Jun 23, 2004
EPA for Sale
“I’d hardly call it coincidence,” said Beth Viola, a leading environmental strategist for the Kerry campaign, “that after the EPA spends nearly four years pandering to industry, all of a sudden Leavitt is waltzing around battleground states in a green mantle—doling out grant money, announcing new initiatives, threatening industry with enforcement actions, making amends to swing voters like hunters and anglers [who are] disgruntled about rollbacks. It’s quite a show.”
Leavitt’s recent wave of swing-state politicking has won his agency the moniker “Election Protection Agency” in Beltway circles, according to Aimee Christensen, director of Environment2004, an organization committed to motivating voters on environmental issues.
And look, it’s our pal Frank Luntz (apparently the most leaked individual in Washington):
And many campaign analysts expect Bush’s greenwashing efforts to intensify. Republicans still remember pollster Frank Luntz’s 2003 memo [PDF] declaring that, “The environment is probably the single issue on which the Republicans in general—and President Bush in particular—are most vulnerable,” a sentiment supported by subsequent Luntz polls. And in early June, Yale University released a comprehensive nationwide report in which 84 percent of respondents said the environment would be a factor in their presidential vote and 35 percent called it a “major factor.”
To get a sense of Leavitt’s damage-control efforts, consider his whereabouts last week: Wisconsin and Michigan, currently two of the hottest swings states. On “Ask the White House”—a get-to-know-your-officials Q&A feature on the official government website—Leavitt wrote: “I am in Ann Arbor, Michigan, meeting with Governor Granholm and state and local elected officials to discuss the Great Lakes. I have also just presented a Clean School Bus Grant to the Ann Arbor Public School District, and tomorrow will [be traveling to Milwaukee to] announce nearly $76 million in grants to restore brownfields in our country to useable land.”
Look, I just found this money lying around, here ya go! Vote Bush, I’ll be back in four years with Jeb giving taxpayer pay-offs for his election!
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