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Paul Waldman notes that only a few years ago most of today’s crop of Republican presidential wannabes were willing to admit that global warming was a serious problem. But then:

Over the last couple of years, climate change went from something Republicans acknowledged was happening and were willing to do something about, to something they acknowledged was happening but weren’t really willing to do anything about, to something that they refuse to acknowledge is happening. That has now become the orthodox Republican position.

The line in the story about Al Gore shows why this has happened. Hating liberals was always important to conservatives, but of late, it has become the central organizing principle of American conservatism. If Al Gore thinks climate change is a threat, you can’t be a real Republican unless you deny it. If liberals like NPR, it must be destroyed. If liberals favor net neutrality, it must be a communist plot.

I’ve never bought this. Conservatives have opposed public broadcasting pretty much forever, right? As for climate change denialism and opposition to net neutrality, they basically belong in the category of “let corporations do anything they want.” This has been a Republican totem for a long time too.

Modern conservatives have a few simple guiding principles. Keep taxes on rich people low. Let corporations do whatever they want. Toe the Christian right line on social issues and the NRA line on gun issues. Support military action overseas if a Republican president proposes it. Oppose spending on poor people.

This explains about 90% of what you need to know. Pissing off liberals is a nice side benefit, but you really don’t need it to explain Republican positions.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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