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In an illuminating piece over at the Atlantic, political reporter Marc Ambinder runs down a list of the Republicans who are most influential in the White House. Predictably, they're mostly the more moderate GOPers that get Obama's ear—but there was something else that formed a common theme amongst them. And that's the fact that most of the Republicans that Obama listens to just so happen to be the greenest ones of the lot.Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins
Topping out the list are the two Republican senators from Maine—they're both more moderate than most of their colleagues, and they're also among the greenest. In fact, Snowe topped out our list of the 6 Greenest Republicans in Office, for her good work in confronting climate issues and proactive stance towards clean energy development. She's also earned the highest marks for Republicans for Environmental Conservation scorecard for two years in a row, and voted for Obama's green stimulus bill.
Obama listens to McCain on national security and torture issues—and they have an established dialogue. Perhaps some of that dialogue could lead to Obama's greener ambitions falling on more sympathetic ears. Sure, he's not the greenest guy on the block ("Drill, Baby, Drill" still echoing in anyone else's head?). But at least he acknowledges the threat of climate change, and favors a cap and trade system (just not this one).
The NY Times conservative columnist is evidently in frequent touch with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and his opinion carries some water. And at least he's one of the few conservative columnists who actually believes in climate change—and he's written in the past that most conservatives "secretly believe" as well. Perhaps he could be useful in getting that secret out into the open.
The Indiana Senator is among the closest to the White House—he worked closely with Obama in the Senate to try to halt nuclear trafficking overseas. Not directly a green project, but it's sure as hell important to the preservation of the environment.
Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Both these Republican governors (Florida and California, respectively) have earned Obama's ear with their greener-than-average policies and their embracing of clean energy. And even though the Governator may close a bunch of CA's state parks because of the never ending budget woes, he's still way greener than many of his peers. In fact, because of their pro-green stances (both made our Green Repub list, too), Obama actually consults the two on the environment directly—and perhaps on how to get greener measures more traction amongst other members of the GOP.