Win This One for the Gipper, by Rabbi Judy Weiss

Sports analogies and metaphors* are a powerful if common presence across many aspects of our lives, from politics to religion to the climate change fight, and beyond. What is uncommon is today’s brilliant guest blog post, “Win This One for the Gipper”, by Rabbi Judy Weiss# of Brookline, MA. Ms. Weiss cleverly uses the language of football to draw a stark contrast between the climate change “game plans” (or lack thereof) of two “squads” of Republicans: The 11 GOP Presidential candidates (all climate change deniers or skeptics or do-nothings) who were on stage at their September 16th debate at the Reagan (aka “The Gipper^”) Library vs. 11 Republican members of Congress who sponsored a resolution in the House which calls for action to fight climate change.


“Win This One for the Gipper”

By Rabbi Judy Weiss (@judyweiss5)


 (Photo credit: Rabbi Judy Weiss)


We’re watching a strange football game. Eleven Republicans, vying for the presidential nomination, stood at Reagan’s Presidential library, denied climate change is happening or denied there’s anything to do. They’re political opponents. But on this issue, they act like a team playing kick-the-can.

Eleven other Republicans, Members of Congress, just sponsored a resolution. They affirm: we’re having increasingly frequent extreme weather including “heat waves, extreme precipitation, wildfires, and water scarcity,” and these events hurt us and foster international unrest. This second team called Congress to support economically wise emissions policies.

Two football-sized squads: one punting the ball away, the other handling the ball, hoping to advance it.

Consider the punters. Senator Marco Rubio opposes emissions programs if they hurt our economy and don’t help the environment. Policies exist that cut emissions and grow the economy. Why doesn’t he focus on them?

Governor Chris Christie was asked about George Shultz’s proposal: revenue-neutral carbon fees that reduce emissions by charging fossil fuel producers fees on emissions from their products. Shultz’s proposal is an easy strategy to limit emissions and grow the economy.

Christie responded: “Everyone makes a mistake once in a while, even George Shultz.” Shultz might make mistakes, but not on basic economics.  Shultz was Reagan’s Secretary of State, Nixon’s Labor Secretary, Director of OMB, and Treasury Secretary. A former  economics professor, Shultz also worked in industry, eventually becoming Bechtel’s president. Economics professors, from Greg Mankiw to Paul Krugman, agree with Shultz on using fees to cut emissions. Not charging fees for harmful emissions creates chaos because our free market fails to price energy properly. Many economists call climate change “the greatest market failure the world has ever seen.” Fixing our market failure with carbon fees is a pro-market policy. Rejecting carbon fees is an anti-market stance.

Do the punters know they’re following an anti-market playbook?

Reagan, The Gipper, wasn’t scared to play football. In 1987, when international cooperation was required to cut emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Reagan used fees to eliminate these emissions. The Gipper never punted at fourth and inches.

Punters ignore advice from businesses. Citigroup recently reported that it’s cheaper to tackle climate change than ignore it. The Council of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, a network of 400 local chambers, supports the EPA’s Clean Power Plan because energy efficiencies and developing renewables create local business opportunities and jobs. Punters ignore businesses, economists, scientists, faithleaders, and Reagan’s legacy. The punting team has gone rogue.

But the Congressional team heeded all those experts and public opinion. They made a bold play in response to anti-job, anti-health, anti-security and anti-market punting strategies.

The Congressional team knows that real conservatives conserve resources and protect our homeland from all threats. Just remember, when they’re moving the ball, and “when the team is up against it . . . tell them to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper.”

For more information, contact Citizens’ Climate Lobby.&  George Shultz is on our advisory board.

* Sports metaphors and analogies, for sure! But what about sports similes? No.
# Rabbi Weiss “grew up in Cleveland Ohio, became a Cleveland Indians fan in elementary school, and am still loyal. I try to root for the Red Sox, but. . .”
^ Ronald Reagan, back in his movie star days, played George Gipp (aka, “The Gipper”), the dying Notre Dame football star, in “Knute Rockne All-American”
& Full disclosure: Both Judy Weiss and Lew Blaustein are volunteer members of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a grass-roots organization whose mission is to create “the political will for a livable world by empowering individuals” to lobby members of Congress (both House and Senate) in support a “Carbon Fee and Dividend” legislative proposal.
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