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I'm a Republican, Not an Idiot

Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father's…
Peter Z. Scheer

Pioneering Lancaster, Calif., Mayor R. Rex Parris wants his city to generate more power from renewable energy than it consumes. In fact, he wants the dusty, desert town to be the solar power capital of the universe. And he’s a Republican.

“I may be a Republican. I’m not an idiot,” Parris tells The New York Times, when asked whether he thinks global warming is a threat. It’s not such a ridiculous question, when one considers the GOP’s long denial of climate change and its love affair with fossil fuels. This is no longer the party of Teddy Roosevelt, who loved the great outdoors and championed national parks, or Richard Nixon, another Californian and the president who created the Environmental Protection Agency.

Parris may use a harsh word to describe the majority view of his party, but he’s not far off. Science is overwhelming on the subject, and beyond that there is obvious wealth to be garnered from the emerging renewable energy industry. As the Times points out, Lancaster has an unemployment rate of 15.5 percent, more than double the national rate. Solar power is as much a jobs issue as it is an environmental one.

Although California is a very blue state, the interior has always been Republican country. As that party seeks ways to reinvent itself, it might look to its own past and a few characters from its present — people who are Republicans, but not idiots.

(Hat tip to Political Wire)

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer.

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