R.E.P., R.I.P.: Republicans For Environmental Protection Drops ‘Republican’ From Its Name

Republican Environmental GroupA long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Republicans helped

  • create our national parks to conserve land
  • launch the EPA to do science-based pollution regulation and
  • invent cap-and-trade to reduce emissions in the most business-friendly, cost-effective way possible.

Ah, but when Obama Wan Kenobi actually got elected President, the fossil fuel empire struck back:  Working with and indeed funding the Tea Party (Imperial Storm Troopers?), they turned anti-environmentalism and anti-science denial into a litmus test for all national Republicans.

Still, I’m somewhat surprised by this:

After 16 years of trying to marry their party’s support for drilling and climate change denial with environmental protection, Republicans for Environmental Protection is dropping the word “Republican” from its name.

The group’s new name, ConservAmerica, is designed to “explain the connection between conservatism and conservation” and underscore the group’s ethic of stewardship.

“Our mission is staying exactly the same,” said David Jenkins, the group’s vice president for government affairs. “It’s more of an emphasis issue, switching from the emphasis being on Republican — not that we’re separating ourselves from that at all. It’s just putting the emphasis more on connecting conservation and conservative, which are born of the same root.”

When the brand goes south there’s nothing wrong with changing one’s name, of course — think Accenture (Anderson Consulting), Airtran Airways (ValueJet Airlines), and Altria (Philip Morris) just to start with the A’s. Heck, Google used to be called BackRub!

But I don’t think the problem was the word “Republicans” — since a great many Republicans are still environmentalists, especially at the state and local level. The problem is that the national party has been pulled so far to the right that the “moderates” (who, formerly were mainstream conservatives) either have no place (like Jon Huntsman) or have to Etch-A-Sketch themselves into extremism.

In fact, as I’ve reported, at the individual level, Koch-fueled denial backfired: Independents and other Republicans split with Tea-Party extremists on global warming. A December Pew poll found that from 2009 to 2011, the percentage of moderate or liberal Republicans who say there is “solid evidence” the earth is warming jumped 22 percentage points, from 41% to 63% — 15 percentage points just since last year (from 48 to 63).

It’s not most Republicans who have moved away from the environment, it’s the extremist conservative wing that has moved so far away. So I’m not sure how “ConservAmerica” addresses that. As my colleague Daniel Weiss, director of climate strategy for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, told Politico:

“Under either name … they face a fundamental challenge that the pro conservation party of Roosevelt, Nixon, Schwarzenegger and McCain has become the climate science denial party of Romney, Santorum and Limbaugh.”

Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader — now that’s a name change!

6 Responses to R.E.P., R.I.P.: Republicans For Environmental Protection Drops ‘Republican’ From Its Name

  1. Mossy says:

    I think changing the name weakens an organization, at least initially. Witness “stepitup” to 350, PowerShift to Energy Action Coalition, and MA Power Shift to Students for a Just and Stable Future. It takes awhile for the new name to be recognized. And then there was 1Sky that simply fell apart, after scooping up existing organizations with the promise of uniting them.

    …Which makes me wonder if this is a plot by the Koch’s to weaken the organizations!

    Oh, and as an aside, does anyone besides this doomer household, think that the Maldive’s overthrow could have been Koch-funded?

  2. This comes from the “you just can’t make this stuff up” file.

  3. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The steady Rightward march of the political systems of the West is entering the territory of a type of deracinated, deranged and demented sub-fascism. It looks very much as if polities and societies can also be afflicted by cerebral insufficiency and the clogging up of vital control centres by the toxic detritus of ideological-metabolic processes running amok. All feed-back mechanisms that would signal dangerous excesses have been abolished and declared anathema, by ideological diktat.
    The fault lies not just with the dementors of the Right, whose reaction to the palpable collapse of their worldview and ideology has been to deny it all and double-down on the ideology and the social repression. The ‘free market Utopia’ has failed, so let’s just try harder, and harder (as their cerebral circulation hardens with end-stage arteriosclerosis).
    The blame also lies with the cowards and traitors of ‘social democracy’, or what you Amerkans call ‘the liberals’. When faced with the moral insanity and intellectual chicanery of ‘neo-liberalism’ in action, manifested as Reaganism, Thatcherism or Pinochetism, the social democrats almost immediately set up Vichy-like ‘Third Way’ collaborationist regimes, to make inescapable the full system of ‘democracy without choices’. Then the leading political lights of this great betrayal to the money power were almost all rewarded by being made rich themselves. The entire Western political stage has been pushed to the Right, by complicit politicians, an increasingly villainous Rightwing MSM and the moneyed elites and their plethora of propagandising ‘think-tanks’. As a result, when faced by the unprecedented existential crisis of anthropogenic climate destabilisation, no leadership exists, anywhere within our profoundly sub-standard ‘elites’, that can, or will, lead us out of the valley of the shadow of death.

  4. kevin j knapp says:

    I love rachel maddow and her plain sensibilities as far as anything.Tonight she had this show on msnbc as far as the republican idea as far as cap and trade,that Mccain and that idiot palin at first fell in love w/ and then recoiled against since taking the pulse of the uber nutzo rightie bagger party .Remember palin and that whole”Tax and cap” bullshit?remember her at a biker rally in her fake assed leathers saying “i love the smell of emissions” as she sat on a harley? nobody talks like that except this fucking fake idiot.Most normal people would say something like “i love the smell of exhaust”If you are of voting age,stay away from this nuts rethuglican party.They are dangerous and evil!!!..OBAMA 2012!!!!

  5. kevin j knapp says:

    The whole tossing about of nine or so tractor trailers in texas should be a wake up call.we will see…