In the 1980s, conservatives often sided with science while progressives demanded punitive actions regardless of benefit or even evidence of a detriment. Alar, for example, was a head scratcher for anyone outside the environmental movement but Meryl Streep was clearly a science authority and so the media put people in a panic.
In the 2000s, the tables turned. Conservatives wanted nothing done despite the science evidence while activists had science on their side.
This decade, however, things have switched again. Anti-agriculture, anti-vaccine, you name it and a progressive group is spending money advocating anti-science positions - and no one has been engaged in a bigger advocacy power grab than the government, which has been using the EPA and the FCC to kill what few jobs are remaining in America.
In the wake of dismal employment numbers, Pres. Barack Obama has decided the economy does not need any more vibrations so he scrapped controversial plans to add on even more smog rules, telling Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson to withdraw new regulations that an overburdened manufacturing sector didn't like, especially with a $90 billion price tag.
With the jobless rate stuck at a historically high 9.1 percent, that is smart politics. His fringe supporters will complain he is 'caving' to Republicans - but saying that makes Republicans seem like the party that cares about jobs and poor people so that is not wise. Pres. Obama needs to be a leader for all people. Pres. Bush implemented much stricter ground-level ozone standards than the Clinton administration had but these new regulations were even tighter still and the actual benefit claim was more controversial.
The fact is, regardless of what he does on sacred cow issues like hurting business to placate environmentalists, his only risk is that some of his base will not vote at all in 2012. His supporters are never going to vote for a Republican so he can afford to 'move to the right' and perhaps resurrect a morose economic landscape before 2012. His same-party detractors may complain but they can't honestly believe a Republican will be better for their positions so making concessions to get jobs moving again, like approving the Keystone XL pipeline and not adding more punitive laws with suspect benefit, is smart.
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