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George W. Bush is not a conservative.

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
April 4, 2001


"Our government is like a rich and foolish spendthrift who has inherited a magnificent estate in perfect order, and then has left his fields and meadows, forests and parks to be sold and plundered and wasted." — John Muir

Once and for all let's thoroughly put an end to the linguistic slight of hand that allows narrow minded greed mongers to call themselves conservatives, when nothing could be farther from the truth. According to Webster's a conservative is one whose principles, methods, and habits are moderate and cautious. And as we have recently learned the only thing moderate about our Polluter in Chief is his limited education.

At the time the Republican Party was founded in 1854 it was considered liberal due to it's promotion of progressive causes such as opposition to slavery. Republicans passed the first Civil Rights Act which recognized African Americans as full citizens in 1866. Other liberal accomplishments made possible by early Republicans were the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act of 1904. Helping women achieve the right to vote, and drafting legislation designed to keep corporations in check were also to their credit. My how things change.

It was Theodore Roosevelt who brought conservation to the conservatives. The only progressive president of the 20th century Teddy the rough rider had his faults, namely his propensity to derive pleasure from shooting things. Remembered as the conservation president it's rather ironic Vice President Roosevelt was hiking with his family in the Adirondacks when he was notified that President McKinley had been assassinated.  

The Twenty-sixth president gave Americans a square deal. Breaking apart corporate monopolies, Standard Oil to name but one, while creating the Commerce and Labor Department. Mr. Roosevelt also signed legislation establishing five national parks, as well as the Antiquities Act of June 8, 1906. The Antiquities Act enables the Executive office to proclaim "historic landmarks, prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest" as national monuments.

Defining what it means to be a compassionate conservative President Roosevelt created 18 national monuments including Devils Tower, Muir Woods, The Grand Canyon, and Mount Olympus. As champion of the Audubon set he created the first federal bird reservation at Pelican Island, Florida. The Roosevelt administration gave America 51 bird reservations. He is also convened the first conference of Governors to consider problems of conservation, and then appointed a National Conservation Commission. Theodore Roosevelt was Green before it was even a concept, how cool is that.

Now let's jump ahead a hundred years to the current Republican administration which no longer resembles the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Gone are the days of a populist party that looked out for the disenfranchised. In it's place is a political party which is both pimp and prostitute to corporate interests. God and Greed has twisted the Grand ol Party into the very thing its founders struggled against.

 There is absolutely nothing conservative about the Bush Administration. The Shrub and his puppet masters are quite blatant in their contempt for the natural world. No matter how many American flags they wave, nothing can hide the fact they are planning systematic rape of the worlds remaining resources. In four very long years the Bush Administration could undo a century of sound environmental policy, putting at risk generations to come, for what?

Since being sworn into office George has done nothing but prove the Republican Party can no longer be trusted to protect the Environment. From arsenic in drinking water, drilling in the arctic, and an unending stream of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the Shrub is playing a dangerous game of Fox in the henhouse. Meanwhile the international community looks on wondering how Americans can sleep at night knowing what they have unleashed on the world.

There is not much we can do except keep the federal wolves at bay until we vote George Jr. out of office. One thing that is possible is reclaiming the term conservative, reserving it to describe those working in the conservation movement. It's time those worshipping at the Church of Storefront Jesus find some other empty label to mark their members.

In my humble opinion, instead of compassionate conservative, George W. is best described as a utilitarian consumptionist because the only thing he is trying to save is room for desert. If readers have other suggestions for a replacement please let me know and I will be glad to share them in a future column. Propaganda is a terrible thing to waste.

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