Monday, June 14, 2010

Greenwashing Susan Collins

Radio silence so far from the national League of Conservation Voters, the Maine arm of the LCV and the League of Women Voters about Sen. Collins' vote in favor of the Murkowski resolution. Not exactly speaking truth to power.

On Twitter, MLCV calls the resolution the, "Dirty Air Act." But no reference to the fact that both of the state's senators voted for it. And no attempt to hold them accountable for supporting such a repellent piece of legislation.

I've made two inquiries to find out why MLCV has stayed quiet. Still waiting for a response.

I have had a fruitful back and forth with Bill Burtis at Clean Air-Cool planet. You'll remember that just a month ago, Adam Markham, the organization's president and CEO had this to say about the junior senator:

Maine's Susan Collins is showing strong leadership in the US Senate. Leading--not following political lines, bucking the tide of special interests, doing what’s right for her constituents as a matter of conscience--takes courage, understanding and patience.

Collins' stance on climate issues in Congress shows exactly that.
Talk about unfortunate timing.

I gave Burtis a chance to walk back that characterization, but he's not biting. In fact, he seems loath to venture a single unkind word about Collins.

He did seem to concede that he would've preferred Collins to have voted the other way on the resolution. But his position is that Collins can coherently back both the Murkowski resolution and climate change legislation. Her vote on the former doesn't necessarily undermine her support for the latter.

That's true as far as it goes. And Clean Air-Cool Planet can (arguably) be given a pass since it doesn't have a presence in Maine. But Burtis is leaving out one key thing--context. And the history here isn't flattering.

Sure, you can be in favor of balancing budgets while also backing tax cuts; for exiting Iraq while voting against deadlines for withdrawal; for health care reform while voting against a specific plan; for pandemic flu preparedness funding while stripping it from a particular bill; for the Cheney energy bill while supporting green energy.

The problem with Susan Collins is the pattern: After wringing her hands and complaining about the choice she faces, Collins virtually always sides with Republicans on the big issues.

At a certain point, you have to wonder about the rhetoric. We've been wondering about it for years.

Connecting the dots isn't hard--unless you're desperately trying not to. It's time "environmental" groups opened their eyes.

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