In an interview with ABC’s This Week GOP 2012 candidate Jon Huntsman took his fellow Republicans to task for becoming the anti-science party.
Here is the transcript from ABC News:
TAPPER: This was a big week for Texas Governor Rick Perry. He went out on the campaign trail and he raised a lot of eyebrows. He made some comments about evolution and he said this about climate change.
PERRY: “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. I don’t think, from my perspective, that I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven, and from my perspective, is more and more being put into question.”
TAPPER: These comments from Governor Perry prompted you to Tweet, quote: “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” Were you just being cheeky or do you think there’s a serious problem with what Governor Perry said?
HUNTSMAN: I think there’s a serious problem. The minute that the Republican Party becomes the party – the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012. When we take a position that isn’t willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science – Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man’s contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position.
The Republican Party has to remember that we’re drawing from traditions that go back as far as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, President Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Bush. And we’ve got a lot of traditions to draw upon. But I can’t remember a time in our history where we actually were willing to shun science and become a – a party that – that was antithetical to science. I’m not sure that’s good for our future and it’s not a winning formula.
Huntsman is fighting for the moderate wing of the Republican Party, but as his standing in the polls illustrates, the moderates have already been forced to evacuate the GOP. Huntsman is trying to send a warning to his party that they are out of step with the rest of America. The GOP’s has embraced the anti-science positions of the religious right to such a degree that they have become part of the party platform, but the religious right is just one side of the Republican anti-science triangle.
The second side is corporate America. Republicans have shown themselves to be more than willing to discredit the scientific proof of climate change. They do so because they have been told that taking action on climate change will hurt the bottom lines of their energy industry benefactors. This is where the Republican corporate interests and the religious right intersect. Using God as an excuse to reject the science appeals to the evangelical constituency, and also protects the corporate interests.
The final side of the triangle is anti-intellectualism. It isn’t that today’s Republican Party has no ideas, but it is that the extreme right’s distrust of science and facts has changed basis for the new GOP’s ideas. As Richard Posner wrote in May of 2009, “My theme is the intellectual decline of conservatism, and it is notable that the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings. That the policies are weak in conception, have largely failed in execution, and are political flops is therefore unsurprising.”
The rejection of science that Huntsman was talking about is based on ideology and religion. There isn’t a weaker policy basis out there than the one Republicans use to oppose any action on climate change. When a party is led by its religion, corporate ideology and anti-intellectualism, people like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry become the frontrunners.
This is also how Jon Huntsman has ended up being at the bottom of the polls. Huntsman would be a great General Election candidate for the Republicans, but since he won’t pander to the Evangelicals and anti-intellectuals, he is destined for many poor finishes. Jon Huntsman, like many other moderate Republicans, is still holding on to a Republican Party that doesn’t exist anymore. There aren’t any more Rockefeller or Dole Republicans. Heck, there aren’t even any more George H.W. Bush Republicans.
There isn’t any room in the GOP anymore for a pro-science Republican, even such a person would fit into mainstream America. If the GOP nominates a scream it from the mountaintops climate change denying creationist, Obama will win reelection. Jon Huntsman knows this. Republican strategists also know this, but the people who are going to head to the polls to choose their party’s 2012 nominee don’t care.
Congratulations, Jon Huntsman on having the courage to call out the GOP’s anti-science malarkey. I hope you enjoy your future political life as Independent Just like all the other intellectual Republicans you are about to be ostracized from the party.