A bit of historical revisionism occurred recently. Dozens of news outlets, including Fox Nation, and dozens of conservative blogs were repeating the same inaccurate headline verbatim (or nearly): “Obama Administration to Ban Asthma Inhalers Over Environmental Concerns“. Little Green Footballs debunks the story handily. But, it’s emblematic of a larger problem, a culture of lying, and revising established fact-based history.
Oliver Willis catches one conservative trying to backtrack without admitting the error and calls it as he sees it:
This is how a liar operates. This is your modern conservative movement, in action.
I heartily agree.
The headline and article make it appear as if the policy to ban certain asthma inhalers is the creation of the Obama White House. The truth is that it’s not an Obama Administration initiative, but one begun under Ronald Reagan and Congress with ratification of the Montreal Protocol in 1987. Prior to Obama being president of course. It’s simply been upheld by each White House and Congress since 1987, including Clinton and two Bush’s, and Obama.
The ban on inhalers by Ronald Reagan and the Congress and subsequently upheld by future administrations is good economics, and good environmental policy. That’s why it’s been such a strong bipartisan policy.
Here is a link to the 1988 statement by then President Ronald Reagan affirming his support of the Montreal Protocol. Reagan’s own words:
I am pleased to sign the instrument of ratification for the Montreal protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer. The protocol marks an important milestone for the future quality of the global environment and for the health and well-being of all peoples of the world. Unanimous approval of the protocol by the Senate on March 14th demonstrated to the world community this country’s willingness to act promptly and decisively in carrying out its commitments to protect the stratospheric ozone layer from the damaging effects of chlorofluorocarbons and halons, but our action alone is not enough.
(Via the University of Texas Reagan Archives.)
In 2008, the Bush Administration opted to adhere to the Montreal Protocol and ban certain CFC emissions including Epinephrine which is a component of asthma inhalers.
Also, it’s worth nothing that both initiatives were passed when Reagan and GW Bush were lame duck presidents, in the last month of their last terms, traditionally a time when policy unpopular with the voting base is passed, thus making the potential political liability non-existent.