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Is Jeb too green? GOP primary voters may think so

Dan Farber, professor of law | May 6, 2015

At this point, the GOP Presidential field looks like Jeb Bush versus Everyone Else. (Of course, there’s a big fight over who get’s to play Everyone Else when this particular play opens in Iowa and New Hampshire.) It’s an open question whether Jeb will turn out to be too green for the average GOP primary voter.

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush at NOAA Earth Day, 2005 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Jeb has already been attacked by the Club for Growth on this basis. The Club’s communication director complains that “we did see hundreds of millions in state spending on Everglades restoration and environmental land purchases, and we will definitely raise that as a point of concern with his record.”

And there are other potential issues. Jeb supported efforts to keep offshore drilling away from Florida’s coasts, supporting a compromise with a 125-mile buffer zone. He has touted fracking as a way to reduce carbon emissions — like carbon emissions are a bad thing!  Politico reports speculation that he “could help bring Republicans back to a debate the party has not wanted to engage in because of Obama.”

From the point of view of at least some Republicans, he’s definitely getting praise from some of the wrong places. Another story from Politico has a telling quote:

“He was a green,” said Eric Draper, the executive director of the National Audubon Society’s Florida chapter, which had both worked with Bush on his Everglades restoration efforts but clashed with him on his handling of the Everglades’ pollution limits. “I actually miss him. He was one of Florida’s most effective governors, and I’m telling you that as a Democrat.”

You really don’t want the Audubon Society calling you a green if you’re running for the GOP nomination.  I guess it could be worse — it might have been the Sierra Club, which is probably better known to GOP voters.  But it’s still got to be awkward at this point in the process.

Jeb seems to be doing his best to stress his support for fracking plus expanded drilling, while fudging questions about climate change.  But it’s not clear whether the party base will forgive him for his past support for the Everglades and his generally pragmatic positions on environmental issues.

Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet.

Comments to “Is Jeb too green? GOP primary voters may think so

  1. Dan, I have been reading, learning from and thinking about posts on Berkeley Blog for years, and I keep asking questions and studying so I can learn even more.

    You and Robert Reich have provided a continuing education for me about many of the most important facts of life today, and I thank you both even though the facts are increasingly disconcerting because my questions keep proving that there are no immediately implementable solutions in sight to protect the future for our newest generations.

    This is an entirely new world since my wife and I graduated in 1963, we thought the social gains in the 60s and 70s would make the world a far better place for future generations. Current events keep proving that while my generation was given the best possible legacy by the Greatest Generation, the legacy that my generation is leaving is totally unacceptable.

    So climate changes accelerate negative consequences further out of control, increasingly limiting the available solutions. Politicians in both parties are failing to protect the future and neither Jeb Bush nor Al Gore can make a difference until We The People take back control of Congress and SCOTUS.

  2. Dan, too bad Al Gore didn’t get elected President.

    We desperately need a leader to save our environment and civilization, and he could have been the one to save the world like FDR did during WWII.

    Why do we have to be in extremis before we save ourselves?

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