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The explanation is obvious. While most Americans describe themselves as environmentalists, few consider the environment to be a high priority issue. Recent Gallup polls show that, when people are asked to rank issues in terms of importance, the environment usually fails to crack the top ten. Unlike most green activists, the public understands that we are not facing anything even approaching an environmental crisis. Thus, there is no need to put the issue on the front burner, or to jeopardize economic growth with costly new measures.
THE LESSON FOR BUSH ON environmental policy is clear — do what you believe is right, and don’t sweat the inevitable and predictable criticisms. There is no way to appease the green left, and it is unnecessary to try.
Furthermore, Bush could actually accomplish more for the environment by jettisoning the tired command-and-control approach favored by the environmental old-guard, and replacing it with more innovative and promising solutions.
But there is also a cautionary lesson Bush could learn from his father. Rather than follow Reagan’s lead, the elder Bush intentionally drew attention to green causes by calling himself “the environmental president.” He even tried to win over the green establishment with gifts like the massive 1990 rewrite of the Clean Air Act. Of course, this tactic garnered little if any new support and did not help him at all in the 1992 elections. And, more than a decade later, these 1990 amendments have proven to be a mixed bag, at best.
So far, Bush has taken environmental policy cues from both Reagan and his father. His steadfast refusal to support the problematic Kyoto Protocol is pure Reagan. But administration hints that it may employ alternative measures in order to “do something” about global warming sounds more like Bush 1. The President’s Healthy Forests Initiative, announced in the State of the Union Address, is a bold step forward to protect federally owned forests from the devastating fires experienced in recent summers. But administration support of the enviro-nonsense in the energy plan — tax breaks and subsidies for wind and solar energy, alternative car research, ethanol mandates — smacks of playing “me too” with old ideas that won’t help the environment and don’t deserve taxpayer money.
It is not yet clear which style will dominate in the next two years. But the sooner this administration recognizes that it will be branded anti-environment no matter what and stops wasting time playing the green appeasement game, the better its prospects for both a second term and an improved environmental policy.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online