Slipping Through Romney’s Sandy Mitts

“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet … My promise is to help you and your family.” According to Mitt Romney, the two are mutually exclusive.

Back at the Republican National Convention, when climate change was only frightening as a topic for crummy John Cusack movies, or data trends and histograms — not the sort of media to speak to middle America … or Mitt Romney. While Obama was emphasizing the apparent rise in global temperatures and the consequences of human-generated climate change, speaking for scientists and researchers across the globe, Governor Romney was yucking it up, lampooning Obama’s severity. Romney seemed to quite earnestly believe that climate change was nothing more than mumbo-jumbo, fear tactics from the Left, and a good portion of America seemed to have bought the joke right along with him.

And suddenly a wild hurricane appeared.

Scenes of homes ripped from their foundations, the Brooklyn Bridge stood dark in the middle of the night without electricity and families hurriedly evacuating to safer climates riddled the media these past few weeks as climate-change skeptics met catastrophic imagery face to face. Granted, the majority of areas affected by the superstorm were not majority conservative regions, but the footage of absolute devastation gave serious credence to data that scientists have been waving around for decades. And in the wake of that devastation, Romney’s joke must leave a pretty bad taste in America’s mouth.

After all, how hollow is a promise to help families when the very thing endangering them is, for you, something to laugh at? If you don’t believe in stopping the “rising seas,” what right do you have to claim the title protector, especially when those seas threaten to swallow your very constituents?

Of course, the data was pretty hard to ignore before Hurricane Sandy, which, ironically enough, scientists have yet to directly attribute to human-generated climate change. Even before Sandy, 48 percent of Republicans reported that they believed global warming was due, at least in part, to humanity, yet Romney disagreed. Not only did he disagree, but he continues to flip flop (as usual) on his opinion on responses to natural disasters. Romney chose a running mate whose long-term budget plan calls for cuts to FEMA funding, yet the minute the public began praising Obama for the effectiveness of FEMA’s response, he claimed that FEMA should maintain its funding. There’s no knowing what kind of President Romney would be in the face of climate change affecting Americans, we’re not even sure Romney knows.

In spite of increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, measured global rises in temperature directly correlated with human energy consumption and the glaring melt occurring at the polar ice caps, Romney disagreed that there was much humanity could do about the issue.

Ryan Cady is a third-year cognitive psychology and English double major. He can be reached at rcady@uci.edu.
Sarah S. Menendez is a second-year political science and literary journalism double major. She can be reached at smenende@uci.edu.