Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rep. Boehlert Does GBCW

Previously, I've chronicled the exploits of Rep. Sherwood Boehlert of New York, chairman of the House Committee on Science, here, here and here.  Though some may have concerns with him on other issues, he has been an advocate for environmental issues, sometimes coming into conflict with others of his party.  Oh yes, Rep. Boehlert is a Republican.

His recent decision not to seek reelection gave rise to an interesting interview published in yesterday's New York Times.


Here are some telling excerpts.

In 24 years in Congress, Mr. Boehlert, a Republican from Utica, N.Y., who is chairman of the House Committee on Science, has been a strong advocate for science and the environment. As such, he has sometimes found himself at odds in Washington with the leadership of his own party.

"This is a town," he said, "where everyone says they are for science-based decision making -- until the science leads to a politically inconvenient conclusion. And then they want to go to Plan B."

In March of this year, Rep. Boehlert determined that he would not go beyond his current term.

Q. In all your years in Congress, can you recall a time when science issues were as politicized as they are today?

A. Making science political is just a part of the current times. And I've never seen a time on Capitol Hill when there has been as much partisanship as there is right now. The tolerance level is at an all-time low.

It's not just about science. But guess what: the good news is that people are finally talking about science. There didn't used to be many conversations about science. That's healthy.

As to being a "moderate Republican", he had this to say:

Q. You're considered a moderate Republican. Does it sadden you that you're often described as one of the last of a breed?

A. It makes me sad to think that people speculate that my kind of public official is an endangered species.

When I was a kid at Utica College, my governor was Nelson Rockefeller and my senators were Kenneth Keating and Jacob Javits, all progressive Republicans. And they taught me very early that government was about improving the lot of others.

I remember Nelson Rockefeller had a campaign poster: "If fish could vote, they'd vote for Nelson Rockefeller." That was because he was so sensitive to the environment. And I've long felt that Republicans shouldn't cede the issue of the environment to the other party.

Improving the lot of others?  What planet is this guy from?  And ceding the issue of environment, well, that ship has apparently sailed.

But here's an interesting discussion of CAFE standards:

Q. Your main legislative effort has been a measure to mandate an increase in fuel efficiency standards on new cars -- corporate average fuel economy standard, the so-called CAFE standards. That's never passed. Why?

A. Well, we've tried, three times over six years. Each time, we get closer. Last October, when another energy bill came to the floor, I tried again by offering an amendment.

I went to the Rules Committee, and the Republican leadership said: "Look, you already had a vote on this in this Congress. What's changed?"

I said, "Hurricane Katrina and $3-a-gallon gasoline." They did not allow the House to consider my amendment because they took an unofficial count and discovered it might pass. ...

Farewell, Rep. Boehlert.    



Blogger Family Man said...

I always wondered what it was like to live in the Dark Ages. I fear they are returning fast than people realize.

10:42 AM  

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