One day after President Obama returned from a global summit on human-induced climate change attended by nearly 150 world leaders, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz announced he is holding his own convocation to deny climate change is occurring.
As chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science & Competitiveness Committee’s subcommittee on science and space, the Republican presidential candidate is convening a hearing titled “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate” to which he has invited a mere four people to testify.
All four witnesses are prominent climate change deniers. Not one of the thousands of scientists who believe the earth is warming as a result of fossil fuel emissions is on the list, nor any of the hundreds of economists who have estimated the cost of climate change, nor any of the hundreds of technocrats investigating solutions.
The Republicans are getting good at holding these bogus hearings. There have already been four Congressional hearings on the non-existent sins of Planned Parenthood. I have seen counts of 11 and 14 for the number of hearings and investigations already held to vet the Benghazi incident. And who can forget the House of Representatives hearing on contraception a few years back to which the Republicans forgot to invite any women to testify!
The goal of all these hearings is the same: to throw red meat to the right-wing media and to give Republicans the platform to say bad things about all the right’s bogie men, who, as it turns out, are often mostly women.
A similarity between all these hearings is their dependence on false statements, innuendos and bad science. But that seems to be the case with most of the statements made by all the Republican candidates to for president.
The Republican Party is now the party of liars. Since the New Deal, the Republicans have lied about unions, taxation, the minimum wage, regulation, foreign trade deals and military matters; many Democrats told the same or similar lies. But over the past 15 years, the GOP has added new lies to their message points: denying climate change, misstating the impact of abortion on women’s health, demonizing Planned Parenthood, raising the false specter of voter fraud, and denying the danger that private ownership of guns presents to civil society. They can spend millions of dollars holding hearings on Planned Parenthood and Benghazi, but have outlawed any government support of research into the impact of guns on safety.
The Republicans can attract a lot of votes through the politics of denial and deceit. By playing to the worst instincts, misplaced anger and unrealistic expectations of large number of voters while suppressing the vote of natural Democrats in the name of preventing the nonexistent problem of voter fraud, they can even gain the power to implement policies based on their distortions. But sooner or later, reality will catch up to them—and, unfortunately, the rest of us.