Their efforts over many years, to deny and undermine science and other forms of reality-based analysis, have paid dividends for them up till now. They have managed to keep oil and coal tax breaks and subsidies. They have postponed or crushed most real efforts to address climate change. They have driven the national political discourse and media coverage to the fictitious debate over whether climate change is real or not, and away from educating the public and discussing the steps that we need to take to stop the headlong rush to climate disaster.
And they have continued to reap excess profits from the fossil fuel economy, at the expense of our health and our future.
But they do have a growing problem with reality. The most recent report shows carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere at their highest level since the start of the industrial age, and still rising. All of us are feeling the results of the growing climate crisis.
You can't filibuster Mother Nature. You can't negotiate with the atmosphere. No legislative body can repeal the laws of physics. And well-funded public relations smokescreens can't delay the consequences of global warming, which are upon us.
Right-wing propaganda can't hide the impacts of increasing extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy. It can't obscure the massive areas of our country suffering from long-term drought. It can't hide the effects on the budgets of working people from increasingly costly water, gas, electricity, heating and air conditioning, food, insurance, etc.
The well-known "liberal bias" of reality is convincing tens of millions that climate change is real, its impact is already affecting us, and we need to take emergency measures to address it more broadly.
In a recent press conference, President Obama observed, correctly, that there isn't currently the political will to tackle climate change across the board. While he has an important leadership role on this as well as other issues, it is up to all of us to create that political will.
And in reality, we have a powerful ally.
Photo: There are no trees, alive or dead, in a large portion of Tannenbaum Acres in Wisconsin. The high temperatures and record drought of last summer wreaked havoc on the farm. Mark Utzig paced the rows where spring growth should be saying, "normally we lose 5% of the trees for various reasons. This year, it was 95%." Mark Kauzlarich/The Janesville Gazette/AP