Inside the Beltway: GOP must be 'engaging in the fight' on environment

Republicans are missing a huge opportunity to connect with the American public as the next presidential election looms. The time appears to be right to best Democrats in one arena they monopolize — green-minded concern for the climate and the environment.

“As we head into the 2024 presidential campaign, it’s obvious that the party of Teddy Roosevelt has an opportunity to grow its coalition by embracing its conservationist roots and engaging in the fight. Republicans can still go on the attack by opposing the Democrats’ efforts to use climate as an excuse to drive up energy costs, impose crony socialism, and reimagine the entire American economy. But Republicans must also present voters with their own reasonable solutions on climate that, unlike the Democrats’ radical policies, actually account for the kitchen table issues working families are currently facing,” writes Jon Schweppe, director of policy and government affairs at the American Principles Project, in an essay for The Federalist.

“Who, other than an occasional B-movie villain, actually opposes protecting the environment? Republicans have a long history of conservation and protecting America’s incredible natural resources. But the left has created a total straw man to represent the right’s views, much like they did on abortion during the midterms, and it has largely worked because Republicans prefer to avoid talking about the ‘controversial’ issues — as always, a recipe for political disaster,” Mr. Schweppe observes.

Republicans should push back on green-minded issues, whether it’s citing China for its “carbon emissions,” or simply planting more trees, or embracing nuclear power, he advises. Voters will notice.

“This is how we win, and not just on the environment, but on every issue. We should always be going on offense by pointing out the insanity coming from the left,” Mr. Schweppe writes.

“On climate change, we have a real opportunity in 2024 and beyond to take this issue away from the left and make inroads with voters we need to win presidential elections. We should absolutely take advantage,” he later concludes.

Good idea. Republicans should begin crafting a snappy, aggressive, effective, good-natured green message. Earth Day dawns in a mere 95 days.

ABOUT TEDDY ROOSEVELT

Just so you know: Here’s what the U.S. Interior Department has to say about the aforementioned 26th U.S. president:

“President Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most powerful voices in the history of American conservation. Enthralled by nature from a young age, Roosevelt cherished and promoted our nation’s landscapes and wildlife. After becoming president in 1901, Roosevelt used his authority to establish 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, four national game preserves, five national parks and 18 national monuments on over 230 million acres of public land,” the federal agency notes in a historical advisory found at its blog.

THE MAYORS ARRIVE

The nation’s capital will host a unique group Tuesday. The nation’s mayors will arrive for the 91st annual winter conference of those unique public officials who have a very personal relationship with their towns and cities.

The four-day event in a major hotel not far from the White House features a multitude of forums, sessions, speeches and discussion for the mayors. The plans include forums and discussions centered on mental health, public safety, technology and innovation, infrastructure, homelessness, and jobs, the group advises in a 45-page advisory of the plans.

A special session on an official and effective response to mass shootings is also planned.

There’s a visit to the White House and a meeting with President Biden along with “direct engagement” with officials, Congressional leaders and policy mavens — plus a review of legislation passed by the 117th Congress. A session is planned with Punchbowl News about “big issues facing local governments,” and there’s a reception at a major embassy as well.

Curious?

“The United States Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are over 1,400 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor,” the organization says in an advisory.

Find them at USmayors.org.

FOR THE LEXICON

Let’s consider two new terms which have emerged on public radar: Car-a-Lago and GarageGate.

This pair of descriptors surfaced quickly in media coverage following revelations that classified documents were found in President Biden’s garage at his family home in Delaware. The two terms will likely disappear just as quickly.

But still. “Car-a-Lago” rhymes with former President Donald Trump’s “Mar-a-Lago” home in Florida. And GarageGate joins a vast list of “gate” words. There are so many of them that Merriam-Webster dictionary has a section devoted to the function of “-gate” in our lexicon, describing it as “a suffix that stinks of corruption.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times and Fox News alike highlighted the two terms, while #garagegate and #caralogo trended heavily on Twitter and were the centerpiece in editorial cartoons in recent days.

POLL DU JOUR

• 61% of U.S. adults agree that Republican lawmakers and President Biden are unlikely to get anything done in the next two years.

• 58% agree that it is unlikely Republicans will compromise with Democrats in the next year.

• 51% agree that they did not follow closely the recent election of the House speaker.

• 42% agree that the “fight” over the speaker election and its consequences have very little to do with daily life.

• 35% disapprove of the election of Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker; 33% approve of Mr. McCarthy’s election; 33% “don’t know.”

• 34% agree that Mr. McCarthy did the “right thing” in giving in to the demands of his Republican opponents.

SOURCE: A USA Today/IPSOS poll of 2,010 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 10-11.

• Contact Jennifer Harper]]]] at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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