By Eugene Robinson
Posted on Sep 4, 2011
Republicans are trying to sell the false premise that protecting the environment inevitably means sacrificing jobs. President Obama should denounce this snake oil for what it is—rather than appear to accept it.
The GOP presidential candidates are in remarkable agreement on two articles of faith: The human imagination, apparently, is incapable of conjuring any circumstance under which any tax may ever be raised. And the Environmental Protection Agency is a sinister laboratory where Birkenstock-shod evildoers conjure regulations purposefully designed to rob Americans of their God-given jobs.
Actually, I’m being somewhat unfair to Mitt Romney, who tempers his EPA-bashing with the admission that he supports the agency “in much of its mission.” When he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney favored initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, perhaps even a regional cap-and-trade system. He doesn’t bring this up much on the campaign trail, but his opponents do.
The other contenders range from anti-EPA all the way to … well, to Michele Bachmann’s pledge to abolish the agency. Bachmann told an Iowa crowd last month that if she is elected president, “I guarantee you the EPA will have doors locked and lights turned off, and they will only be about conservation. It will be a new day and a new sheriff in Washington.”
At the GOP debate in New Hampshire, Bachmann added that “there is no other agency like the EPA. It should really be renamed the Job-Killing Organization of America.” Newt Gingrich agrees that the EPA—established in 1970 by that noted tree-hugger, Richard Nixon—should be dismantled.