Farm Offensive

By Bill Maher

President Obama recently took some under-reported unilateral action because Congress would not: He established regional "climate hubs" around the country as a resource to help farmers, ranchers, and rural communities adapt to the effects of climate change. The idea is to help rural people come up with real, workable solutions for all that's breaking loose in their world - increased risk of fire, invasive pests, floods, and droughts.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack put it this way: "Today, they face a new and more complex threat in the form of a changing and shifting climate, which impacts both our nation's forests and our farmers' bottom lines." Translation: Farmers can't wait around while the "needs more study" crowd figures out exactly how much more "overwhelming evidence" is needed before they're willing to believe.

Obviously, Congress would never be able to pass such a measure, and that's a shame in the literal sense of the word: Republicans ought to be ashamed that their increasingly insane devotion to the idea that climate change is some kind of a hoax makes them unable to help their real actual constituents with their real, actual problems.

And they are their constituents. It ought to be said Obama isn't pandering to his base here. Mitt Romney won 59 percent of the rural vote in 2012, and a pre-election poll of farmers and ranchers found that a whopping 78 percent of them intended to vote for Romney. Sure, the Republicans say that the farmers and ranchers' climate problems aren't happening, but they're good with things like protecting gun rights and protecting Christmas and generally having "shared values." 

When it comes to the imaginary issues, Republicans are still very, very strong.