Forecasting storms is hard. It’s much easier to predict what will be said following whatever devastation results from Hurricane Irene. Nothing gets the loudmouths, the rhetorical bomb throwers and religious extremists to crawl out of their holes quite like a disaster taking aim on the United States. So without further ado, here are five predictions of what we'll be hearing in the coming days.
1) Someone will claim Irene is a direct result of global warming
To be clear, I am a card-carrying member of the global warming is real and human-caused committee. Still, I know a fellow member of the committee will go to the airwaves in the coming days and justify massive global action to thwart off future hurricanes. Maybe the hurricane is a result of human activity. That being said, it’s always a stretch to say that a single weather event is the direct result of a warming planet. Drawing a line connecting global warming to Irene is just too hard to prove and gives ammunition the loudmouth anti-science gang, which brings us to my second prediction.
2) Rush Limbaugh will use Irene to attack the global warming crowd
When a heatwave gripped much of the United States this summer, Limbaugh went on the air saying the heat index is a conspiracy concocted by the liberal media. After the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Limbaugh laughed at the destruction caused to electric cars. And let’s not forget Limbaugh’s request that a climate change reporter kill himself to save the planet. So with a huge hurricane about to strike every so-called liberal East Coast population center, expect Limbaugh to strike shortly after.
3) A religious extremist will say Irene is punishment for ‘bad behavior’
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks, Americans were looking for answers to why such a terrible attack would happen on our soil. Unfortunately, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell were both asking those same questions, and even more unfortunately both of the evangelical leaders decided to answer those rhetorical questions. Fallwell blamed the attacks on the “pagans, and the feminists and the gays and lesbians” saying that, “you helped this happen.” Robertson replied to Falwell saying, “I totally concur.” Now I am not sure who will bring the hate following a potential disaster, but I am fairly positive it will come.
4) Someone will blame Obama
This is probably the easiest of all the predictions. Natural disasters can be political disasters. One false quote (see: George W. Bush’s “You’re doing a hell of a job, Brownie” comment), one false wardrobe choice (see: Michael Dukakis' sweater) and one prolonged salvage operation (see: BP oil spill) and a political career can be over with. President Obama’s critics already have the president on the ropes with a sluggish economy while he was comfortably on vacation. Will they be able to resist attacking him while Irene attacks the East Coast?