Rick Perry is openly exploring a possible run for presidential candidate in 2016 but he is currently working to let everyone know just how green he is.
According to Reuters, Rick Perry’s farewell speech to the Texas legislature listed the accomplishments expected from an outgoing Republican governor of the country’s largest oil-producing state. But his January 15 speech also did something less predictable: touting his environmental record, from lowering Texas’ carbon emissions to turning the state into a global leader in wind energy production.
“We have expanded our economy while protecting our environment,” said Perry.
This seems to a complete about turn for Perry regarding the environment, as it was only during his last attempt at a run for the presidency that he described climate change as being a “contrived phony mess”.
But this new message from Perry reflects the changing position of the Republicans who have found that they need to come up with a more sophisticated approach to the environment and climate change, rather than dismissing it outright, if they want to be taken seriously as potential presidents.
Republicans are now all too aware that to gain voters it is important to project at the very least, a vague understanding of the problem and the need to address such issues in the future.
According to a report by Reuters examining the issue: “‘I’m not a scientist’ won’t be a winner in the presidential field,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said of the now common response Republican lawmakers and candidates offer when asked about climate change.
Traditionally the Republicans have not been very receptive to the green message with many believing that this stance comes in part from the large donations made to the party by donors who are keen not to bring the environment to the forefront of US politics.
Reuters says that those pushing the party to adopt a more palatable message on the environment say it is possible to stake out environmental positions that can appeal to young and independent voters without offending the party’s free-market, anti-regulation base.
But while it may be refreshing to see prominent members of the Republican party addressing green issues and climate change analyists have reminded people that there may not have been a real change in opinion and those taking a more cynical view may even suggest that this new green sympathy could simply be a bid for more votes. Who would have thought it – politicians changing their mind on fundamental issues simply to garner favour with the electorate!