In 2001, Americans set aside our political differences and united against a common threat. Sadly, that was the last time politicians had their priorities in order. Even the tragedies of Superstorm Sandy and the Oklahoma tornadoes could not bring us together, as our leaders fought to score philosophical points rather than help their fellow citizens.
We are Republicans, but we are Americans first. As parents — Rob has twin sixteen year old sons and I have two little girls and a teenage son — we believe America holds the promise of bright futures for our children. That promise is why we’ve dedicated ourselves to the work of ConservAmerica and proudly serve on Moms Clean Air Force’s Leadership Circle.
President Obama delivered his much anticipated speech on climate change last week. He reiterated the scientific consensus that our way of life is threatened by climate change. More importantly, lives are threatened by the consequences of climate disruption.
The president’s prescription includes leveraging America’s natural gas to displace more carbon intensive coal, and to sell our recent technological advances in gas exploration to other countries. He called for renewed focus on nuclear power and to export our expertise in cleaner coal technologies to countries that will rely on coal for decades to come. All are positive for our economy. In short, they sound Republican to us, and should find little opposition in Congress.
The plan hinges, though, on a new regulatory regime that we are concerned will be costly — and increase bureaucratic hurdles for American businesses. By establishing a deadline of June 2015, the president essentially told Congress, “The ball is in your court.” It is time for Republicans to come up with a better plan.
The key here will be for both sides to not play partisan games, but focus on solutions. We can’t let perfect be the enemy of good, and we must not close ourselves to technology advances on all fronts. This is not a one party issue, and will not be resolved that way, and as much as the Republicans must come to the center, they must be welcomed and allowed to engage. There won’t be agreement on everything but we should look to our common interests.
Unlike with the Affordable Healthcare Act, we believe Republicans will take an active interest this time in crafting market-oriented, transparent strategies to accomplish the carbon reduction goals set out by the president. If the market isn’t engaged, long-term progress will not be made.
Several times during his speech, President Obama echoed the words of President Ronald Reagan:
“What is a conservative after all but one who conserves, one who is committed to protecting and holding close the things by which we live…And we want to protect and conserve the land on which we live — our countryside, our rivers and mountains, our plains and meadows and forests. This is our patrimony. This is what we leave to our children. And our great moral responsibility is to leave it to them either as we found it or better than we found it.”
As parents — as Americans — we can all agree to this.