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The single-issue voter: A wrap-up

October 9, 2007

It’s been an interesting journey from the time I decided to look at how the platforms of the presidential candidates affected birders and birds, leading to the first profile of Mike Gravel and eventually the grind of looking at every single candidate, incidentally something I’ve never really done before as a voter. I was surprised at some, disappointed of others and intrigued by the level of vitriol some my thoughts on some candidates brought my way. I admit to a fair amount of bias but all in all, I can’t help but be a bit disappointed in the state of the American political process regardless of the party. It’s hard to have a whole lot of confidence in a system where ideas are discounted in favor of money raised and some indefinable quality of “buzz”. When one reads stories about the candidates in the main-stream media it’s all about who raised the most money this quarter and what voters base reactions are rather than a real conversation about the plans intended to make the country better. Environmental platforms seem to be a microcosm of all that, with concrete step-by-step actions taking a backseat to banal, tired talking points about energy independence and protecting America’s natural heritage. I mean, who can be against that, right? No one, and that’s the point.

So in the interest of governmental oversight, here’s my list of candidate for both parties in the reverse order in which their environmental platform is deemed bird-friendly. This is entirely my opinion so take it with whatever bias you want to. First the Republicans:

  • Fred Thompson – Ok, fine, this really is just to tick off that wing-nut who came onto my blog after I wrote Thompson’s profile. But in all seriousness, he’s the king of the banal talking point I mentioned. A folksy, tough guy persona does not an enviro make. Update – Thompson is out. Good riddance.
  • Rudy Giuliani – Privatized the parks and sprayed insecticide all over his city. Loves to take on the “green freaks”. Nuff said. Update – Rudy is out, after running an awful campaign
  • Sam Brownback – Conservative Christians don’t have much to say on the environment. Who knew? – Update – Brownback is out of the race
  • Tom Tancredo – Borders walls are bad for birds. So is oil and gas exploration in protected areas. He’s for both of them. Update – Tancredo is out of the race
  • Ron Paul – Sorry Pauliacs, or Ronnonites or whatever. I like Paul as a candidate, but not as a president. It’s simply a disagreement as to the role of government as a environmental steward.
  • Mitt Romney – Which Mitt will you get? The green governor or the oil-happy presidential candidate? Survey says… the bad one. Update – Romney is gone
  • John McCain – Legacy of Teddy Roosevelt? Probably not, but not far off. Better then the average Republican, which isn’t saying much, but bumps him up in this field.
  • Mike Huckabee – The best of a sorry bunch. Has shown interest in preserving habitat for public use. Wants to drill for oil offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, maybe the Atlantic, but other then that he’s a decent candidate, and Drinking Bird approved. Update- Huckabee is out

Now the Dems:

  • Hillary Clinton – The leader in the polls is the leader in environmentally questionable platforms. Too much emphasis on ethanol, biofuel, and clean coal and none on habitat conservation and preservation. Her ties to the energy industry are troubling as well.
  • John Edwards – Mountaintop removal mining? Nuclear waste storage? And a history of overlooking environmental safeguards in the face of industry. Not a great record, neighbor. Update – Edwards is out of the race
  • Chris Dodd – Not bad, but nothing special here. The party line isn’t going to be enough to make your mark in this field. Too much ethanol talk, not enough efficiency and conservation talk. No habitat talk. Update – Dodd has dropped out
  • Joe Biden – Love the debt relief for forest conservation plan, just the sort of forward thinking environmental programs we need, but not enough on anything else. Update – Biden is out of the race
  • Barack Obama – Best of the top-tier candidates, and has some interesting ideas as to re-framing the environmental movement to get more people of all walks of life involved. Wants to restore the Bush administration’s cuts to environmental programs, but could do more.
  • Mike Gravel – Good plans, ties to oil industry a little worrying but understands that dealing with development is going to be the major environmental issue of the day. It gets to the heart of every problem we have to deal with.
  • Bill Richardson – Good points on water conservation, a topic near to my heart these days. Excellent record with regard to protecting habitat in NM. Pretty good actually but not enough to compete with… Update – Richardson is out
  • Dennis Kucinich – Hits all the high points, has a comprehensive platform on his website, and understands environmentalism as an ethos rather then appearing to pander to a focus group. The real deal in my mind, it’s just too bad he’s not doing better. This guy has the Drinking Bird endorsement. Honestly though, compared to the other side, nearly all the Dems do. But in the event of a Clinton – Huckabee race, I think I’d have to give the endorsement to Huckabee. That kind of makes me sick to my stomach, but so does Hillary’s environmental record. Update – Kucinich is out, a another bad election year for the environment.

So that’s it unless another big-name candidate comes out. I don’t in any way believe that anything I wrote would have an impact on anyone’s vote, but I do hope I’ve opened some eyes to a campaign issue that doesn’t get a whole lot of press. It’s been illuminating for me at least. Thanks for your comments and thoughts everybody (except the Fred Thompson jerk).

Go Democracy!

One Comment
  1. Larry permalink
    January 2, 2008 7:16 pm

    Thanks for the informative post.-I haven’t spent too much time researching the candidates yet so this was helpful.-Unfortunately some of the best candidates never stand a chance.

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