Bob Inglis 2-part interview at The Washington Times Communities
Part I: Bob Inglis is making the case for a green future
By Joseph Cotto — Washington Times (December 6, 2012)
FLORIDA, December 6, 2012 — Since leaving Congress, South Carolina Republican Bob Inglis has devoted his career to protecting and promoting environmental interests. Unlike many environmental activists, he looks to free enterprise to find solutions for the most daunting environmental challenges.
Cynicism about politics is so strong today, and hostility towards Washington so deep, that the idea of an honest politician who stands on principle strikes us as quaint. Public office holders seldom brave populist fury to vote their convictions.
Bob Inglis served South Carolina’s fourth congressional district for six non-consecutive terms. Based in the Greenville suburbs, he started out as a fairly routine conservative Republican. During the latter half of his tenure, however, his views moderated considerably. After Barack Obama was elected president, Inglis refused to adopt the angry temperament that became routine for many on the right.
During the 2010 primary cycle, he lost to a Tea Party-backed challenger by an almost unbelievable 42 points.
Green politics have become as bitter and divisive as the fiscal politics that spawned the Tea Party movement. The issue of global climate change (“global warming”) has become so politicized that even saying anything about temperature data, which are as dry a scientific matter as we can imagine, leaves one open to vicious attack by people who don’t know the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius.
Can Democrats and Republicans learn to discuss the environment without rancor? Is it possible to appreciate virgin forest or a venison roast without making a political statement? And can a good conservative feel free to wonder whether humans have anything to do with climate change, and wonder what we can do about it?
Bob Inglis begins to tackle these questions in part one of our interview:
Joseph F. Cotto: This is surely one of the most polarized eras in American politics, especially as far as environmental issues are concerned. Not so long ago, finding consensus on what was best for the environment was not such a partisan debacle. Why do you believe that the times have changed?
Rep. Bob Inglis…
Read the full Part I interview on the Washington Times Community page
Part II: Bob Inglis on lessons learned from a career in Congress
By Joseph Cotto — Washington Times (December 7, 2012)
FLORIDA, December 7, 2012 — Since leaving Congress, former South Carolina Representative Bob Inglis has devoted his time to environmental issues. He believes that market principles, properly applied, are key to solving the world’s environmental problems.
For instance, fossil fuels are the backbone of the world’s energy supply. However, their extensive use can damage the world’s ecosystems. If the cost efficiency calculations that lead us to use them extensively exclude the costs of the damage they cause, we will overuse them. Including third-party (external) costs to our cost-benefit calculations will let the market determine the correct use of fossil fuels with no assistance needed from regulators.
Environmentalism has become such a loaded subject that the term itself is often used as a pejorative. Nonetheless, many who lean right-of-center are very concerned about the environment. Their objection to the environmentalism of liberal eco-warriors like Al Gore isn’t about the ends of an environment preserved for future generations and the good of all, but the means of the heavy, dead hand of government and stifling bureaucracy. So how can the anti-environment stereotypes associated conservatives be defeated?
Inglis has much to say on the subject, but he also has some useful insights into the current infighting in the GOP. Ron Paul’s followers, members of the Tea Party movement, social and religious conservatives, and establishment Republicans are locked in a struggle over the future of the GOP. It’s a struggle in which moderates seem to be taking a beating.
Joseph F. Cotto: Many on the right claim that America should continue using fossil fuels due to cost efficiency. What are your views regarding this idea?
Rep. Bob Inglis…
Read the full Part II interview on the Washington Times communities page