I’m a Republican that Agrees with President Obama on Climate

January 30, 2014

Rev. Mitch Hescox in Patheos:

President Obama got it exactly right last night at the beginning of his State of the Union address when he said it is the hard-working citizens of our great nation that make the state of our Union strong, and that the United States is the best positioned country in the world to succeed in the 21st Century.

This is in spite of divisions within our great nation that continue to hold us back from achieving our full potential.

Social scientist Robert Putnam, of “bowling alone” fame, and his colleagues have done extensive research on the current attitudes and values of Americans.  They have confirmed what many of us know in our gut: the greatest thing that divides us today is politics or political ideology – not religion, not race, the two main things that divided us in our fairly recent past.  As Putnam said in a 2010 interview about his book, American Grace, “the underlying division [in America today] is not actually mostly about religion. It’s mostly about politics.”

And as a Pew poll just found, at the heart of this divide is protecting the environment: 65% of Democrats consider it a top priority, but only 28% of Republicans do – a yawning gulch of 37 points.

Huffington Post:

Gallup headlined on 28 January 2014,“Democrats and Republicans Differ on Top Priorities,” and reported that the biggest difference between supporters of the two Parties concerned “The environment,” where 71% of Democrats said it’s important to them, versus only 32% of Republicans who did: a whopping difference of 39%, between the two Parties, considered that issue to be important. The second-biggest difference was on “The distribution of income and wealth”: 72% of Democrats, versus only 38% of Republicans – a 34% difference. Third came “Poverty and homelessness”: 82% of Democrats, versus 53% of Republicans – a 29% difference. Fourth came “Education”: 91% of Democrats, versus 70% of Republicans – a 21% difference.

Here were the four issues on the conservative end, the four issues where Republicans scored the largest amount higher (more concerned) than Democrats: First, “The military and national defense”: 76% of Republicans, versus 61% of Democrats – a 15% difference – considered that issue to be important. Second, “Taxes”: 69% of Republicans, versus 56% of Democrats – a 13% difference. Third, “Terrorism”: 77% of Republicans, versus 68% of Democrats – a 9% difference. Fourth, “Government surveillance of U.S. citizens”: 45% of Republicans, versus 37% of Democrats – an 8% difference (but if the President had been a Republican, Democrats might have been more concerned about that issue than Republicans would have been).

Rev. Mitch Hescox in Patheos:

 And in the area where currently division runs deepest, protecting the environment and addressing global warming, I find myself agreeing with President Obama that our country must take strong action to reduce pollution from fossil fuels that fouls our air, makes our water impure, and helps to create one of the greatest threats to our children’s future, climate change.

I would prefer that Congress pass a law that puts a price on carbon, thereby unleashing the innovation of the marketplace to create a clean energy future.  But time is short, and absent that, I support the President’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution by using the Clean Air Act as mentioned in last night’s address.

As the Pew poll indicates, my support for the President’s leadership on climate change makes me a bit out of step with many of my fellow Republicans.  But my pro-environment stance is actually in keeping with our strong Republican heritage of environmental protection:

  • Teddy Roosevelt is the greatest conservationist our country has ever had.
  • Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency and signed the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act.
  • Ronald Reagan pushed to make the Montreal Protocol stronger and then secured its ratification by the Senate – the first and only international treaty on atmospheric pollutants, in this case pollution that makes the ozone hole bigger, leading to skin cancer.
  • George H. W. Bush signed the 1990 Clean Air Act, making it stronger as it went through the legislative process.

Unfortunately, today everyone is so afraid in his or her own ideology, we refuse to have reasonable dialogue and work toward the common ground these Republican Presidents found.

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2 Responses to “I’m a Republican that Agrees with President Obama on Climate”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    “the United States is the best positioned country in the world to succeed in the 21st Century.”

    He lost me right there.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Yeah, me too, and it’s not “in spite of” but BECAUSE OF “divisions within our great nation that continue to hold us back from achieving our full potential”. AKA “right wing craziness that puts narrow ideology ahead of the greater good”. Undo the damage that the Repugnants have done to the country over the past 30+ years and the U.S. might actually “succeed” again.


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