They don’t make Republicans like they used to. And they sure don’t make them like our former Senator John Warner — honest, gentlemanly, respectful, and willing to take stands that don’t conform to his party’s orthodoxy.
Warner continues to expand his profile in courage even in retirement, as a leader in the effort to make the GOP come to its senses on climate change. As a senior advisor to the Pew Project on National Security, Energy, and Climate Change, Warner is in the front ranks of the campaign by a number of retired Republicans to convince their party leaders and members to pull their heads out of the sand and stop trying to drown scientific reality under Big Oil, Gas and Coal-funded climate denial campaigns.
Among the other brave Republicans in this effort are former Secretary of State George Shultz, ex-Congressmen Sherwood Boehlert and Bob Inglis, and John McCain ’08 advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin. Shultz in particular is credited with helping to defeat the California referendum to overturn that state’s climate change law.
Sadly, it is more common for politicians to show courage in retirement than in office. As the National Journal article hyperlinked above notes, even so-called “maverick” Republicans like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Lisa Murkowski, who used to lead on this issue, are now avoiding it to appease the Tealiban.
But just compare John Warner with another ex-Senator of ours, George Allen, who took the precisely opposite path of selling out to the fossil fuel industries so as to peddle their propaganda. And guess which one of these former Senators is more acceptable to today’s Republicans? Oy, what a party.
All I can say is: Thank you, John Warner. Somewhere, Teddy Roosevelt is smiling at you.