Voting out the sane Republicans

It’s good to be reminded on occasion that there are sane, responsible Republicans… We were in the car last night, on our way to have dinner with friends in Detroit, when we caught an NPR report on how the upcoming elections are likely to affect climate change legislation, and I was really struck by how sane and responsible Republican Congressman Bob Inglis came across on the issue. Unfortunately, bright, responsible Republicans are a dying breed in Washington. Inglis, for instance, recently lost his primary bid to a challenger with the backing of the Tea Party. Here’s a clip from the report.

A Conservative Who Spoke Up — And Paid The Price

It’s a big deal for Republicans in Congress to say they believe that humans are heating the planet.

“People look at you like you’ve grown an extra head or something,” says Rep. Bob Inglis, a Republican from South Carolina.

Inglis has represented South Carolina’s 4th District for the last 12 years, but this one will be his last.

In June, Inglis lost the primary bid to Tea Party-backed Republican candidate Trey Gowdy, who accused him of not being conservative enough.

For the longest time, Inglis says, education, health care issues and the environment have been Democratic issues, while taxes and national security have been Republican issues. Inglis says that’s not right.

“As a Republican, I believe we should be talking about conservation, because that’s our heritage. If you go back to Teddy Roosevelt, that’s who we are.”

Inglis paid the price for speaking out about the importance of conservation and climate change.

He admits he may have “committed other heresies,” such as voting for TARP and against the troop surge. “But the most enduring problem I had, the one that really was difficult, was just saying that climate change was real and let’s do something about it.”

Inglis, who also voted no on cap-and-trade, tried to make climate change palatable for conservatives. He proposed a revenue-neutral tax swap: Payroll taxes would be reduced and the amount of that reduction would be applied as a tax on carbon dioxide emissions — mainly hitting coal plants and natural gas facilities.

Inglis also tried to connect the issue of climate change with the issue of national security. “We are dependent on a region of the world that doesn’t like us very much for oil. We need to change the game there.”

Inglis even stressed the need to hold the oil and coal companies accountable for their environmental practices.

Accountability, he says, “is a very bedrock conservative concept — even a biblical concept.”

Even though Inglis won’t be coming back to the Hill to serve another term, he hasn’t lost hope in climate change policy. The choice, Inglis says, is clear.

“Do we play to our strengths? Or do we continue to play to our weakness — which is playing the oil game.”

I’ve mentioned it here before, but 19 of 21 Republican candidates for Senate this election cycle either deny the existence of global warming, or maintain that the burning of fossil fuels does not play a role. (And many of them are getting big campaign contributions from BP and the Koch brothers as a result.) As most young people seem to know that global warming is real, and that we need to transition away from foreign oil, one wonders if there’s still going to be a Republican party in another ten years.

Speaking of NPR, I’ve got my issues with the network, but I certainly don’t think that we should allow Republican extremists the likes of Sarah Palin and Jim Demint to use the recent Juan Williams mess to see the organization’s federal funding stripped. The state of journalism is absolutely pitiful in America, and we cannot allow tea bagging opportunists to use this as an opportunity to defund the profession any further.

[note: We’ve talked about the Inglis/Gowdy race before.]

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  1. Edward
    Posted October 25, 2010 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I welcome the end of the two party system in America, which seems imminent. I only hope that it happens quickly, and that we don’t suffer too much in the process.

  2. Knox
    Posted October 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    If I lived on another planet, and this was a TV show, I’d love it. Having to live through it, though, I’m not so crazy about. Even Reagan would hated by these people.

    Hell, he’d be called a socialist for saying that he’d like to see a nuclear-free world.

  3. TeacherPatti
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Did you hear about this guy? Jesus Christ, where do they find ’em?

  4. Posted October 26, 2010 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Wow, tea baggers are violent. I never knew:

    Raw Video: Rand Paul supporter stomps protester

    A Rand Paul supporter stomped on the head of a woman representing the liberal organization The incident happened outside a debate between Paul and Democratic rival Jack Conway for the open…

  5. John Galt
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Last I checked, Teacher Patti, this was a free country and people could be weekend Nazis if they wanted to be. Plus, it might not even be all that political. It could just be about fashion and male-on-male (but absolutely straight) bondage.

  6. Posted October 26, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Galt, your statement represents a common misinterpretation of freedom of expression and of the First Amendment in general.

    Mr. Iott is protected from LEGAL action as a result of him being a Nazi on the weekend or even having Nazi political leanings. The First Amendment does not require that anyone like it nor that they ignore it when going to the voting booth.

  7. TeacherPatti
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Peter…couldn’t have said it better myself! I don’t know for a fact any of my relatives died at the hands of Nazis but–free country or not–those pictures make my skin crawl.
    And personally, I want to know stuff like this about candidates and people in general. To wit, I was all hot for Jesse James (Sandra’s ex, not the outlaw) unti pictures of him in Nazi garb surfaced.

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