The GOP and trolling

Today’s New York Times has an account of how the GOP transformed from the party that got a Democratic Congress to sign the Clean Air Act into law and pushed for the Environmental Protection Agency became trollers pushing junk science:

Until 2010, some Republicans ran ads in House and Senate races showing their support for green energy.

“After that, it disappeared from Republican ads,” said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity. “Part of that was the polling, and part of it was the visceral example of what happened to their colleagues who had done that.”

What happened was clear. Republicans who asserted support for climate change legislation or the seriousness of the climate threat saw their money dry up or, worse, a primary challenger arise.

“It told Republicans that we were serious,” Mr. Phillips said, “that we would spend some serious money against them.”

By the time Election Day 2010 arrived, 165 congressional members and candidates had signed Americans for Prosperity’s “No Climate Tax” pledge.

Most were victorious.

“The midterm election was a clear rejection of policies like the cap-and-trade energy taxes that threaten our still-fragile economy,” said James Valvo, then Americans for Prosperity’s government affairs director, in a statement issued the day after the November 2010 election. Eighty-three of the 92 new members of Congress had signed the pledge.

I don’t deny — see what I did there — that, as Jane Mayer’s Dark Money clarifies, the Kochs have the conviction of fanatics, but with green industry and natural gas making the profits that cap and trade bill defenders in 2010 could only point at and laugh, the only way to explain GOP intransigence is assholism. When I talk to climate science deniers about their views, these men (always men) aren’t Christians waiting for the angel to break the seals: they’re burgher types, solid guys who own their businesses or work for people who do. They don’t even believe scientists and leftists have formed a cabal. They don’t want to be told what to do by liberals. Nothing more. Like I wrote above, they troll the left.

Meanwhile this stupidity has consequences. My congressman, the impish and endangered Carlos Curbelo, has prominent quotes in the NYT article. Local politicians? Mushmouthed and craven.

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