Conservative group's ads ask Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh audience: What would Reagan do about climate change?

Read time: 4 mins

Radio ads airing in New Hampshire during the Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck shows ask the question “What would Reagan do” about climate change? 

Despite the anti-environmental rants typically emanating from the right wing’s favorite media darlings Beck and Limbaugh, the new ad campaign launched by Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP) seeks to remind conservatives that stewardship, including action to address climate change, is consistent with true conservative values.

The ads feature a Reagan quote that few Republicans would likely recognize as coming from the mouth of the Gipper:
“If we’ve learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. Our physical health, our social happiness, and our economic well-being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources.”  - Ronald Reagan, July 11, 1984

The ads started running in New Hampshire last week and will run in other states in the coming weeks as REP takes the issue straight into the lion’s den by targeting the audiences of the two well-recognized mouthpieces of the Right in the U.S. 

“We are reminding the public, and especially our fellow conservatives, that despite what they hear from talk radio showmen, climate change is real and conservatives have, as Reagan said, ‘a great moral responsibility’ to take prudent action in defense of future generations,” REP’s vice president for policy and communication Jim DiPeso said in a news release about the ads.

“We especially want people to remember Reagan’s leadership in negotiating the Montreal Protocol treaty, which began the phase-out of ozone depleting chemicals and has done more to safeguard the earth’s atmosphere than any other law or treaty ever passed,” DiPeso said.

Along with the radio ad campaign, REP and its sister organization ConservAmerica have launched to explain why responsible stewardship of the climate is a conservative act that the Right should be proud of.

And, for the record, don’t forget that both George Bush Sr. and Jr. knew that climate change is real too.

During his campaign for president in 1988, George H.W. Bush said:
“Those who think we are powerless to do anything about the greenhouse effect forget about the ‘White House effect’; as president, I intend to do something about it.” If elected, Bush promised: “We will talk about global warming and we will act.”

George W. Bush, 2008 interview with Politico:
Q Mr. President, for the record, is global warming real?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it is real, sure is.

George W. Bush, 2007 State of the Union Address:
“America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change.” 

Not that either President Bush did anything helpful to stop climate change, in fact quite the opposite, but they clearly did recognize the problem.  Beck and Limbaugh? Not so much.

Here is another Reagan quote that conservatives should take to heart:

“What is a conservative after all but one who conserves, one who is committed to protecting and holding close the things by which we live…And we want to protect and conserve the land on which we live – our countryside, our rivers and mountains, our plains and meadows and forests. This is our patrimony. This is what we leave to our children. And our great moral responsibility is to leave it to them either as we found it or better than we found it.” - Ronald Reagan, remarks at dedication of National Geographic Society new headquarters building, June 19, 1984

Listen for REP’s ads on the Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck shows on the following New Hampshire stations: WGIR (610 AM) Manchester/Nashua, WGIN (930 AM) Rochester, WQSO (96.7 FM) Portsmouth, WKBK (1290 AM) Keene, and WNTK (99.7 FM) New London.

Get DeSmog News and Alerts


It is wonderful to see that there are still conservatives who can look beyond party doctrine to see that the environment is apolitical. Even if they come up with solutions that are right-wing in nature, it would be way more constructive than simple head-in-the-sand denial.