Let's see, checklist for President Barack Obama...
- Stop torture, reclaim moral high ground... check.
- End global gag rule, promote real pro-life agenda... check.
- Bolster states' rights, save planet—
Nope: President Obama has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to revisit a Bush-era regulation that forbade states from setting their own environmental standards. From the East Room...
"For the sake of our security, our economy and our planet, we must have the courage and commitment to change," Obama said in his first formal event in the ornate East Room of the White House.
"It will be the policy of my administration," he said, "to reverse our dependence on foreign oil while building a new energy economy that will create millions of jobs."
California and at least a dozen other states have tried to come up with tougher emission standards than those imposed by the federal government, but Obama said that "Washington stood in their way." The president wants the EPA to take a second look at a decision denying California — and the other states that want to follow its model — permission to set tougher tailpipe emission standards [Ben Feller, "Obama Targets Greenhouse Gases," AP via Yahoo News, 2009.01.26].
In other words, our new Democratic President is signing an order to get Washington out of the way.
I pause in my hearty laughter to ask: Republicans, what platform do you have left? Don't answer yet; no rush. I can wait until 2012 for the response. President Obama certainly can wait: he's too busy right now solving problems.
Update 17:15: And how do the states feel?
Obama's announcement on his seventh day in office delighted California officials who have criticized his predecessor for ignoring the state's long tradition of setting its own air standards.
"For too long, Washington has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to the environment," Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said a news conference at the state capitol. "Now California finally has a partner and an ally in Washington, in the White House" [emphasis mine; Samantha Young and Erica Werner, "Calif. Scores Vindication, Environmental Win," San Francisco Chronicle, 2009.01.26].
Governor Schwarzenegger recognizes some things are more important than party... like breathing.