As Mark notes just below, GOP climate denial is coming to bite Willard in the behind. But this still begs the fundamental question: of all the issues in the world, why has the Republican Party developed such an incredible antipathy to doing anything about or even acknowledging the reality of anthrpogenic climate change? After all, there are policies that good conservatives could support to mitigate climate change — most notably, a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
And then suddenly, it dawned on me. Mark has previously noted one profound truth about the current GOP, viz.:
Today’s Republican Party is a coalition between those who want to repeal the Progressive Era and those who want to repeal the Enlightenment.
The problem with such a coalition, of course, is that the two wings feel strongly about policies that have little to do with each other. Many if not most hedge-fund managers are pro-choice and believe in the separation of church and state; many evangelical Christians do not feel that closing the carried-interest loophole puts us on the Road to Serfdom (although that might be changing).
Now consider the climate issue: climate change policy represents a perfect sweet spot, a place where plutocrats and theocrats can agree not for expedience but in principle.
Plutocrats like the Koch Brothers hate climate change regulation because it is regulation; it is an example of the government telling them that they cannot do something because it might hurt other people, and of course the Koch Brothers (like all toddlers) hate being told that they are not perfect. For theocrats, the necessity of climate change policy means acknowledging the reality and validity of scientific investigation; it requires conceding that not all possible knowledge is contained in Scripture.
So when a plutocrat declares that climate change is a hoax, theocrats will vigorously nod their heads. The two wings of the Republican coalition are worshipping a different God — theocrats worship the God of the Book of Revelation, and the plutocrats worship Ayn Rand — but because climate change answers their deepest ideological needs so perfectly, they can agree. Any attacks on climate policy by one wing reinforce the prejudices of the other wing. That’s not the case with, say, banning abortion in the case of rape, or expanding tax shelters in the Caymans.
It’s a match made in…well…somewhere.