Thursday, April 27, 2006

Environmentalist Republicans

Some Democrats are up in arms because Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters are endorsing a Republican, Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee. It seems they're more interested in having Democrats elected than protecting the environment. And they call themselves environmentalists?

[Sierra Club Executive Director Carl] Pope rejects the argument that environmentalists must ally themselves with Democrats. "It is absolutely vital that environmentalism be nonpartisan," he said, adding that the focus should be on the long-term goal of breaking down partisan divides on green issues, not sharpening those divides today for near-term gains.

Unsurprisingly, Martha Marks, president of Republicans for Environmental Protection, agrees: "If the environmental community turns its back on Lincoln Chafee, who is one of the strongest environmental leaders of our day -- Democrat or Republican -- then it will have no credibility with any Republicans going forward." She argues that it would be a big mistake for green organizations to alienate moderate Republicans who are trying to steer their party back toward the conservation ethic espoused by leaders from Theodore Roosevelt to Richard Nixon to John Chafee, Lincoln's Senate predecessor and father. "The only time you make any long-term, permanent progress on anything in this country is when you have bipartisan support," she said. (Grist)

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