Republicans up to Some Good?

24 Jun

Seth: I have no problem with Republicans or conservatives. I think their core values are respectable and fair. I think the Republican party has gotten away from the conservative way, and their policies reflect that. Recently, two noteworthy Republicans impressed me, and I thought with all the pro-Obama bias on this blog, it was about time to recognize some good things Republicans are doing.

First, I want to talk about John McCain. While I don’t endorse his candidacy (I’m not crazy) I do believe he has a lot of good qualities and some good ideas. First, I want to recognize his bone-headed idea to open U.S. coastal areas for oil drilling. His proposal would allow states to choose to allow drilling off-shore, but would not open the Artic National Wildlife Reserve for drilling; he has identified that land is pristine and continually reaffirmed the need to protect that area.

But I have a question for the Senator: are the waters off the west and east coasts less pristine? Would the damage caused by a drilling accident not be worse closer to populated areas than the isolated artic? I think the contradiction this policy proposes is an example of Mr. McCain’s inability to effectively lead the nation. But this is about his good idea.

Senator McCain, while arguing for the need to increase supplies of oil to benefit the American consumer had an epiphany. Why not eliminate the need for gasoline in automobiles instead? June 23rd at Fresno State Univeristy, Senator McCain proposed initiating a contest of sorts to invite anyone to create a better battery for electric and hybrid cars, and a second “Clean Car Challenge” for automakers to prodice a zero-emissions car. In the same speech he stood up to proponents of ethanol saying

Corn-based ethanol, thanks to the money and influence of lobbyists, has been a case study in the law of unintended consequences. Our government pays to subsidize corn-based ethanol even as it collects tariffs that prevent consumers from benefiting from other kinds of ethanol, such as sugarcane-based ethanol from Brazil. The result is that Americans take the financial hit coming and going. As taxpayers, we foot the bill for the enormous subsides paid to corn produ cers. And as consumers, we pay extra at the pump because of government barriers to cheaper products from abroad … Here’s a better way. Instead of playing favorites, our government should level the playing field for all alcohol fuels that break the monopoly of gasoline, lowering both gasoline prices and carbon emissions.

He also stated his favor for “flex-fuel” cars, that is cars that can run on both gasoline and ethanol. He went on to say that Brazil was able to do this in a short period of time, which isn’t totally true. The drawback with his idea is the fact that even if cars are mandated to run on both fuels, ethanol isn’t readily available to the U.S. consumer. I think everyone does agree that if people can get the fuel, they will choose these flex-fuel cars. This idea is a good start for Senator McCain. If he is ever elected, it won’t be easy to enact, but it is an option.

Kudos also go to Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist who coincedentally is commongly metioned as a potential running mate to Senator McCain. Today he announced at a press conference that about 300 square miles of land held by the U.S. Sugar Corporation in the Florida Everglades is being bought in order to restore this national treasure.

“We have an opportunity to provide the critical missing link in our restoration activities,” Crist said. “I can envision no better gift to the Everglades, or the people of Florida, or to our country, than to place in public ownership this missing link that represents the key to true restoration.” –LA Times

It is important to note that U.S. Sugar currently has about 1,700 employees and the company plans to completely shut down in six to seven years. The company was founded in 1931 and currently produces almost a tenth of America’s sugar. This is due in part to successful efforts by the companies lobbyists in Washington who got federal water projects to work in their favor. Governor Crist’s efforts are stark in comparison to his predecessor Jeb Bush’s industry-favoring policies and appointments.

More information can be found in articles by Time and the LA Times.


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