Tuesday, November 25, 2014

DEMOCRATS VERSUS THE ENVIRONMENT by Phil Goodstein - December 2014 Naysayer

Washington has again acted to protect Colorado from state officials backed by environmentalists. In particular, the
United States Fish and Wildlife Service, drawing on the Endangered Species Act which passed under the Richard Nixon administration with the support of the Republican president, has declared the Gunnison sage grouse an endangered species. This decree to protect a local animal and its natural habitat has particularly provoked the ire of Governor John Hickenlooper. Sounding just like a states’ right Democrat, he has yelled that Washington is interfering with Colorado’s ability to destroy the climate and obliterate its wildlife. He echoes the laments of Roy Romer and Federico Peña 25 years ago when the Environmental Protection Agency ruled Two Forks Dam was an ecologically devastating project that violated the most basic laws guarding the integrity of the earth. In the process, George Bush I came across as a sterling environmentalist compared to those Democratic officeholders backed by the likes of the Sierra Club.

Particularly obscene in the sage grouse controversy is the comment of recently defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall. He claims that Washington’s action is an attack on “science-based progress.” This comes from a man who primarily gained his place in Washington as a dynastic Democrat. From the beginning of his political career, the carpetbagger Udall has more played on the fact that his father was a foremost environmentalist than any personal contributions he ever made in the field. Moreover, it is illustrative of why Udall so deserved defeat. In seeking to remain in the Senate, this environmentalist champion was wishy-washy for the Keystone Pipeline, stating he supported it with reservations. As such, he showed he did not merit the slightest support from those who care about the earth or science. (After his defeat, Udall voted against the crassest of Democratic party schemes to support Keystone.)
Udall might well have lost his seat had he campaigned on a platform of principle. Still, had he gone down fighting for a cause, he would have had a legacy and provided hope and vision for those seeking to preserve the earth. As it is, not until after the returns were in did he raise his strongest point: questions about the omnipresent spying of the Barack Obama regime, complete with the president’s intolerant attack on dissent and effort to imprison whistleblowers who have exposed the administration’s crimes. Even at that, rather than boldly leading on the issue, Udall has continually backtracked. Far from using his senatorial powers to publish reports revealing the White House’s dirty deeds, he has sought to compromise to assure they do not see the light of day. Such cowardice on the part of the Democratic Party as a whole is another reason why it has continually lost office.
In part, the Democrats’ defeat stemmed from their arrogant scorning of their constituencies. Many workers and members of racial and ethnic minorities sat on their hands rather than re-electing those who had fully embraced the Wall Street agenda. Not even the environmentalist establishment eagerly rallied to the colors of the likes of Hickenlooper and Udall. Of course, it offered no alternative. If anything, the Democrats’ defeat simply opens the door for the Republicans to do even worse in Washington whereby some hideous candidate such as Hillary Clinton will appeal to the most gullible of environmentalists and liberals in two years.
The election was both a total triumph of the system and its rejection. For instance, voters said no to a candidate for governor who is a fanatical champion of fracking even while they endorsed such a contender. They rejected a man apologizing for American military adventurism in the Middle East while selecting a candidate who readily believes bombs are the solution to everything. As it was, neither the victor in the Senate or governor’s race was able to win a majority of the electorate.
Not only were none of the obvious developments reported in postelection coverage, but, as is its wont, the Denver Post was so shallow in its coverage that it failed to provide specific numbers of the voting. It completely ignored such races as the RTD board of directors, the University of Colorado board of regents, and judicial retention contests. The message was blunt: voting and elections do not matter.
(The Naysayers will meet at Javier’s, northwest corner of W. 38th Avenue and Tennyson Street, Saturday, December 6, 4:30 PM.)


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