David Frum

08.20.12

Young Conservatives Discover Climate Change

As recently as 2010, major Republican leaders such as Lindsey Graham were comfortable proposing (although not passing) market-based solutions to climate change. That was largely swept away with the Tea Party, but the hints of a comeback are emerging. From National Journal, the tale of two young conservatives attempting to create safer conditions for GOP politicians to vote on climate-change issues:

It’s in that atmosphere that the two cofounders of Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, Michele Combs and Brian Smith, hope to make a difference in their party’s approach to energy. Both have rock-solid conservative bona fides.

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The group hopes to work closely with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has strong ties to the Christian Coalition and who in 2010 teamed with Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., on a sweeping climate-change bill. But although Graham has frequently expressed the need to tackle energy and climate-change issues, he pulled his support from the bill before it was introduced. And it’s likely to be tougher for him to go out on a limb on issues that inflame his party as he looks toward a Senate primary race in 2014.

Smith said he doesn’t expect the group to present specific climate and energy legislative proposals, at least at the outset, but rather to try to simply fire up young conservatives on the issues. “We want to help conservatives feel comfortable taking tough votes and not getting shot down if they support clean-energy technology.”