President Obama returning the name of the United States’ tallest mountain from Mount McKinley to Denali has sparked a name-game feud, most recently Republicans under attack by an influential liberal PAC that is setting its sights on Ronald Reagan National Airport.
The group, CREDO Action, the political arm of San Francisco-based cellphone company Credo Mobile, is behind the effort with a petition drive.
“Tell John Boehner: Rename Ronald Reagan Airport,” the group writes on its webpage seeking petition signatures. “President Obama just took a small but important step for recognizing the history, culture, and human rights of America’s Native Americans when he decided to rename …. Mount McKinley in Alaska. But right-wing extremists in the Republican party, including House Speaker Rep. John Boehner, don’t see it that way.”
Within hours of the Obama administration announcing late Sunday that the president was removing the name of William McKinley, American’s 25th president and an Ohio Republican, Boehner and other Ohio Republicans were expressing their disapproval.
Boehner said he was “deeply disappointed” in this decision.
And Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman tweeted that he also was “disappointed” with Obama’s decision, announced ahead of the president's trip this week to Alaska where he tried to garner support for his climate change agenda.
The PAC raised $4 million during the 2014 election cycle. Of the $400,062 spent in connection with congressional races, $355,000 was against Republican candidates, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Credo Action states on its homepage that its mission is in part to fund progressive nonprofits.
The groups also states that during its 4-year history it has raised more than $79 million for hundreds of nonprofits including Democracy Now! and Planned Parenthood -- “efforts made possible by the revenues from our mobile phone company.”
The group had more than 52,400 signatures as of Saturday afternoon, toward its goal of 75,000.
News of the petition was reported first by the Washington, D.C.-based blog PrinceofPetworth.com.
This is not the first time the airport’s name, or renaming, has sparked partisan disagreement.
Just this spring, The Washington Post conducted a survey of area residents on the issue. It found 72 percent of Republicans said they refer to the airport as “Reagan” or “Reagan National,” while only 35 percent of Democrats acknowledged the airport by that name.
“Given Speaker Boehner’s current outrage and disappointment at President Obama’s decision to rename Mount McKinley, it’s time to give him the opportunity to make up for his own past mistakes,” the petition drive also states. “Sign the petition and tell John Boehner he needs to be consistent when it comes to naming America’s landmarks.”
The group also says its “history-making Pledge of Resistance … was a major factor in delaying the approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.”