From Capitol Hill to the campaign trail, Republicans have spent the past year lambasting the Environmental Protection Agency and the work it does to safeguard our air, water, wildlife and lands.
Today, President Obama plans to present a clear contrast to the GOP’s misguided rhetoric. He is scheduled to visit the EPA in a very visible sign of support for the staff and the standards that protect our air, water and environment.
The president’s much-needed trip to the EPA is a breath of fresh air amid the GOP smoke and mirrors surrounding the agency.
Mitt Romney calls the agency whose work annually saves hundreds of thousands of lives “out of control. Rick Santorum claims the EPA’s attempts to reduce mercury from coal-fired power plants is misguided, insinuating the science that proves mercury is dangerously toxic to small children and others is wrong or at least unimportant. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul want to eliminate the agency. And for Rick Perry, the EPA is um, um, Public Enemy No. 1.
Over in Congress, Republicans have literally wasted more than a year wrongly blaming the sour economy on EPA, instead of addressing the real causes for our economic meltdown. The tally so far: 191 votes taken in the House to undermine environmental protections.
(Hint to House GOP: Keeping our air and water and lungs clean didn’t hurt our economy. Government standards didn’t either. The real cause of the worst recession since the Great Depression was an overheated real estate market, fueled by lax government oversight of lending and financial markets. That, in turn, prompted massive corporate layoffs and plummeting consumer confidence).
Politically, it would have been much easier for Obama to simply avoid the EPA amid all the Tea Party fueled rhetoric and flat-our lies we’ve been forced to hear about it in Congress and on the campaign trail.
But unlike the GOP candidates, the president is echoing not what short-sighted campaign pollsters and contributors want him to say, but what the majority of mainstream Americans say they want and need – clean water, clean air and protection from polluters.?While GOP candidates are busy trying to outdo one another doing the dirty work of Big Polluters, President Obama is showing he’s for defending public health and the agency charged with enforcing the bedrock environmental laws that helped make our country great.
His visit shows we don’t have to follow the GOP backward to a time when we didn’t have the agency and its protections; back to a time when our rivers were so polluted they caught on fire and our skies were so choked with smog we couldn’t breathe.
It shows the sort of leadership we need in this country.