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Joan of Palin Leads the Republican War on Science

November 18, 2009

Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center published survey findings which revealed that only 6% of American scientists identify themselves as Republicans. There can be little doubt as to why conservatives are now an endangered species within the scientific community. From evolution and global warming to abortion and abstinence policies and so much more, the politicization of science has been an essential GOP strategy for decades. And as her book tour this week makes clear, Sarah Palin is now a leader in the Republican war on science.
At the heart of the GOP's cynical subservience to business interests and social conservatives alike has been one of the Republican Party's most destructive tactics, manufacturing uncertainty. To be sure Sarah Palin is not going rogue when it comes to that right-wing line on global warming.
Appearing on Rush Limbaugh's radio show Tuesday, the Quitta from Wasilla trotted all of the usual conservative sound bites about "shady science" and the "snake oil science" supposedly behind the worldwide consensus on climate change:

"It's kind of tough to figure out with the shady science right now, what are we supposed to be doing right now with our climate. Are we warming or are we cooling? I don't think Americans are even told anymore if it's global warming or just climate change. And I don't attribute all the changes to man's activities. I think that this is, in a lot of respects, cyclical and the earth does cool and it warms."

For the Republican faithful, Sarah Palin has yet to rival Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe's proclamation that global warming is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" and his one-man campaign to undermine the upcoming climate conference in Copenhagen. But no doubt, she's on her way.
As it turns out, Joan of Palin heard God's call if not the lessons of science when it comes to evolution. Eager to lead the growing band of Republican White House hopefuls embracing creationism to please the GOP's religious right primary voters in Iowa and South Carolina, Palin in her memoir even tries to top Mike Huckabee in espousing faith-based politics. As the New York Times noted of her book:

Elsewhere in this volume, she talks about creationism, saying she "didn't believe in the theory that human beings - thinking, loving beings - originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea" or from "monkeys who eventually swung down from the trees." In everything that happens to her, from meeting Todd to her selection by Mr. McCain for the Republican ticket, she sees the hand of God: "My life is in His hands. I encourage readers to do what I did many years ago, invite Him in to take over."

To be sure, Governor Palin gave Him credit for matters large and small. The Iraq war was "a task that is from God." The trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline she championed, Palin told an audience at a Wasilla church, was divinely inspired:

"God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that."

Sadly, vice presidential candidate apparently wasn't listening during the 2008 campaign when He told her how much energy Alaska actually produced.
And so it goes. In her crusade to evict the scientific invaders from her nation, Sarah Palin is rapidly emerging as the Joan of Arc of the Republican Party.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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