woefully misinformed about Climate Change. Even worse, the bias disseminated by right-wing media foments a distrust in science and scientists in general.
Be Sure To “LIKE” News Corpse On Facebook
Consequently we see absurd departures from reality that are based strictly on partisan propaganda. When the White House issued an executive order to facilitate “efforts to improve climate preparedness and resilience; help safeguard our economy, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources,” Fox News covered the event by saying that “Obama uses executive order in sweeping takeover of nation’s climate change policies.” The report had an alarmist tone in warning that the order will “potentially skirt legislative oversight and push a federal agenda on states.” Fox ignored the actual substance of the order that explicitly stated that “This order shall be implemented consistent with U.S. obligations under international agreements and applicable U.S. law, and be subject to the availability of appropriations.” The language addressing appropriations specifically bows to the oversight authority of Congress that Fox denied existed.
Fox’s report further injected a partisan intent on the part of the White House to deliver climate policy implementation to a cabal of Democrats. Three separate times in the report Fox noted the presence of Democrats on the task force that the executive order created. Why that should surprise anyone is a mystery. The President is entirely within his rights to appoint members of his party to executive branch committees. More importantly, why would anyone go out of their way to put the sort of climate science deniers that dominate the Republican Party on a committee tasked with mitigating the effects of Climate Change? It would be like asking atheists to lead the Christian church’s membership drive.
By disseminating false and misleading information about Climate Change, Fox News has been a significant factor in dumbing down the small portion of the electorate that is glued to their network. The more gullible among them, specifically the Tea Party faction, have become ardent opponents of reform measures to address Climate Change. And now it appears that they have drifted so far from the GOP mainstream that they have little in common with the average Republican’s position on this issue.
Nevertheless, the Republicans in Congress will continue to obstruct reasonable reforms that are supported by the majority of America, and even the majority of their party. That defiance is directly attributable to their fear of Tea Party primary challenges and their dependence on Tea Party billionaires like the Koch brothers. Until the GOP unshackles itself from their extremist wing and exhibits a willingness to cooperate on issues where they share common ground, voters must replace them with either common sense Republicans or Democrats. And if the Pew study is any indication, Republican voters are getting ready to do just that.