Remember, in 2008, when most Republican presidential candidates were at least willing to concede that climate change was real? When the GOP presidential ticket not only wanted to combat global warming but also presented a cap-and-trade plan? Those were good times.

They’re also long gone. Here’s Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), campaigning in New Hampshire this morning, sharing his vision of an international climate change conspiracy.

YouTube video

For those who can’t watch videos online, the GOP presidential candidate argued, “I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data, so that they will have dollars rolling into their, to their projects. I think we’re seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists who are coming forward and questioning, the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.

“Yes, our climate’s changed, they’ve been changing for ever-ever since the earth was formed, but I do not buy into that uh, a group of scientists, who have in some cases found to be manipulating this information and the cost to the country and to the world of implementing these uh, uh anti-carbon programs is in the billions if not trillions of dollars at the end of the, of the day, and I don’t think from my perspective I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven, and from my perspective is more and more being put into question.”

Even for Republicans, this is pretty nutty stuff. I’d expect Perry to say something like, “We can’t say for sure why the climate is changing,” or maybe go with a Romney/Huntsman line such as, “Dealing with this issue would hurt businesses, so we can’t afford it right now.”

But, no. This guy believes the entire scientific field and all of the climate data collected around the globe is all part of a money-grubbing conspiracy. What’s more, in Perry’s imagination, scientists who don’t exist are constantly coming forward to endorse the far-right line.

In case there are any doubts, everything Perry said is wrong.

Granted, I shouldn’t be too surprised. Perry did write a book not too long ago that argued “we have been experiencing a cooling trend,” which, again, doesn’t exist.

But there’s just something striking about watching the guy repeat the nonsense in public. This isn’t just routine right-wing palaver; this is Bachmann-level garbage.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.