The Oct. 23 Juneau Empire included a story about a Pew Research Center poll of 1,500 adults on global warming. The headline said, "Fewer believe in global warming."
Pew broke down the responses by political party. Three quarters of the Democrats said they believe that global warming is real and nearly half believe it is serious. Fifty-seven percent of the Republicans said there is no solid evidence of global warming. That's up from 31 percent in early 2007. (One can't help but wonder how many Republicans in Bethel doubt that climate change is real.)
The article goes on to say, "Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria, British Columbia professor, said politics could be drowning out scientific awareness." Evidence of global warming is in the news all the time, but what if your primary sources are right wing talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh? Visit their Web sites and look up "global warming." Limbaugh suggests to Andrew Revkin, a New York Times environment reporter, that he kill himself, and Beck is particularly fond of analogies to crack cocaine in reference to reports of climate change. Beck also says that every person who believes in climate change is a socialist. These men have millions of fans and appear to be the de facto leaders of the Republican Party.
Whether it is climate change or health care reform (see Rep. Shadegg's piece, which is also in the Oct. 23 paper), it seems that the Republican strategy is to create plenty of heat, but very little light. It does not appear to be a recipe for success. According to a recent Washington Post ABC Poll, only 20 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, the lowest number in 26 years. The party of Abraham "Honest Abe" Lincoln might do well to step back from the fringe.