Breaking from party orthodoxy, a majority of Republican voters now accept climate change, sparking a drive inside the GOP to find a middle ground to help candidates finesse the issue without sounding out of touch or in the tank for President Obama and Al Gore.
“There is a middle way where we can talk about this,” said GOP pollster Alex Lundry of TargetPoint Consulting. “Republicans are a lot more open to this than you might think.”
He recently completed a poll on energy issues for Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions that found 51 percent of Republicans believe climate change is happening, will happen shortly or will occur in their lifetime. Just 24 percent deny it. The shift is particularly pronounced among younger party members.
A number of lawmakers are testing out climate change themes acceptable to both GOP voters and independents who are even more sensitive to environmental issues.
For example, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte has authored legislation to increase energy efficiency in commercial buildings by letting tenants voluntarily take efficiency measures. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is an advocate of renewables.
Lundry suggested seven themes that at least 66 percent of Republican voters favored, including pushing to leave a clean air legacy, promoting health through reduced air pollution, boosting the economy with renewable energy sources and “being responsible stewards of God’s creation.”
A spokesman for the renewable fuels industry agreed that one way to promote pro-climate change efforts is by couching them as pocket book issues. “They save people money and help our economy,” he said.
While both sides tend to demagogue the issue, Lundry said that Republican voters now believe that “you can be pro-limited government and pro-environment at the same time. They do not see that as a contradiction in terms.”
But, he told Secrets, “Look, you are threading a needle. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do but it can be done.”
OBAMA LIBRARY TRAFFIC TO DOUBLE REAGAN'S
The University of Chicago, dueling with schools in Hawaii and New York to grab Barack Obama’s presidential library, is crowing over an economic study that suggests theirs would be about twice as popular than the nation’s No. 1 facility, the Reagan library in Simi Valley, Calif.
“The estimate of 800,000 visitors per year is almost twice the number of visitors to the Reagan Presidential Library,” said the school. They called their proposal the “first truly urban presidential library,” though Dallas hosts former President George W. Bush’s library, and Boston the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.
The university also said that Obama will attract more visitors because he is the first black president. “Due to the historical significance of Obama’s presidency,” said the school, the Obama library slated for the South Side “will be a tourist attraction for reasons that other presidential libraries cannot claim.”
MEDIA LINES UP TO COVER 'CLINTONIA'
The Washington Post has become the latest news outfit to assign a reporter to cover Hillary Clinton's “seemingly inevitable” run for the presidency, marking the first time the media has focused so heavily on somebody who hasn't even announced a White House bid.
The Post even gave a name to their Clinton-focused beat: “Clintonia.”
So far at least five news organizations — CNN, Bloomberg, the Post, the New York Times and Politico — have Clinton reporters, and many more are expected to add their own. In past campaigns, reporters have been assigned to leading candidates after they announce their presidential bids.
CRISIS: 120,000 NEW ILLEGAL CHILDREN
A city-sized rush of about 120,000 illegal immigrant children and teens from Latin America is expected to crash through the U.S. border this year, twice the administration’s prediction, leading humanitarians to seek an increase in the $1.5 billion set aside to handle the runaways.
U.S. authorities report that there was a massive surge in May of children trying to escape crime, drug gangs and sexual exploitation in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The administration had predicted a surge of just 60,000.
“It's a city of children,” said Annie Wilson, executive vice president for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a national group that works with the government to settle child refugees and exiles.
Her group has kicked off a new campaign, dubbed “#ActOfLove,” to win emergency funds and better protections for the children who are typically handed over to family members in the U.S., not sent home.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com.