Politics Beauty and the Beast
Goldy over at HorsesAss disagrees with me for taking Cantwell to task for basically cheerleading Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne’s nomination for Secretary of the Interior. Click the link to read the whole thing. Here’s a chunk:
Many of us inhabitants of the liberal blogosphere like to say that we are part of the “reality-based community,” the implication being that our counterparts on the right are not. And yet, the right’s growing dominance over the past couple decades suggests that at least when it comes to electoral politics it is they who are more grounded in reality than us….
Case in point, Sen. Maria Cantwell and the constant chatter from WA’s angry left, bemoaning the fact that she doesn’t meet our unrealistic expectations… all this wailing and gnashing over her failure to stop a war she couldn’t stop or her refusal to join a filibuster that could not win. And then there’s The Stranger’s Cienna Madrid and her fellow environmentalists over on Slog, who just can’t hold back their contempt for the environmental record of one of the most reliably pro-environment members of the Senate.
Cantwell’s transgression? She “welcomed” Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne’s nomination to be Secretary of the Interior, telling the New York Times that he “understands the Northwest and a lot of Interior issues,” and has “stood up to the administration” over nuclear waste cleanup at a federal facility in Idaho.
Oh Cienna… get real.
Goldy, honey, I like you. You’re old, wise, and there is no denying that you’re on top of your shit when it comes to Washington politics. But I think you’ve missed the mark on this one a bit.
Yes, Cantwell’s got a green thumb. From what I’ve read, she’s been an outstanding environmental advocate. In 2005, The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) scored her at 90%. The environment is an arena where she has, in the past, taken a clearly defined role as leader—a role she shouldn’t be compromising with Kempthorne poised to become Secretary of the Interior.
Which is what I believe she did last Friday by chattering “welcome!” and declaring that Kempthorne “understands the Northwest and a lot of Interior issues.”
Kempthorne is not a man who cares shit about the environment, and no, his nomination wasn’t a surprise. But Cantwell’s response came out of left field.
Goldy, passion and analysis are not mutually exclusive. And in my opinion, passion is what Democrats are missing (and I don’t think you disagree). Democrats think and act too defensively; they are too concerned with placating conservatives, and Cantwell appears to be swimming with the tide.
Here’s what the LCV had to say about Kempthorne:
“During his career in Congress, Governor Kempthorne earned a paltry 1 percent lifetime LCV score. Enough said.”
Terse and to the point, as Cantwell should have been.
I didn’t expect her to give Dirk the finger, or rip open her shirt, revealing “The Environment or Bust” written on her heaving, award-winning bosom. That’s my job. No one has to take me seriously, and I’ve never had to win a popularity (or bathing suit) contest. I’m sure both are mighty stressful. But jesus christ, Cantwell could have easily (and gracefully) taken a tougher stance without pissing off her enviro-loving constituents or the (ack!) Kempthorne crowd. Something along the lines of, “Even though Governor Kempthorne and I have disagreed on environmental issues such as ANWR drilling and roadless wilderness development, I remain committed to these issues and I will work with [that sweaty little chode] on resolving them to the best of my abilities.”
You see that? No need for, “Kempthorne understands Northwest Issues! Ra ra ra!”
She’s a politician, not a cheerleader. It made me gag. It still does.
Because if Cantwell is really committed to the environment, she and Kempthorne are going to clash—soon. Right after he’s finished getting his nails buffed. Kempthorne is not someone who works well with others when it comes to the environment. If you recall, he “invited” the EPA to leave Idaho over an altercation concerning Couer d’Alene Basin clean up.
If Cantwell is intent on defending ANWR drilling and pushing the Roadless Conservation Act, she’s in for a fight. Dirk’s agenda consists of drilling, opening up roadless wilderness areas for development, and getting his eye brows cartoonishly tweezed on a regular basis. That’s about it. He’s a pompous Idaho playboy who is at best, incompetent, and at worst, weasely and chode-like.
So I guess I don’t understand: Why placate someone like that? Why kiss ass, when sooner rather than later Cantwell should be foiling Kempthorne’s plans to brand his name into every mountain in the northwest and drill the earth until it squeals like a pig?
Yeah, I’m young. Most of the time, I’d prefer to be discussing puppies, sex, or something shiny rather than dwelling on Kempthorne or the havoc that [sweaty chode] is about to wreak on a national level. I’ve got a lot to learn, and it seems that if I want to become a mature liberal democrat, I’ve got a lot to lose—like my spine, and a healthy dose of passion.