Friday, July 11, 2014
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Mitt Romney's long hot summer

Mitt Romney's long hot summer

Things aren't really breaking Mitt Romney's way, are they? For one thing, his entire campaign is largely predicated on the economy being terrible. And let's be honest -- it's not great, especially for millions of long-term unemployed (who Republicans are trying to woo by cutting their benefits, but we digress...). But while we'll know better tomorrow, it does appear that moderate job growth is resuming and that Europe hasn't tanked the U.S. economy, at least not yet. And Romney's manic gyrations on health care suggest that this one time Rick Santorum may have been (gulp) right, that his "Romneycare" made him politically the worst candidate to challenge "Obamacare."

And now there's something else.

It's hot. You probably already knew that. It gets hot in the summer sometimes -- the hottest day in Philadelphia history happened way back in 1918 (the same year as a deadly influenza outbreak centered here and also World War I...a.k.a. "the good ol' days," but yet again I digress). That said, the seemingly unrelenting wave of record-high temperatures across the United States this year has to give one pause. When the 5-day forecast for St. Louis looks like what the weather is supposed to be in Las Vegas, it's understandable to think that something is up.

Scientists say that your suspicions are correct:

So far this year, more than 2.1 million acres (850,000 hectares) have burned in wildfires, more than 113 million people in the US were in areas under extreme heat advisories last Friday, two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, and earlier in June, deluges flooded Minnesota and Florida.

"This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level," said Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. "The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about."

Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in fire-charred Colorado, said these are the very record-breaking conditions he has said would happen, but many people wouldn't listen. So it's I told-you-so time, he said.

Of course, there are still going to be your hardcore climate change deniers out there, but I think recent events like the Colorado wildfires are causing a lot of the undecided folks to believe in man-made global warming. And that -- like just about everything else that's happened lately -- is not very good news for Mitt Romney. Not good news at all.

You see, Romney used to believe in human-induced climate change. And, like a lot of GOP governors in the Northeast, he supported sensible policies to do something about it. Then came the Tea Party revolution, and Romney's stop-at-nothing long march toward the Republican nomination. Suddenly, Romney believed that any human link to global warming was a lot of hot air. Except now that he's got the nomination, it appears that climate change is real, my friend.

And so Romney's political game of Twister (right foot, red!) has tied him in such a knot that there's no way to move without falling on his rear end. Sound familiar? It's Romneycare/Obamacare all over again. The former Massachusetts governor would have been so, so much better off if he had just stayed where he was, circa 2005 -- except for the problem that he never would have won the nomination in the radicalized GOP of the '10s (why don't we call it that, anyway?...another digression).

Meanwhile, here in Philly we're looking at 101 degrees in the shade. Mitt Romney better hope that this heat wave breaks...real, real soon. Or this long hot summer might burn down his White House dreams before the fall campaign even starts.

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Will Bunch
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