Saturday, December 1, 2018

R.I.P. George H.W. Bush, the last Republican President I voted for

Last August, I wrote R.I.P. John McCain, the last Republican presidential candidate I voted for.  McCain was never President and I voted for him in 2000, when he ran against George W. Bush, who was one of the reasons I left the Republican Party.  Yesterday, George W. Bush's father George H.W. Bush, the last Republican President I voted for, died.  ABC News paid tribute in Celebrating the life and legacy of George H.W. Bush.

Remembering the 41st president of the United States of America, dead at the age of 94.
The video mentioned one of the reasons I still have some self-respect when I write that I voted for Bush, twice, the Americans with Disabilities Act.*  The Daily Beast mentioned it and other of his actions I still approve of in George H.W. Bush Was a Better Kind of Republican.
He put David Souter on the Supreme Court. He signed the Americans With Disabilities Act. He ordered a temporary ban on certain semiautomatic weapons, costing him the NRA’s support when he sought reelection (and he resigned his membership). He put in place an EPA administrator who actually cared about the environment and wanted to start doing something about climate change 30 years ago.
While the senior Bush was no Al Gore, he did do something about climate change.  In conjunction with the release of National Climate Assessment, Forbes reminded its readers of the elder Bush's role in making that report possible.
The U.S. Global Change Research Program was established during President George H.W. Bush's administration in 1989 by a Presidential Initiative. Congress then mandated further action with the Global Change Research Act of 1990. The law specifically mandated the following key actions: Directs the President to establish an interagency United States Global Change Research Program to improve understanding of global change. Requires the Chairman of the Council, through the Committee, to develop a National Global Change Research Plan for implementation of the Program. Sets forth required Plan contents and research elements, including that the Plan provide recommendations for collaboration within the Federal Government and among nations.
The Surprising Climate And Environmental Legacy Of President George H. W. Bush quoted that passage and added the following.
The Global Change Research Act of 1990, signed by President George H.W. Bush, also "requires the Council, at least every four years, through the Committee, to submit to the President and the Congress an assessment regarding the findings of the Program and associated uncertainties, the effects of global change, and current and major long-term trends in global change."
In the same article, Forbes listed another environmental achievement of the elder Bush and his Administration.
President George H.W. Bush also signed the landmark 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment. The Environmental Protection Agency EPA website points out, "In June 1989 President Bush proposed sweeping revisions to the Clean Air Act. Building on Congressional proposals advanced during the 1980s, the President proposed legislation designed to curb three major threats to the nation's environment and to the health of millions of Americans: acid rain, urban air pollution, and toxic air emissions. The proposal also called for establishing a national permits program to make the law more workable, and an improved enforcement program to help ensure better compliance with the Act."
The Clean Air Act of 1990 with Title VI sought to protect the ozone layer. It specifically required the EPA to regulate  ozone-depleting substances like hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methyl bromide, halons, carbon tetrachloride, hydrobromofluorocarbons, chlorobromomethane, and methyl chloroform.  Many of these things were commonly found in air conditioning refrigerants and spray cans used by the public. As with the current climate change- fossil fuel industry "tug-and-pull," there was push back to the Montreal Protocol and limits on ozone-depleting substances. The Act also ensured the U.S. commitment to the Montreal Protocol.
Without this amendment to the Clean Air Act, the shrinking of the ozone hole over the Antarctic may not have been possible.  For that, I'm grateful.

Of course, there are some things Bush did that I'm still not happy about.  One of them is the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, which I use as the prime example of the revolving door between Monsanto and government.  However, today is not the day to speak ill of the dead.  Instead, it is the day to wish the 41st President of the United States to rest in peace.

*The owner of the bar I used to hang out at in the Irish Hills once said I had to be a liberal because I was an educator.  He ended up being right, but I dodged his remark by telling him that I voted for Bush Senior twice.  He was satisfied with that.

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