Let's Do it

Turning the GOP Environmentalist Again

05.10.13 5:34 PM ET

Social conservatives are going to save the GOP on climate policy:

Mother and daughter Roberta and Michele Combs are pillars of the Religious Right. Roberta, president and CEO of the Christian Coalition America, got her start in Republican politics working with celebrated strategist Lee Atwater. Michele, who was named Young Republican of the Year in 1989 and worked as a planner for events such as George W. Bush’s inauguration, is the coalition’s communications director. With their white-blond bouffant hair, penchant for fuchsia lipstick, soft South Carolina accents, and sterling conservative bona fides, the Combses are familiar presences in the ruby-red heart of the GOP establishment.

That’s why it’s so surprising to many that they are tackling climate change. But both women see global warming, and clean air and environmental protection more broadly, as issues that tie into their core conservative mission of protecting family values.

“This is an important issue for the Republican Party,” Roberta Combs says. “At one point in time, this was a Republican issue, but Democrats took it over.”