Are Red Republicans turning Green? Lindsey Graham leads the way
If Senator Lindsey Graham has his way, the Republican Party is about to become the party of "Yes"--at least to alternative energy. The GOP of the future must compete for the environmentally conscious hearts and minds of America's youth, he tells the New York Times. It's a tantalizing glimpse into a future when alternative energy is mainstream.
"I have been to enough college campuses to know if you are 30 or younger this climate issue is not a debate," Senator Graham tells the Times. "It’s a value. These young people grew up with recycling and a sensitivity to the environment — and the world will be better off for it. They are not brainwashed. ... From a Republican point of view, we should buy into it and embrace it and not belittle them."
Graham is working with John Kerry and Joe Lieberman on a new energy bill, with plenty of green goodies. Make no mistake, Graham chose an opportune time to go green. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report puts unemployment in South Carolina at 12.6%, well above the national average of 10%; jobs are agenda item one for voters nationwide.
Graham still wants off-shore drilling, says there's a debate to be had about climate change, and like President Obama, counts nuclear among clean energy options. But he wants to see South Carolina building wind turbines, solar panels, bio-fuel plants, and anything else demanded by a greener economy.
That's why--read this next part sitting down--Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), favors a carbon tax.
What does this mean for alternative energy?
President (then Candidate) Obama shocked some by embracing "clean coal" during the 2008 campaign, and the left wing of his party was aghast to find him promoting a new generation of nuclear plants. Now, the GOP has a Green elephant on its hands: a Republican who accepts that oil is not the only legitimate energy source on planet Earth.
If South Carolina gets those green jobs, that state will be politically greener for a long time--and petro-paleo-Conservatives may have a hard time defending their long-standing opposition to alternative fuels.