Voters Cognitive Dissonance

According to recent polls, a majority of Americans believe global warming is a matter of concern, primarily human-induced, and deserving of prompt attention.

An overwhelming number of Democrats and nearly half of all Republicans are estimated to fit the aforementioned mold. Hence, it's a safe bet that plenty of them were part of the citizen coalition that just voted to give the Republican Party control of both houses of Congress.

One must then ask why these global warming believers voted against their own self-interest by installing politicians with opposing views? The Republican Party's prevailing policy fluctuates between skepticism that global warming is a legitimate concern to doubt that it even exists. Most GOP lawmakers summarily dismiss a scientific consensus' warnings as nothing more than self-promotion.

Skillful Republican propaganda was able to exploit an economically stressed electorate's discontent at Washington gridlock by shifting the blame totally to President Obama. That much of his environmental agenda is supported by a majority of the American people was eclipsed by the widespread public frustration with Washington's ineptitude.

Republicans were aided in wooing the votes of global warming believers by the gradual incremental nature of climate change, which lends itself to complacency and procrastination. In addition, voters concerned about global warming but supportive of Republican candidates appeared to be either too upset and/or uninformed to think through the consequences of their action. Among the unintended consequences is the virtual certainty that a senator who believes global warming is a Left Wing hoax will be chairman of the powerful Senate Environment Committee. That senator is James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who also thinks federal government regulatory efforts to protect the environment and public health amount to gigantic overreach.

Another consequence of the election: the incoming Republican congressional leadership is considering as one of its first orders of business to roll back major Obama environmental protection initiatives. Also a top priority is approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would generate less than 100 permanent jobs while transporting extremely toxic oil over our prairie states' precious underground water supply. In addition, the pipeline would be a major setback for coping with climate change, as the level of greenhouse gas emissions would rise dramatically.

Despite their brave talk during the mid-term campaign, Republican lawmakers seem to be planning pitifully little at the onset to meet voters' principle demands for greater job creation and an end to wage stagnation. There has been no GOP mention of assigning top priority to labor-intensive public infrastructure programs to repair our crumbling roads and bridges. Hardly a word has been uttered about increasing subsidies for clean, renewable energy that has the capacity to create more jobs than the fossil fuel industry.

By contrast, Republican members of Congress have not been shy about openly discussing the options for impeaching President Obama.

If the new GOP leadership debuts by substituting a crusade against environmental protection and Obama for jumpstarting the economy, it won't be too long before many voters experience buyer's remorse.