Ed, I won't get into the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street here but on the issue of Romney, Gingrich, climate and weather...
I'm not aware of any substantive reason why Romney and Gingrich backed away from their support for climate regulation,as recently as 2008. Since then, there's been more, not less, science supporting global warming. More business support for regulation. Yes, I am speculating about the fact that they have changed their views for political reasons, ie, to pander to the know-nothing types, but I have yet to hear an alternative explanation.
Re climate and weather, while I believe it's probably a mistaken to try to tie any single weather event to the impact of climate change, many scientists believe that the increases in the number of extreme weather events is a result of climate change. This is from the 2007 IPCC report and I view the IPCC as conservative in its approach to the issue.
Since 1950, the number of heat waves has increased and widespread increases have occurred in the numbers of warm nights. The extent of regions affected by droughts has also increased as precipitation over land has marginally decreased while evaporation has increased due to warmer conditions. Generally, numbers of heavy daily precipitation events that lead to flooding have increased, but not everywhere. Tropical storm and hurricane frequencies vary considerably from year to year, but evidence suggests substantial increases in intensity and duration since the 1970s.In the extratropics, variations in tracks and intensity of storms reflect variations in major features of the atmospheric circulation, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation.
I don't claim to be an expert on the science, but I have spent time with climate scientists at NCAR and elsewhere and I have been impressed with their dedication and respect for the evidence. They are deeply concerned about the way the debate in the US is stuck, and we all should be too.