Las Vegas Sun

April 22, 2018

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Sun editorial:

Reid, Sandoval, Clinton and Bush offer leadership worth emulating

On the same day the nation endured yet another blast of idiocy from our president — this one involving the need to make his border wall transparent so that people wouldn’t be hit by bags of drugs being thrown over the existing wall — news out of Carson City and Dallas showed what can happen when responsible leaders are in charge.

The news from Nevada’s capital was an announcement that former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid and Gov. Brian Sandoval would co-host Reid’s annual national clean energy summit this fall.

In Dallas, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush gave a talk that was cordial to the point that Bush referred to Clinton as his “brother with a different mother.”

Cheers to all four of them, starting with Reid and Sandoval for showing solidarity on a critically important cause.

At a time when the Trump administration is waging war on science, backing out of the Paris climate agreement and gutting the Environmental Protection Agency, the fight for clean energy has never been more urgent.

Reid, whose summit will be Oct. 13 in Las Vegas, told the Associated Press that the event “is not a confrontation with Trump.”

“It’s a confrontation with doing something about climate change,” Reid said. “Rather than sitting, fretting about it, let’s all do something about it — individuals can do something about it.”

Sandoval is well-suited to co-host the event. He’s supported solar energy legislation, including the 2017 bill to restore net metering rates for rooftop solar generation, and played a key role in luring the Tesla Gigafactory — whose products include a household battery to store solar energy — to the state.

Although Sandoval has not joined the governors of other states in pledging to uphold the Paris agreement, he has shown on several matters that he’s willing to buck his party to protect the best interests of Nevadans. That includes his ongoing opposition to Republican congressional health care plans, and his status as an early adopter of Medicaid expansion during the Obama administration.

“I’m proud that Nevada is a leader in the clean-energy conversation,” Sandoval said. “The state has a history of collaboration and thoughtful discourse, which results in effective policymaking, and the summit will provide a platform for energy leaders to come together to discuss new ideas and share best practices.”

As for Clinton and Bush, stories about their appearance reflect a genuine appreciation between the two. Newsweek described it as a “three-hour love-in,” saying the men bonded “because the other had been gracious in victory and respectful of presidential power.”

At a time when politicians from both parties are behaving shamefully, helping broaden ideological divisions between Americans, it was pleasant to see the leaders treating each so respectfully. Granted, it’s easy for leaders to preach against partisanship when they no longer have to answer to voters or to their parties, but Clinton and Bush deserve praise for encouraging dialogue between political foes.

“One of the things that is wrong with America today, that bothers me more than anything else about our future, is we have separated ourselves into like-minded communities,” Clinton said. “Diverse groups make better decisions than homogeneous ones. Everyone knows that, but they almost can’t help themselves.”

Neither Clinton nor Bush discussed Donald Trump by name, but at times they seemed to allude to him.

“If you want to be president, realize it’s about the people, not about you,” Clinton said. “You want to be able to say ‘things were better off when I quit, kids had a better future, things were coming together.’ You don’t want to say, ‘God, look at all the people I beat.’”

Bush, in describing the quality most needed in a president, said “humility.”

“I think it’s really important to know what you don’t know and listen to people who do know what you don’t know,” he said.

Trump could learn a lot from his predecessors.

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