Remember Bob Inglis? He was a conservative House Republican from South Carolina who got crushed in a GOP primary for being insufficiently radical. In fact, Inglis was recently humiliated in a GOP primary, losing by a ridiculous 42-point margin in a district he'd represented for more than a decade.
What precipitated such a defeat? Inglis expressed a willingness to work with Democrats on energy policy; he urged his constituents not to take Glenn Beck too seriously; and he said his main focus as a lawmaker was to find "solutions" to problems. In 2009, Inglis said the Republican Party has a chance "to understand we are all in need of some grace." The result: GOP voters turned on him.
Inglis is still involved in public affairs, however, and now believes his party will have no choice but to come around on climate change -- because the facts will "overwhelm" Republican resistance.
"What we have been doing so far is sort of shrinking in science denial and holding onto shaky ideology that really will be overwhelmed by the facts," the former GOP lawmaker said in an interview broadcast Sunday.
"You can hold back the facts only for so long and eventually they overwhelm you," Inglis said on Platts Energy Week TV. "I think that is happening on climate change. The science is pretty clear." [...]
"I think that eventually the champions of free enterprise, which is who conservatives are, who Republicans generally are, will rise to the occasion and come forward with real solutions here," he said. Inglis backs a "revenue-neutral" carbon tax under which taxes on emissions would be offset by reductions in other rates.
I don't doubt that Inglis' heart (and mind) are in the right place. Indeed, it's genuinely heartening to see a conservative Republican in the Deep South who not only cares about the climate crisis, but is serious about credible policy proposals to address the unfolding catastrophe.
But if Inglis is counting on facts to "overwhelm" Republicans, forcing them to take action, he has infinitely more faith in his former GOP colleagues' capacity for decency than I do.
As of now, the official Republican line varies, but it falls somewhere between "this'll work itself out somehow" and "climate science is a Marxist conspiracy to destroy the American way of life." Facts haven't even fazed GOP officials thus far -- the notion of these folks "rising to the occasion" is, at best, a pipe dream.