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The single-issue voter: A birder’s look at Mitt Romney – R

September 20, 2007

It’s that time again. As civic-minded individuals do, I’m oft interested in how the platforms of those running for president affect my life, that’s as a birder naturally. With so many candidates and elections still more than a year off I decided to do the work so you, dear reader(s), don’t have to. So here’s what I hope will be a regular look as those who would be birder-in-chief. Starting with the long-shots and working my way up so that you all will be prepared when the time comes to cast your ballot. The twelfth part of The Drinking Bird’s sixteen part series.

Mitt Romney is that odd combination of Mormon, Republican, and former Governor of Massachusetts. He was also the point man for the Winter Olympics when they were in Salt Lake City. You remember, the corrupt ones. That’s really neither here nor there with regards to birds except for the fact that he put a giant Olympic rings logo the size of 10 football fields in lights on the side of a mountain all the while claiming that because the light bulbs were low energy that it was cool environmentally. I bring that up because there’s really not a lot on ol’ Mitt’s bird platforms. I’m trying to understand where he’s coming from but I have to admit, this guy doesn’t make a lot of sense.

He does support drilling in ANWR as part of what he calls a “no-regrets” energy policy. I’m not sure I like the sound of that. It involves ethanol, biofuel, nuclear power plants and intensified oil and gas exploration, and oh, increased efficiency thrown in as a sidenote. He has plans to implement those first several but none so far to include a real efficiency push, as he opposes increased fuel efficiency standards for autos as its own issue. I looked hard for a statement on habitat conservation but the closest I found was a comment in which he said:

“Unfortunately, some in the Republican Party are embracing the radical environmental ideas of the liberal left. Republicans should never abandon pro-growth conservative principles in an effort to embrace the ideas of Al Gore.”

I don’t really know what that means exactly, but I can assume that “pro-growth” means allowing businesses to do whatever the hell they want to as long as they’re “growing”, and by “they” I mean their wallets.

What’s so odd about all this is that as Governor of Massachusetts, Romney actually had a fair environmental record. He increased penalties and enforcement of the state’s anti-pollution laws, especially in response to the Buzzard Bay oil spill which impacted nearly 100 miles of Massachusetts coastline, killing over 400 seabirds and closing shellfish beds for a year. He teamed up with the EPA to provide beach water testing free of charge for over 60 communities. He regulated mercury emissions and even instigated a green communities initiative to encourage developers to use environmentally-friendly building techniques and smart growth development practices and make all that affordable for normal citizens. So what the hell, Mitt? Why isn’t any of this stuff on your national platform? You can’t even find it anywhere on your website.

The question boils down to which Mitt are you going to get. The bird friendly good Mitt or the gasoholic bad Mitt? That’s the problem, you don’t know. But if I had to take a guess I’d wager on the second bad Mitt, as that’s the face he’s showing lately. Most of his campaign to date has been based on running from his record as Governor of Massachusetts. He may well turn out to be a green republican, but is that a chance you’re willing to take?

Next Tuesday: Getting down the wire with Obamanium!

Update 2/7/08 – Following Super Tuesday, Romney is out of the race


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