March 08, 2007
Last Post on Green Republicans...Really

An email I received recently about my original post concerning Republicans & environmental issues has become fodder for David Postman as well.

Perhaps I was too glib in my opening gambit at the first post, maybe I didn't articulate my point clearly, or it's possible my comments are being misread. Either way, the tone of the email in question from Todd Myers implies a certain amount of disagreement, as indicated in Postman's coverage. Yet, I actually agree with most of what Myers said and consider it largely compatible to my own thinking.

Including this part Postman quoted:

Some Republicans and conservatives fear that addressing the environment means they must support the government-run, anti-freedom agenda of environmental activists. Many conservatives are working on real solutions that address environmental concerns. Many more will do so when we stop looking to liberals as the standard for environmental purity.

All true. Before that point, Myers also said this:

Conservatives are rightly skeptical of liberal approaches to the environment that consist mostly of government bureaucracy and dogmatic press conferences. Meanwhile, their programs do little for the environment while reducing freedom and hurting the economy...

I agree here as well, which was one of the key points of my originally raising the issue (and again in the follow-up post)...or so I thought. Thus, my mention in the first post of Governor Sanford's op-ed and Mitt Romney's related support, whose positions in support of conservation while rejecting the radical proposals of environmentalists mirrors my own. I contrasted that with John McCain's "me-too" approach of embracing global warming and supporting aggressive action whose environmental benefits are questionable, but whose economic harm is certain.

Consequently, I was perplexed when Myers said, "Looking to those across the aisle for approval, however, is a strange standard." Indeed, such a standard would be exceptionally foolish. Republicans who have pursued such a strategy, intentionally or not, have not been embraced by their fellow Republicans (see Dan Evans, Ralph Munro, Fred Jarrett, etc.). In contrast for example, my own thoughts on global warming and related "solutions" will not soon earn me many an embrace from Democrats.

My original concern remains that a vacuum exists between different extremes of the Republican party. On one side are Republicans like Evans, Munro, or McCain, lauded for essentially adopting the position of Democrats and environmentalists. On the other, are arch-conservatives like those seen in the comments at the original post (as also noted by Postman) whose first response is to go apoplectic against those opposing their point of view, and whose loathing of environmentalists and environmentalism seems to permeate their discourse on such topics.

Myers points out a few folks who could fit the bill of the local conservative, conservationist spokesperson I seek. Doug Sutherland is one. A good choice, except by definition of his position as Commissioner of Public Lands is not engaged in a number of key environmental debates, as I noted in the "Update" at the original post.

Dave Reichert is another, as commenters at both of my previous posts raised as well. Yet, Reichert has consistently voted against new energy exploration in the United States. Such exploration is an essential bridge between the economy of today and the technologies of the future that might make us less dependent on oil and natural gas. That position is an key component of the conservative conservationist, supportive of conserving the environment, but sensitive to economic reality as well. Reichert simply doesn't fit the bill.

Perhaps I'm being too idealistic in hoping for such a spokesperson to emerge from prominent local, elected officials. It seems a pity Republicans continue to be viewed so negatively by the public on the environment when many do have something to offer on the topic, they just don't seem to do a good job of talking about it.

Either way, Myers and I will be sitting down in the near future to discuss this further. He's a good fellow, and I suspect we'll agree on much. It just still seems tiresome to me Republicans have let themselves as an aggregate body get to a point where Democrats so clearly control the rhetorical debate on an issue that remains in the top tier of concerns for citizens in the Puget Sound region.

Posted by Eric Earling at March 08, 2007 07:52 AM | Email This
1. Eric.
Your quest is a noble but futile one.
Republicans have made virtually no contribution to the environmental/conservation movement of the past 50 years EXCEPT to tone it down (which may or may not have been a good thing depending on one's perspective).
Putting it another way, their posture has always been reactionary (in the technical sense.) For example both Shoreline Management and Growth Management as they exist today are the laws proposed by Republican-controlled legislatures (correct me if I am wrong) as RESPONSE to citizen initiatives.
In fact one could argue that they are better laws (I don't do so but it is not an unreasonable position.)
But the larger point is that Republicans have NOT lead but have delayed and prevaricated and opposed and ONLY responded. There is no recent tradition of Republican environmentalism.

Posted by: David Sucher on March 8, 2007 08:36 AM
2. Eric, Postman is not your friend.

David, environmentalism has been passe for a long time and only within the past 4-5 years has it resurfaced. Before that, the only advocates were the whackos advocating going back to outhouses and adopting the extreme Islamic view of going back to the 3rd century technology.

Even now, the whack job extremists of one issue or another find comfort in the emotional and feel good embrace of the Democratic party. To be honest, I haven't seen a whole lot of environmentalism from the party either.

So, I don't know what an R can do to be an "environmentalist" embraced by those associated with one political party or another.

You know, there are other stereotypes of R v. D that really don't apply anymore, if they ever did. Corporate welfare, for example, is as much Democrat as it is Republican. Funding for campaigns by major corporations is not so one-sided as you would think.

I really think this discussion would be better with a generic discussion of stereotypes and then followed with a discussion of each of those stereotypes, including "the environment".

BTW, I just installed a geothermal heat pump, so that must make me cool and environmental? At least that is what the master illusionists in Hollywood would say. Actually, it just means I had enough money (it costs a bundle more) to purchase it at time of construction; it wasn't necessarily "environmental" as I hate paying power bills. Yeah, it was part environmental but costs had something to do with it, too.

Posted by: swatter on March 8, 2007 09:05 AM
3. Growth Management as they exist today are the laws proposed by Republican-controlled legislatures (correct me if I am wrong)

Absolutely not. GMA is Joe King's baby, with a healthy assist from Busse Nutley. 100 percent Democrat legacy.

And GMA is less about conserving the environment and more about social engineering.

While one could argue about the initial intentions of SMA and GMA, it's how they've been implemented that matters. And they've been implemented with a heavy, bureaucratic, Democrat hand. One has to be reactionary to it or else they get rolled without so much as a whimper.

Posted by: jimg on March 8, 2007 09:29 AM
4. Eric, The trouble is that you are conflating ideas.

Environmentalism is not about pollution control, moderate government regulation, reasonable energy conservation, good stewardhsip of land, etc. Those are all obvious, practical, beneficial and frankly greedy positives that no sane person would argue against.

Environmentalism is a Marxist movement that is about wresting control from the individual. And then giving in to the bureaucracy that will determine what the current "crisis" is and why it then justifies class warfare, and redistribution.

As such, any sensible libertarian, moderate or any other shade of conservative should vehemently oppose environmentlism and favor a completely different rhetoric that simply speaks to addressing real issues in a practical way, whatever they may be. It's not necessary to speak in the dialogue of the Marxists, and in fact, in many ways, shifting to their doublespeak only legitimizes their false ideas.

That's why, you are wrong to label those of us who see no value in "Green Republicans" as arch conservatives, or whatever else you've now managed to come up with as you've thoroughly twisted yourself into a pretzel of walk-back.

What we want, are Republicans that speak to individual ideas, and not to politically correct, or otherwise fashionable terminology in a pitiful move to appease their majority peers across the aisle.

If we are going to whine about oil, etc. then lets see some alternatives that are capable of supplying our energy needs. And let's here about them as positive standalong solutions, and not pandering to environmentalists in hopes of appeasing one head of the Leftist hydra.

Posted by: Jeff B. on March 8, 2007 09:46 AM
5. I really should spell check before I post. ;-)

Posted by: Jeff B. on March 8, 2007 09:48 AM
6. I'm tired of ONLY the left redefining issues and having the sheep buy into their definitions.

It's about time WE defined an issue and we need to begin by using the word CONSERVATION rather than environmentalism.

Furthermore, CONSERVATION better describes our philosophy toward the resources that have been entrusted to us.

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskjold on March 8, 2007 10:00 AM
7. And was this the same Joe King that admitted to a large donor when he made a run at governor that Growth Management Act was a huge mistake the way it was implemented? Yes, it was.

Posted by: swatter on March 8, 2007 10:04 AM
8. Sorry, but once you mention "environment" you've already ceded your arguments to the Libs. I think Dave Reichert is absolutely right about not "promoting" domestic exploration -- that's a job for business which will respond to market pressure. You cannot have Government going around willy nilly, Al Gore style, dictating this or that fix. Companies can, have and will respond. Take the Alberta Tar Sands project, for example. Suncor stock soared, they built a city in the tundra and their making profit from a vast new oil source. It's not US soil, but Canada is as close as it gets, and it's got enough for us to use for the next 500 years.

The best environmental policy I can think of is the "Nature Conservancy". If you want to have lands preserved, do what rich people do, get your money together and BUY them. Then you can have dominion over these lands and do whatever you want, including nothing.

It was like at college, I always told the "radicals" that if they wanted to change Shell Oil, then go get a job, buy their stock and own it. My guess is that if they ever did, they would see its policies are for the best.

Posted by: John Bailo on March 8, 2007 10:16 AM
9. "Conservationist Republican" works better for me. To go along with the comment about Environmentalism being more about Marxism than the environment is true. I'm reminded of the radio host who calls environmentalists " on the outside, red on the inside, socialists in drag." It's a great line.

Posted by: David G on March 8, 2007 10:19 AM
10. Swatter at #2 and Jeff B. at #4 make some important valid points.

"Environmentalism" is not the same thing as actual policies that actually protect and improve the environment. Some liberals, some Democrats, and some leftists paint the issue as "in favor of a good environment" or "opposed to a good environment." That is a false framing of the issue.

At its foundation, what we have is a political and philosophical dispute, a political and philosophical difference. There are two competing and contrasting philosophical views on the role of government and on fiscal responsibility.

"Environmentalism" is a particular (I believe incorrect, counter-productive, and harmful) approach to the issues. Conservatives have a different policy, a different solution, a different understanding of individual rights, the limited role of government, the protection of private property rights, the power of personal responsibility, and the primacy of the free market in bringing to the fore actual solutions and actual improvements.

Rather than accept the framework, terminology, and assumptions of the "environmentalists" (echoed by the mainstream media, leftist acamdemics, and liberal politicians), we should contrast our answers to theirs.

We should not seek to "sound like" Greens, socialists, or Democrats, but to offer our alternative. The issue is not merely decreasing pollution or developing energy alternatives, but (more important) offering an overall political philosophy and approach to government that points to the best way to deal with ALL important issues (not just conservation, energy, and pollution).

Posted by: Steve Beren on March 8, 2007 10:38 AM
11. Check this out

Climate is big issue for U.S. hunters, anglers


Professional hunters have also detected climate-related changes that affect their trade.

"The past season was a bad one for goose hunting ... I would say the clients only got about 40 percent of what they usually get," said Corey Marchbank, a goose hunting guide in the eastern Canadian province of Prince Edward Island."

They are all over Weastern Washington, where they never were untill about twenty five years ago. The geese and their friends the possums showed up about the same time the band tailed pigeon and spruce grouse populations started to decline.

These people are so full of crap they reek of it. Now that many of their earlier dupes have jumped ship the GW proponents are fishing in new waters.

Posted by: JDH on March 8, 2007 10:55 AM


The Republican party has a long history of being protecting the environment with Teddy Roosevelt establishing the first National Park.
Richard Nixon actually wanted a stronger Environmental Protection Agency law than the one passed by the Democratic Congress

Unfortunately in Washington State the Sierra Club has been taken over by a bunch of Democratic shills who use Sierra Club endorsements to get their friends elected. Whether the canidate is proenvironment is irrelevant.

Ditto for the other so called environmental groups in Washington State and Puget Sound

Luke Esser and other proenvironmental republicans have been endorsed by the Washington Conservation Voters

The Republicans basically made the decision 10+ years ago that whatever they said about the environment would not make the extremists happy.

In doing so, the Rs gave the issue to the Ds, and this is why the general public views Rs as not caring about the environment

Posted by: Hiker on March 8, 2007 11:01 AM
13. Since the Washington Conservation Voters can be bought by anyone with a big enough check, what difference does it make who they endorse?

Posted by: Hinton on March 8, 2007 01:41 PM
14. Eric.

Your effort to position conservatives as environmently friendly is a noble but futile one. In fact, your tone comes across as that of liberals, who have always regarded any attempt by conservatives as virtually no contribution to the environmental/conservation movement of the past 50 years.

Are convervatives against environmental policies? Heck no! But then, liberals have succeeded in painting conservatives as the enemy of the environment just as liberals have been successful in painting conservatives as anti-children, anti-seniors, anti-equality, etc.

Just replace environment with racial equality in your own blow, and you will see exactly what I mean. Just as you think there aren't standout environmental conservatives, Liberals think that there isn't a conservative who is not against gender equality, racial equality, or whatever you can think of.

Posted by: DopioLover on March 8, 2007 04:11 PM
15. It will take a new generation for a GOP leader to emerge who can have much credibility on environmental issues in ways that can stick and change voter perceptions.

Or a greener 50 something GOP billionaire who has the resources to message a new GOP and the political skills and smarts to get elected Governor.

There are none on the horizon. The likely suspects have yet to demonstrate they have the skills or smarts. One former telcom billionaire is trying and is charming. But he has no ears. And its not clear he has the smarts.

Grow the real one witnin King County. A real new homegrown politician with the smarts, the resources and the values.

Otherwise, prepare for 100 years of minority status with maybe a peak at a majority every 12 years or so. In other words, if you keep doing the same thing, expect the same results. One term Governors, if any. And occasional majorities in the legislature but nothing lasting long enough to do much. A GOP member of Congress or two,

But not much more.

Posted by: thor on March 8, 2007 07:47 PM
16. I pray. I believe that there are true politicians out there who can truely lead this nation. Difficult? yep. But God works miracles.
Environmentalism is being used by socialists, but the First stand of socialism is that Man can fix everything ... without God. So, if we put God as the First thing we turn to, He will answer.

Posted by: ljm on March 8, 2007 10:45 PM
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