A SUCKER IS BORN EVERY MINUTE…. It’s been a rough winter in much of the country, even in Southern states like Texas that aren’t exactly known for their cold weather. Conditions were so difficult in the Lone Star State this week that many Texans had to endure rolling blackouts.
For the right, this apparently created an opportunity. Drudge touted a bizarre story that claimed the Texas blackouts were “a direct consequence of the Obama administration’s agenda to lay siege to the coal industry, launch a takeover of infrastructure under the contrived global warming scam, and help usher in the post-industrial collapse of America.” Limbaugh followed up, tying blackouts to the administration, and even Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), bought and paid for by Exxon Mobil, insisted the problems in Texas were the result of federal energy policies.
The story, such as it was, gained enough attention that the White House felt the need to explain that the right had simply made this garbage up out of whole cloth.
According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, these blackouts were actually the result of extreme cold temperatures and high winds, which led to a variety of mechanical failures at more than 50 power plants around the state.
Anytime communities experience major outages, it is a cause for concern, and major utilities and regulators are investigating steps that can be taken to decrease any weather related vulnerability of power generating plants in the state that, unlike their northern counterparts which experience extreme cold every winter, are often not designed to withstand such rare weather conditions.
Some are trying to blame these blackouts — which the industry has already provided explanation for — on Clean Air Act standards under consideration to curb dangerous pollution, including carbon pollution. While these claims gained traction on the internet, there is a major problem with this theory — no power plant in Texas has yet been required to do anything to control carbon pollution.
Yes, the right has decided to blame energy standards that don’t exist, and wouldn’t cause blackouts anyway. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer described the conservative reports as “unquestionably false.”
But because our politics can be so painfully stupid, it won’t matter to those inclined to believe nonsense. On Friday, “obama triggers blackouts” was the #1 “Hot Search” in America, according to Google.
The right knows the ignorant will believe whatever Limbaugh & Co. shovel in their direction, which in turn creates an incentive for them to lie more often. Our discourse spirals downward, on purpose, because conservatives find it easier than thinking.
This is why we can’t have nice things.