Ringside Seat: You Sunk My Tea Party Ship

Liberals, not to mention the scientific community, often wonder just what it would take to get the conservatives who deny the evidence of climate change to finally acknowledge reality. If melting glaciers don't do it, and temperature data gathered from around the world doesn't do it, and the consensus of virtually all of the scientists who study the issue doesn't do it, what would?

Well, we may finally have our answer. As NPR recently reported, officials in Boston are worried about rising sea levels and future storms like Sandy, and are trying to figure out what they can do to protect themselves. That storm didn't hit Boston hard, but if a future one did, one of the first buildings to get flooded would be none other than the Tea Party Museum, which sits right on the harbor. Just imagine, the museum honoring the bit of anti-tax theater that to this day inspires seemingly sane people to don tricorner hats and shout about death panels, laid low by the effects of global warming. What could be worse?

Global environmental catastrophe could be worse, of course. And let's be realistic—the entire coast east of Cleveland will have to be underwater before some people will admit that we have a problem. We all have our biases, but denying the reality of climate change takes a special kind of mind, one willing to believe on the one hand that the U.S. government is incapable of properly building a road or insuring a patient or running a school, and on the other hand that there is a vast and ruthless conspiracy involving thousands of scientists, government officials, and advocates spread across the world to fool people into believing the planet is warming.

Because, after all, it snowed a couple of times this winter, so screw you, Al Gore.


So They Say

"You have a friend for life."

Dennis Rodman to Kim Jong Un  

Daily Meme: You Are the Weakest Link. Goodbye!

  • When it comes to friends, the rightest edge of the Republican Party's mindset most closely mimics that of a third-grader. One day's closest pals is the next day's worst enemies. Case in point: Chris Christie. 
  • You're a darling of the party advanced as a perfect presidential candidate, and then you make one angry jab at your fellow Republicans after they aren't too supportive after your state suffers a crisis and ...
  • BOOM. You're blacklisted from the year's hottest conservative bash. 
  • It gets worse. Christie also used Obamacare money to (gasp) expand Medicaid!
  • The Tea Party's response? Liberal jello blob Chris Christie thanks Obama by expanding Obamacare to NJ. #liberalsellout  #teaparty #tcot #tgdn #patriot #gop #liberty
  • But, Christie's like, whatever, I didn't even notice.
  • His constituents don't seem to have noticed either.
  • Liberals are baffled, kind of like they were over Jon Huntsman. 
  • Nate Silver thinks it's not that Chris Christie or conservatives have changed radically since 2012, but instead the issues that have become important for the party have shifted—and their issues where Garden State residents and hardcore Tea Partiers diverge wildly.
  • That doesn't mean Christie's national ambitions have gone kaput. He's holding a big fundraiser in Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. (we know, not the smartest place to prove your Republican cred).
  • Mitt Romney still seems to think Christie's just the right height (we know, also not the best endorsement), despite those conspiracy theorists who think natural disasters ruined their certain November electoral glory.
  • The real question at the end of this strange change of the future guard is whether Republicans will realize that all the politicians they worship are the ones who have public-approval ratings in the toilet. Last time we checked, no campaign manager ever suggested that as the route to electoral glory.

What We're Writing

  • Paul Waldman takes us on an enlightening tour of the U.S. government's budget, and despite the austerity rhetoric we've all been hearing recently, it looks like things are on more or less the same not-at-all a crisis track that they've always been. Know how we could provoke one? Sequester, sequester, sequester.
  • Bibi hasn't quite bested the opposition this time around, and he's having trouble finding enough cooperative Knesset ministers to form a government. He and his have taken the American Congress route to political crisis, debating chump change like the exact conscription guidelines while the West Bank is gearing up to get its intifada on.

What We're Reading

  • Congress made its first inroad into totally normal business that should have been taken care of in the first hours of the session by finally passing the Violence Against Women Act. With VAWA passed and Hagel approved, it looks Congress will finally be able to devote its full attention to evading the sequester ... you know, for all of tomorrow.
  • Texas has once again opted for the slapstick approach to protecting our children. During a training session to prepare teachers to carry weapons at school at all times, a pistol encountered a "mechanical malfunction" and shot a school employee in the leg. We bet that won't happen again (or at least more than 23,000 times a year).
  • Now that NASA doesn't have the money to make it to space anymore, its scientists have turned their attention to the situation on the ground, and a group of them are looking to make Los Angeles into the world's biggest climate lab (or find intelligent life born out of the smog).
  • Offshore farms should be the next step in harnessing the power of the wind, but a potent combination of Not in My Backyard folks, prohibitive costs, and the lack of a farm-building fleet stand in the way. 
  • Remarks in oral argument have us all convinced that Antonin Scalia and John Roberts are gunning for Section 5 of the VRA.
  • Bradley Manning went before the court today to make his pleas and explain why he leaked a number of files and documents to WikiLeaks. He first tried to go to the New York Times and the Washington Post, apparently, but both outlets rebuffed him.

Poll of the Day

Gallup has graced us with a poll that shows Americans are more in favor of foreign trade than they have been in a long while. Last year, 46 percent of us saw foreign trade as a threat; this year, 57 percent see it as an opportunity for economic growth. Americans' expectations for foreign commerce trend with their perceptions of their economic livelihood, so it looks like we at least think we're doing better.