Year 4, Month 12, Day 14: Slowly I Turned, Step By Step, Inch By Inch…

The Tampa Bay Times (FL) is the latest to offer space to former Rep. Bob Inglis, whose hope once again triumphs over experience:

You’re a conservative who thinks it’s time to offer a solution on energy and climate. You’re not alone.

Thousands of conservatives like you are ready to enter the competition of ideas, ready to change what we tax, ready to unleash the power of free enterprise. You might be motivated by the hope of tax reform or by the search for an alternative to EPA regulation of CO2 or the by dream of lighting up the world with distributed energy. Whatever your motivation, there’s a credible conservative movement waiting to be joined.

If your motivation is tax reform, you have many allies who are hoping that Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., will be successful in their attempts to overhaul the tax code. There are others who believe that Camp and Baucus will be successful when tax reform is combined with an overall plan to address our structural deficit. Either way, the opportunity is the same — to change what we tax.

The potential to unify conservatives on this point is huge. What conservative wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to un-tax income and tax almost anything else? If we were to start taxing carbon pollution, we could lighten up on the taxation of income. Art Laffer, President Ronald Reagan’s economics adviser, has called this kind of tax swap a “no brainer.”

December 2:

There can be no reasonable objections to Bob Inglis’ logical and articulate proposal for a sensible conservative approach to the climate crisis. Certainly the general public is anxious for America’s lawmakers to promote ways to mitigate our collective greenhouse emissions, to strengthen our infrastructure in preparation for extreme weather, and adopt factually-grounded policies on the causes, consequences, and cures of climate change.

But “reasonable” is anathema to today’s Republican party. Dominated by Tea-party extremism, the modern GOP is motivated only by hatred of all things Democratic, liberal, and Obama. While Rep. Inglis’ suggestions are perfectly sensible, that’s a liability in the ideologically-driven Republican primary environment, where simply recognizing the reality of climate change means electoral defeat.

When one of America’s two governing parties surrenders its platform to anti-science zealots, reality-based proposals are dead in the water. And that’s bad news not just for Bob Inglis, but for all of us.

Warren Senders

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