Wild lands are at risk
If environmentalists welcomed President
Clinton’s attention to Western states, they surely should shudder at the
sort of attention President Bush soon will give.
Whereas Clinton acted as a guardian of the
environment, Bush is of a mind to be the guardian of commercial interests
who’re itching to exploit Western land tied up as parks and wilderness
It’s not just oil interests, which
onetime Texas wildcatter Bush has promised to help by opening the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge.
Lumber, mining and ranching interests are
standing in line for their share of lands they’ll lobby Bush to unlock.
And it’ll be no surprise if real estate developers in "hot"
growth resort communities—ski resorts, such as Sun Valley--also plead
for opening of public lands for more condos and estate homes to satisfy
How ironic if Bush meets those demands. The
progenitor of America’s spectacular collection of parks and wilderness
areas was an icon of the Republican Party, President Theodore Roosevelt,
whose vision of nearly 100 years ago may fall victim to another Republican’s
If political statesmanship seems in short
supply, pettiness of political party drones is the cause.
Idaho Republican Party chairman Trent Clark
is an exemplar of political small-mindedness. Clark denounced Boise Mayor
Brent Coles for participating in honoring President Clinton for his work
with the nation’s mayors. Mind you, Mayor Coles was chairman of the
prestigious, non-partisan U.S. Conference of Mayors and as such was
obliged to handle official activities, no matter what he might think of
But Idaho GOP mouthpiece Clark would
stomach none of that. The fact that Clinton’s policies were good for
cities and that Mayor Coles has national obligations were irrelevant to
Clark, whose party-first mentality should embarrass intelligent
Republicans. Clark would’ve had Mayor Coles refuse to present the mayors’
honor to Clinton in protest, and thus bring undeserved national curiosity
about the mentality of Idaho Republicans. Mayor Coles ignored Clark,
upheld his duties and presented the tribute to Clinton.
Thinking Republicans should applaud Mayor
Coles, but worry about party mouthpiece Trent Clark’s next adolescent
Henry Kissinger said it best –
"Power is the great aphrodisiac." That probably explains the
mindless, reckless sexual behavior of Bill Clinton, the Rev. Jesse
Jackson, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and a string of lesser political
lights and televangelists who believed they could betray their public and
marital trusts with adulterous affairs.
Clinton’s peccadillo with Monica Lewinsky
was the most outrageous. His years of denials cost taxpayers tens of
millions of dollars in investigation and prosecution expenses, plus the
national humiliation of an impeachment and trial, and probably helped deny
Vice President Gore the presidency.
If there’s any public satisfaction,
albeit scant, it’s that the first paragraph of these men’s histories
and obituaries will first note scandalous behavior that sullied their
records rather than any good they achieved.
They each also proved that stupidity
survives even among the privileged.