Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Legislating done by ‘easy rider’

Who needs to abide by the law when you've got the lawmakers on your side? If you are the American Sheep Industry Association or the U.S. Cattlemen's Association, just hit speed dial, and "poof," your call goes through to Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho or Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.

What was that you said? You are unhappy with the Forest Service's decision to protect wild bighorn sheep and their plan to reduce grazing on public lands? OK, well let me have a staff member draft some legislation and I'll make sure it gets attached to a must-pass spending bill in Congress. What was that? No there will be no public backlash; America is asleep at the wheel and as chair of the House Appropriations Committee I call the shots at the end of the day. Besides, democracy is dead and public input was a thing of the 1970s, '80s and '90s.

What was that you said? You're pissed off at Judge Donald Molloy's decision to place wolves back on the federal endangered species list? Perfect, because I need to beat Denny Rehberg of Montana in the next election and my rider will allow me to take credit for delisting. What was that? I know wolves account for less than 1 percent of annual cattle loss in the West, but America is gullible and we can blame those radical environmentalists.

Put on your helmet and hold on. It's the United States of Riders.

Brett Haverstick

Moscow, Idaho

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