In a week’s time, the political climate in America will change–or so the experts tell us.
Pollster Charlie Cook, "the Oracle of Washington," calls this a "wave" election, compares it to l994, and predicts the Republicans will lose "at least 20 to 35 seats, possibly more." In the LATimes, conservative historian Niall Ferguson compares this election to l958. Then a two-term Republican president found himself stuck with an unpopular war and a sluggish economy. The GOP lost 48 seats, setting the stage for a dynamic new Democratic President in l960, and Democratic domination of the Congress for the next twenty years.
If the election goes as these pollsters predict, November 7th will be "the end of George W. Bush’s presidency as he has known it," reported the Washington Post.
Will prospects improve for environmental protection?
Probably. But much will still depend on the Republican Party–and since l994, the Republican Party has largely turned its back on its own imperfect-but-real tradition of care and concern for clean air, clean water, wilderness, national parks and ocean waters.
It’s easy to forget, but once Republican representatives did believe in voting for the health and preservation of the planet. In l964, the Wilderness Act passed by 73-12 in the Senate, and by 373-1 in the House. The Endangered Species Act passed Congress in l973 on a nearly unanimous vote.
In l989, during a shockingly hot shocking hot summer in Washington, D.C., the Senate held hearings on climate change, which featured James Hansen (now something of a movie star). Later a Republican president named Ronald Reagan authorized the creation of a new federal funding organization, the US Global Change Research Program. This executive order was confirmed by H.W. Bush and codified by the Democratic Congress in l990. The USGCRP has spent billions on atmospheric research into the reality and the threat of climate change since.
Contrast this past concern for the natural world with the Rovian GOP of today. Featured in the House is an Orwellian nightmare named Richard Pombo, who claims to want to protect the Endangered Species Act, even as he guts it, attempts to sell off national parks to corporate givers, and calls for drilling along coasts and in wilderness. (Pombo pushed his anti-ESA bill through the House, but it stalled in the Senate, thanks in part due to opposition from moderate Republicans.)
But there’s hope. Pombo and his money-grubbing anti-environmental zeal turn out to be appalling to Republicans, too. Or so I gather from Jim DiPeso, who helps lead the Republicans for Environmental Protection. During an email interview, without any prompting he said bluntly:
Theodore Roosevelt is on Mount Rushmore. Richard Pombo
is not and never will be.
DiPeso is the REP’s policy director. He insists that most Republicans do care about clean air and water, our wilderness, wild creatures, and lovely climate, and will vote to protect to protect the environment. I found his faith heartening, if not always easy to believe.
For the interview, please see the full post at Grist.
In reference to this story, please note also this fully wonderful VoteGuide to the upcoming election in California’s 11th Congressional district, a seat currently held by the Attila the Hun of money-grubbing bribe-er-donation-taking, lie-spewing anti-enviros, who goes by the name of Richard Pombo. According to the non-partisan site, the Republican Party has outspent the Democratic party 13-to-1 on this race, but is trailing in the latest independent poll, according to the Contra-Costa Times, although the race is very close, and well within the margin of error.
One thing for sure: the grassroots are fired up about this race. Check out this protester highlighting Pombo’s chicken-like refusal to debate. Love those chicken feet!