Thursday, June 16, 2011

Environmental SmackDown: Green Politics in the 2012 Presidential Campaign

Last week, the former Secretary of the Interior in the Clinton Administration twice threw down on President Obama, angered that the current administration has not stood up to House Republicans, who've been busily gutting sacrosanct environmental regulations and the budgets needed to enforce them. Each time, Babbitt used the same term to denounce the White House: he called them munchkins. However mild (ok, laughable) the dismissive, Babbitt's message apparently got through. The current Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, promised last Thursday that the administration is going to redouble its efforts to pass a package of wilderness legislation this congressional session; his announcement effectively makes the status of the public lands an issue in the run up to the 2012 campaign. The setting of his announcement was not by happenstance. Salazar proclaimed the administration's new intentions at the Wilderness Society's annual awards dinner in Washington at which Babbitt was honored with the Ansel Adams Prize for his staunch defense of the public lands during his tenure at Interior (and what a tenure--he may be its second-most successful administrator after the legendary Harold Ickes, who served from 1933-1946). Wise to the ways of Washington, Babbitt copped a wait-and-see attitude: "Ken, I want you to know that when I used the word munchkins, I wasn't referring to anybody in the Interior Department," the former Arizona governor said after he picked up his prize. "But I can't say the same thing about the crowd at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."...more

No comments: