August 31, 2012

Rising Sea Levels and Extreme Drought- Mitt Romney's Knee-Slapping Standup Routine

"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. MY promise … is to help you and your family." Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, August 30, 2012.

"I am proud to announce the Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan, the first in the history of the Commonwealth and among the strongest in our nation."- Governor Mitt Romney, 2004. 

"The most momentous foreign policy line was Romney's applause line on climate change . . . [it] signposts one of the most consequential ways that we've failed our children -- and the important role played by the modern Republican party in that failure."- Prof. Dan Nexon, Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, Department of Government and School of Foreign Service, and International Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

"That climate change laugh line is going to be in every documentary in the latter half of the 21st century." Matt Novak, username paleofuture,  on Twitter. 

Is there any doubt left about where Romney now stands on climate change? Is there any doubt left about what climate policy (that is to say, the lack thereof) would look like under Romney's administration (an administration whose electoral coattails will likely give the extremist Tea Partiers in the Republican Party control of the Senate as well as the House if Romney wins)?

Words fail me as I watch the video and listen to the 10-15 seconds of prolonged laughter from the crowd that interrupted Mitt Romney's joke. The line was callous, cowardly, breath-takingly cynical, and the exact people-vs.-planet dichotomy that is so patently absurd in the face of global environmental challenges that threaten people's wealth and health like never before.  But the uproarious response from the crowd was even worse. The Republican Party has thoroughly divorced itself from reality and from empathy for the least of these. 

Is the prospect of rising seas and the displacement of millions of people in America and around the world funny? Is the prospect of more intense wildfires funny, after the ones that hit Colorado this summer? Is more extreme drought funny, when farmers back in my home of West Tennessee are living in counties that were declared disaster areas by the federal government this summer due to drought, along with more than half the counties in the entire country

Let's give Mitt Romney our answer- Not now, and not ever.