The GOP's Climate Problem

Despite The Washington Post's belief that climate change is a risky issue for Democrats, Politico takes a look at some polling from Whit Ayres that shows exactly what you'd think -- being totally in hock to the fossil fuel industry at a time of growing concern about climate change is risky for Republicans. In particular, this is a problem:

Republicans are split in three camps: a small but vocal group who think global warming is basically a hoax (26 percent of GOP voters in the Ayres poll said it does not exist); a big group that includes GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani who agree the Earth is warming but are reluctant to embrace plans opposed by business or viewed as burdensome government regulation; and a growing number who are pushing for specific, market-based solutions now.

The campaign to convince people that global warming is a hoax was a big asset for a while, but now it's a problem. The hardest-core members of the Republican base -- the same people pushing for a policy of perpetual war -- are true believers on this point, which makes it difficult for GOP politicians to push for action. That leaves would-be Republican presidents like Giuliani and Romney stuck with the nonsensical position that catastrophic climate change is on the way and we ought to do nothing about it, since proposing a solution would offend key corporate backers and also this largish bloc of voters who accept the hoax theory.