Early last week, Wisconsin Republican Senate frontrunner Ron Johnson relied on his ample scientific acumen to point out that global warming was attributable primarily to those pesky sunspots, and that excess CO2 is actually awesome, because the trees really dig it.
There is now video available, and as you can see, the snippets of Johnson goodness don't do the whole thing justice.
Johnson's home-state paper, though, did a little digging late last week and discovered what many in the progressive blogosphere already knew. When it comes to asinine justifications for ignoring the work of scientists, Ron Johnson isn't the exception in the GOP, he is the rule (emphasis mine):
During a meeting with the editorial board of the Journal Sentinel, Johnson said, "I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change. It's not proven by any stretch of the imagination."
Nationally, other candidates hold Johnson's view, or believe it will connect with voters.
Republican Senate candidates Marco Rubio of Florida and Ken Buck of Colorado both have made similar comments.
In California, Republican Carly Fiorina has been critical of Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer's description of global warming as a national security issue.
In a recent ad, Fiorina says, "Terrorism kills. And Barbara Boxer's worried about the weather?"
"It's simply reached the point," Franklin said, "where a claim of science meets with blithe rejections from conservative Republicans now."
Whatever the science, the issue will be addressed in a political, and not scientific realm, he said.
For all the ink and the analysis that has already emerged from the 2010 elections, this was a point from the Journal-Sentinel that really underscores one of the most readily apparent frauds of the modern-day Republican Party.
Surely, there are some in the anti-science wing of the GOP that are true believers. But the author identifies another motive that has to be considered as likely to be at work, or even more likely.
Some of these assaults on sound scientific study are based on an awful political calculation that is eerily similar to the calculation that has the GOP incessantly trying to convince voters that they can have massive tax cuts and a balanced budget simultaneously.
In short, the shopworn notion of the GOP as the party of "responsibility" is a canard.
Quite the opposite: the modern-era Republican Party's entire ideological profile is predicating on deflecting responsibility, not taking it.
Their assault on science is a classic example of this denial of responsibility. If nothing else, the GOP offers a consistent message: "Don't worry, guys. You do not have to change your behavior one iota. No sacrifice is expected of you, nor are you expected to assume any responsibility for what is happening to the Earth. Because it isn't really happening. And even if it is happening, it's nobody's fault. Or, at a minimum, it is someone else's fault. Carry on."
Politically, it is a potentially lucrative tactic. It is always easier to reinforce than it is to challenge. No one questions to electoral wisdom of doing so.
The big picture, of course, is an entirely different matter.