“I am not a scientist”. Those words, or a variation thereof, have been used by the following politicians when speaking of climate change or global warming: John Boehner, Bobby Jindal, Michael Grimm, Lisa Nelson, Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell, and Joni Ernst. Well Nelson is not a politician herself but she is CEO of ALEC which is a shadow legislator in many states.

These people, as well as many more have more in common than sharing this occupational status.. They are all Republicans.

Yet that they are not scientists does not impair their ability to substitute their judgment for the the 97% of climate scientists who are in agreement that the earth’s climate is changing and that much of that change is due to human caused activity. Even the scientists acknowledge differences in degree, the sum total of effects of change, and what precisely it will take to stem and/or reverse that change.

The bottom line is that Republicans want to dismiss expert opinion in favor of some ethereal conceptions of how the climate works and mistake, possibly deliberately, temperature in Rockville, Md. for the climate to which the entire earth is subject.

Similarly in the faux Ebola crisis sweeping the country, all kinds of recommendations of how to deal with this deadly disease, as well as strange notions of how it is transmitted (possibly in the back packs of child refugees?) have been emerging from the mouths of people who themselves have no medical training but who purport to know exactly what is necessary to protect the American public health. Again most, but not all, are Republicans.

Talk about bipartisanship!

There are some area of expertise where Republicans have exercised their acumen, especially over the past 30-35 years. They have conducted living experiments in the application of their core principles, being extracted intact from the conservative bible. The results of the experimentation are available in the form of solid empirical evidence.

These experiments, employing the American people as lab rats, have brought nothing but negative results.

Kurt Eichenwald in Vanity Fair generously shares some prime examples with us.

Are conservatives ever right?

The question isn’t meant to suggest that liberals are never wrong. But reviewing the last few decades of conservative policy initiatives—or their objections over that timespan to policies they hate—shows a consistent pattern of failure: predictions never pan out, and intended results turn to catastrophic flops.

As he notes further

Too often, it seems, conservatives have scorned experts as incompetent, biased, or otherwise worth ignoring because they came up with answers that didn’t fit their politically desired answer. Often, they proclaim experts have a liberal bias.

He fleshes out his assertions by exploring the fantasy versus the reality in these areas:

Tax cuts pay for themselves.

Deregulating the Thrift Industry Will Save It

Iraq I: The Tilt

Giving Iranian Moderates Weapons Will Help America

Raising Taxes Will Cause a Recession

Abolishing Some Bank Regulations Will Help the Economy

The U.S.–led Bombing of Yugoslavia Would Be a Disaster

Bin Laden Was a Front for Iraq

Iraq 2: W.M.D.s and a Short, Inexpensive War


I will grant that some of these policies or decisions were not  ones that strictly lent themselves to pure objective analysis. But even those were subject to the supposed teachings of history.

Moreover the wrongheadedness of Iraq I directly led to the future fiascoes of the other Middle Eastern adventures on this list.

I’ll save you the trouble. No Presidential Administration, no political party, and no political movement is immune from stumbling disastrously on its own ideals and rhetoric. But being so conspicuously and continuously wrong suggests that inventory must be taken to assess what went wrong and then to make appropriate changes.

But the fly in that ointment is that if you dispense with the experts or banish known contraindications from your political thought development and, instead, maintain a philosophy destined to fail, the mistakes will be repeated ad nauseum. Witness the ads and speeches generated in this mid-term election year and the promises made upon achieving electoral success.

Eichenwald summarizes it thus

America needs reality-based policy. Bluster and fantasy have cost us too much.

I’ll put it this way. Failure to exit denial, the first stage of grief, inevitably leads to further grief.

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  • toadsly  On November 11, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    I’m resent being used as a lab rat!

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