Just a good day’s work in the new Senate

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As a follow-up to yesterday’s environmental email, here’s a good roundup of the Republican foxes who will “guard” the Senate hen house for the next two years and what’s in store for us all. It’s exactly the sort of piece that a major paper like the New York Times, the Washington Post or the Los Angeles Times should be well set up to do. But — here’s a shock — the piece appeared in the far more marginal The American Prospect magazine. My best guess is that, while gearing up to vaccinate the nation against smallpox, the Bush administration first launched a secret test program to vaccinate the media against synthesis. After all, this shouldn’t be complicated stuff for Washington reporters to do.

When it happens at all, you’re likely to find it on op-ed pages, as in today’s funny and on target Maureen Dowd column, “Disco Dick Cheney,” that reads in part,

“On Monday Mr. Bush again heeded Mr. Cheney and chose a Ford official to be Treasury secretary (replacing the Ford official who was just fired from the job) to work with the Ford official who is Fed chairman. Yesterday he chose an old Ford hand as head of the S.E.C. And we have the recrudescence of the secretary of state under Ford and Nixon, Henry Kissinger.

“Ford was the Fillmore of our time….Trent Lott may want to turn the clock back to Jim Crow.

“Mr. Cheney just wants to go back to a time before Vietnam and Watergate, when there was more government secrecy and less moral relativism. The administration is chockablock with people who kept the public and Congress in the dark on foreign intrigue….Maybe instead of worrying about American children who don’t do history lessons, we should worry about American presidents who don’t care about the lessons of history.”

To read more of this article from the New York Times, click here.

A friend made the following clever suggestion this morning before reading Dowd:

“Couldn’t some savvy journalist compile a list of Nixon-Ford former officials who could be revived by the present White House, a sort of aide-memoire to indicted co-conspirators, in case Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld has forgotten any of them. Call it ‘Round up the usual suspects.’ Ollie North? Ed Meese? John Sununu? Nostalgia time. It could be a very funny op-ed piece if done quickly and it wouldn’t take much work. Surely Poindexter, Kissinger, Abrams & Co are just the tip of the iceberg.”

I say again. Anyone could do it. The question is, why not our major newspapers? Tom

Put a Face on Your Fears
The apprehensive citizen’s guide to the new Republican committee chairmen of the U.S. Senate-and what they have in store for us
By Drake Bennett and Alex Gourevitch, December 6, 2002, The American Prospect

1. A Planet at Risk

The Committee on Environment and Public Works:

James Jeffords (I-Vt.) to James Inhofe (R-Okla.)

The biggest and probably the most calamitous shift in committee chairmen will occur in the Environment Committee. There, greens see red when they contemplate James Inhofe, who is set to take over from James Jeffords. “When voters went to the polls they didn’t vote for people who were going to weaken environmental protections, but that’s what they’ve gotten,” says Alys Campaigne, legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “If you look at the leadership, if you look at Inhofe, [you realize that] it’s payback time for big industry.” Inhofe received a rating of absolute 0 percent from the environmental League of Conservation Voters (LCV) in 1999 and 2000. (Jeffords received LCV ratings of 89 percent and 71 percent, respectively, for those two years.)

To read more of this article from The American Prospect, click here.