Thursday, November 09, 2006

Going Soft

Sensible political analysis is hard to come by in this country at any time, and anything that changes the status quo tends to leave mainstream commentators rolling on the floor and speaking in tongues. Still, most journalists do understand that the unprecedented trouncing of the swaggering faux-cowboy Richard Pombo by an eggheaded wind-energy consultant indicates that as far as energy and environmental issues are concerned, the former things are passed away.

Pombo tends to get lumped in with the "Sagebrush Rebellion," a term appropriated by Joseph Coors, and made holy by Ronald Reagan, in order to put an exquisitely thin populist veneer on the same old corporatist sociopathy that inspired Teddy Roosevelt to say that "every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it."

Being as Pombo's hysterical anti-environmentalism was the alpha and omega of his political philosophy, it'd be reasonable to see his defeat as at least a partial rejection of that philosophy. But Iain Murray won't have it like that. For him, the lesson of 2006 is that "going soft on the environment didn't pay":

In our press release on the election results, CEI points out that most of the Republicans who lost their House seats had embraced environmental causes, to the extent of even getting endorsements from the League of Conservation Voters. Yet no money or help came with those endorsements, surprise, surprise.
No money or help, eh? In the first place, most candidates consider endorsements from high-profile groups like the LCV to be quite helpful, which is why they feature them prominently in ads and on their websites. As for money, my first halfhearted search turned up an LCV donation to Lincoln Chafee. Also, the LCV endorsement page includes a "contribute" link to every endorsed candidate. More to the point, of the 15 congressional Republicans endorsed by LCV, 10 won re-election. By contrast, almost every member of LCV's "Dirty Dozen" was thrown out of office.

But as Ronald Reagan famously said, "Facts are stupid things." Here's hoping that the GOP will follow Murray's thoughtful prescription, and get even tougher on the environment in '08. I'm telling ya, it can't lose!

No comments: