Rep. Lamar Smith (Texas) and vocal Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) published an opinion piece in Politico Magazine recently that defended the GOP’s scrutiny of what they believe is wasteful science spending.
They claim their party still believes in smart science investments but that the taxpayers can ill-afford to keep funding projects like a “climate change-themed musical ($700,000) or an investigation of tea party activity on social media ($919,000) or to study bicycle designs ($300,000).”
The article goes on to list more instances when Congress grilled the National Science Foundation for questionable grants.
While they make valid points, they skirt the issue of the scientific ideology that plagues their party. They’re using this straw-man argument to hide the fact that most of their party denies climate change and take many other pseudoskeptical science seriously too.
Now that both chambers have Republican majorities, they also control the congressional committees, meaning someone who wrote a climate denial book can head the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, such as Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.), who was once quoted as saying:
“My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”
Rep. Paul Broun (Ga.), member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, had this to say:
Should the National Science Foundation use public funds to ask if Turkish women wear veils out of fashion sense? Probably not, but doesn’t the bigger issue here seem to be the constant science denial and toxic claims that have mostly been debunked?
After their 2012 presidential defeat, the GOP talked about a re-branding. If they are looking for youth votes and investments in a cleaner and more intelligent future, maybe it’s time to take these people off these important committees and quell the toxic ideologies within the party.
You don’t put a fox in charge of a hen-house, nobody would think to place Mahatma Gandhi on a pro-war committee, and America could never possibly allow people who are anti-science to be on science committees at a time of a climate crisis and a lack of STEM in school and our workforce, right?
[Politico] [Think Progress] [Washington Post]