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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Top Bush Guy for Huntsman

Mark Halperin reports at Time that C. Boyden Gray is endorsing Huntsman and will chair his policy team. Halperin calls the endorsement "a semiotic dog whistle for a lot of big-time bundlers."

Gray's public role could draw attacks over the issue of cap-and-trade. As The Smithsonian reported a couple of years ago, Gray was an early advocate of a version of cap-and-trade:
EDF president Fred Krupp phoned Bush's new White House counsel—Boyden Gray—and suggested that the best way for Bush to make good on his pledge to become the "environmental president" was to fix the acid rain problem, and the best way to do that was by using the new tool of emissions trading. Gray liked the marketplace approach, and even before the Reagan administration expired, he put EDF staffers to work drafting legislation to make it happen. The immediate aim was to break the impasse over acid rain. But global warming had also registered as front-page news for the first time that sweltering summer of 1988; according to Krupp, EDF and the Bush White House both felt from the start that emissions trading would ultimately be the best way to address this much larger challenge.
But Gray has been highly critical of recent cap-and-trade legislation, as he wrote in 2010:

As noted, the White House and the sponsors of the Waxman-Markey legislation passed last year prominently asserted that their proposals were based on the successful acid rain cap and trade program by the CAAA in 1990. But the acid rain reduction and other successes based on it did not involve the impossibly complicated $1 trillion auction/tax/allowance reallocation scheme that Waxman-Markey features, as a result of the political logrolling necessary to secure the close 219-212 House vote.

To the contrary, all previous cap and trade programs have been based on an annual reduction of allowances initially allocated on the basis of an average of previous emissions that were well documented -- a simple formula that has been totally abandoned by Waxman-Markey.

Gray was also an advocate for the disabled. Mary Lou Breslin, cofounder of a disability-rights group, recalls that Gray first started working on the issue when he was in the Office of the Vice President during the 1980s:

But at this early stage, in the sort of '81 to '83 period, his general counsel was C. Boyden Gray. Boyden Gray played bridge with Evan Kemp, and we were hanging out at Evan Kemp's house. Basically, we made friends--"friends" is a reasonable thing to say, although there's a lot of backlash about hanging out with the Republicans these days--we developed a personal relationship with Boyden Gray. Over a period of years, and certainly at the very beginning, Boyden got convinced that disability issues were legitimate civil rights issues and was very influential in reversing the task force's intent to deregulate 504 particularly. He had a very big hand in running interference between the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Justice and the task force, and he remained Bush's general counsel when he became president.
So the early seeds that were planted with Boyden Gray in terms of disability as a legitimate civil rights issue were personal experiences. He sat around the table with Bob and Pat and Evan, and to a lesser extent, me, and we got to hear the stories about everybody's experiences growing up with disability. Evan got out of law school and applied to seventy-five jobs or something and couldn't get a job because he had a disability. I'm sure it was because he used a wheelchair. Nobody would hire him. Boyden was moved by that, because they're both good old Southern boys and they both went to law school. He began to understand what that might mean. He was developing a perception of these issues, and that single contact and that shift--not alone, by any means; there are four or five other absolutely critical things that happened--but that was an incredibly important contact.