UPDATE: Rachel Maddow took note of Art Robinson’s elevation last night. I have a feeling that these events will not slip through the media cracks between now and the midterm election:
ORIGINAL POST: Art Robinson was elected Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party on Saturday. As Rachel Maddow reported almost three years ago, Robinson denies that the HIV virus is responsible for AIDS. Amazingly, Robinson actually agreed to appear on her show and discuss his views on science and policy. But things degenerated somewhat as soon as he started talking:
Oregon political observers say that Robinson has a long-running, well-known penchant for denialism and paranoid, tinfoil hat conspiracy theories. In 2011, Robinson went public with a bizarre charge that Oregon State University professors were conspiring against his children:
“Since Mr. Robinson began making these claims last fall, university leadership has had ample opportunity to look into them through the Office of the Provost, the Graduate School and the Office of the Dean of the College of Engineering, and can say, categorically, that the allegations and attacks are unfounded and without merit,” said OSU communication officials in the statement.
Robinson also maintained “Access To Energy,” a long-running crackpot newsletter, for many years. According to longtime observers, Robinson has apparently deleted the most embarrassing articles there, but remaining content includes this icky glorification of nuclear energy:
In the Chernobyl accident, too, we pointed out that in its short life of 25 months, Chernobyl Unit 4 saved more lives from coal-fired pollution than it took, or will ever take, by radiation. And we gave the reasons why the Soviets did not even bother to dilute contaminated wheat with grain from elsewhere. “A little cesium and strontium gave the Russians a more varied diet; for unlike Markey, Solarz, Schroeder and the other antinuclear breast beaters in Congress, the Soviets care only about visible deaths.”
A new poll has found that senior citizens, ordinarily the most reliable demographic for Republicans, are suddenly abandoning the party to its extremists and malcontents. As we get closer to the midterm election, expect more state and local GOP organizations to be chaired by people like Robinson. His many years of regurgitating corporate propaganda and arguing with rational people make him the perfect “grassroots” lunatic to lead a movement that seems determined to march towards the fringe.