By D.R. Tucker on 1/9/2015, 6:45am PT  

"Honest statement," "Karl Rove" and "Fox News" are three phrases that usually do not belong in the same sentence (unless it's the one I'm writing now!), but George W. Bush's aide-de-camp actually told the truth on the January 6 edition of Fox's "America's Newsroom."

As The Hill reports [emphasis added]:

Karl Rove says Jeb Bush's support for Common Core education standards will be the biggest obstacle he faces as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.

"Common Core is, I think, the biggest challenge he faces," Rove said Tuesday on the Fox News show "America's Newsroom." "The question is, how can he defend high academic standards, which he believes in, when it has been conflated with the Obama administration."

Rove, formerly the top adviser to Bush's brother, President George W. Bush, said Common Core was originally a Republican idea put forth by Bill Bennett, the secretary of Education under President Reagan who was later appointed to a post in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

But Rove said President Obama has since grasped onto it, making it toxic to Republican voters.

Now how about that! Common Core --- a national state standards initiative for k-12 education --- was a GOP concept until a Democrat found merit in the idea, at which point it became radical-left tyranny.

The same, of course, is now true for the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), a scheme first proposed by the rightwing Heritage Foundation before it was later embraced by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, before Obama embraced it, so Republicans decided to pretend it was a precursor to full apocalypse.

But I can think of yet another major policy initiative that Republicans used to love until Democrats said they thought it was a good idea, too...

In 2010, Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress reminded Republican opponents of cap-and-trade --- the same ones who continually ridiculed the idea as "cap-and-tax" --- that the GOP originally embraced the concept of a trading market to help reduce pollution...

The Reagan White House conceived the first cap-and-trade program to reduce pollution. It was used in the 1980s to phase out lead in gasoline at a lower cost. An EPA analysis shows:

...estimated savings from the lead trading program of approximately 20 percent over alternative programs that did not provide for lead banking, a cost savings of about $250 million per year.

President Reagan also signed the Montreal Protocol in 1987 to slash the production and use of chemicals that deplete the upper ozone layer essential to screen out cancer-causing ultraviolet rays. His administration established a cap-and-trade system to implement the chemical reductions the protocol required. A 2006 scientific assessment concluded that "the Montreal Protocol is working" to reduce chemicals and protect the ozone layer.

President George H.W. Bush, Reagan's successor, was the first president to propose the employment of a cap-and-trade system in an environmental law. The Clean Air Act of 1990 [included] his proposed cap-and-trade system to reduce the sulfur pollution from power plants responsible for acid rain.

As Lee Fang noted in 2010, one of the forces opposed to a federal cap-and-trade program to combat acid rain was David Koch. Nevertheless, in the pre-Citizens United era, Koch lost; on November 15, 1990, Bush Sr. signed the 1990 Clean Air Act into law. On July 23, 2001, the Wall Street Journal editorial page(!) actually acknowledged the success of the Act in combating acid rain in an economically effective fashion.

Weiss further observed in 2010:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced several global warming pollution reductions bills during the previous decade. While running for president in 2008 McCain proposed to reduce global warming pollution via a cap-and-trade program...Then-Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) also supported a cap-and-trade system to reduce global warming pollution as the GOP nominee for vice president. She reiterated that support during the vice presidential debate.

Of course, that was before you-know-who won the presidency.

As MSNBC's Rachel Maddow observed in August 2010, it's hard to reason with people who have turned against their own ideas --- especially an idea to reduce carbon emissions that was even supported by the former head of fossil-fuel titan Shell.

You'd figure Republicans would learn by now that you can't beat something with nothing. Then again, as Jeb Bush's brother proved fifteen years ago, you can beat something with nothing, so long as you have a big swingstate Secretary of State and five U.S. Supreme Court Justices in your back pocket...

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D.R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer and a former contributor to the conservative website Human Events Online. He has also written for the Washington Monthly, Huffington Post, the Boston Herald, the Boston Globe Magazine, and, among others. In addition, he hosted a Blog Talk Radio program, The Notes, from August 2009 to June, 2010, and served as a co-host of On the Green Front with Betsy Rosenberg on the Progressive Radio Network from August 2011 to March 2014. Currently, he is a contributor to the Climate Minute and Climate Notes podcasts for the Massachusetts Climate Action Network. You can follow him on Twitter here: @DRTucker.

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