Senator Campbell’s imaginary polar opposite
It’s finally here. The comprehensive lampoon of U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell’s letter to the people (March 3, Denver Post) has finally been introduced in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. The debate to follow is likely to prove the least contentious of the 107th Congress, because it’s all based upon the imaginary incarnation of an imaginary Democratic senator named Freddie Under-Dog Degreeno. (Sen. Degreeno is the polar opposite of Sen. Campbell, even though he uses many of the same exact words to make his points.)
As your host, you can bet I will be monitoring the imaginary words of Sen. Degreeno as he lays out policy from his imaginary seat on the Senate Energy Committee. Here’s what the imaginary Sen. Freddie Under-Dog Degreeno said:
“America’s energy policy needs to be as solid and smart as it can be. Right now, the Enron-tainted energy bill proposed by Republicans does nothing to secure the long term energy needs of our nation. Rather than accept the short-sighted view of this oil-stained bill, Democrats have chosen to draft a bill that will ensure the future of our great nation’s environmental and energy concerns.
“Laws should be crafted by the people, not by industrialized fanatics seeking to line their own pockets with lucrative government contracts. As it stands today, the Republican bill pays more attention to the profit margins of the fossil fuel industries and militaristic agendas than it does to vital environmental concerns.
“As our nation continues the fight against terrorism, citizens should know that the U.S. is currently spending more on its military than the next-top-10-spending countries combined. Our energy bill must not be commandeered by industrial extremists with their own volatile agendas bent on waging their own opportunistic war in the name of all things `greenback.’
“National security should not force Americans to pay a high price for the corporate welfare programs of the oil, gas and nuclear industries. Do we really need a $900 million rare isotope accelerator facility in Michigan to add to the nuclear waste transportation problems in Colorado and the waste storage problems of the $11 billion Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada?
“The Democratic bill sets environmental standards accepted around the world for electric utilities and gas and oil industries. The new regulations will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global warming. That means consumers will pay a little extra now for the long term benefits of a healthier environment.
“For example, the legislation would raise fuel-efficiency standards for cars, light trucks and SUVs to 35 mpg by 2013. Currently, cars must average 27.5 mpg and light trucks and SUVs only 20.5 mpg. Conserving our limited fuel supplies is a great idea. A recent study reported in TIME magazine indicated that long-term exposure to fossil-fuel emissions raises the risk of lung cancer by 20 percent. In addition, gas-guzzling vehicles have helped finance Middle-eastern terrorist activities for far too long.
“The popularity of the environmental movement and the downturn in consumer spending demonstrates that the vast majority of Americans want more fuel efficient vehicles. Moreover, the increase in standards would reduce our dependence on foreign oil while promoting renewable resource energy development at home. I support proposals when they are reasonable, but when gas-guzzling vehicles help support terrorism and global warming, the likely loss of human life cannot be justified.
“The Democratic bill also has a variety of global-climate-change provisions that support the Kyoto Protocol and directly align with President Bush’s plan for fuel cell development.
“During these debates, a key fact must be kept in mind: The release of greenhouse gases is directly attributable to over-consumption and population growth. Therefore, if the Kyoto Protocol’s reasonable reduction schedule was implemented in the United States, our nation will have reduced its carbon dioxide and particulate emissions while generating countless American jobs in renewable energy development including fuel cells, wind, water, solar, geothermal and biomass.
“In the past, I have supported preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and I will again. I’ve been to Alaska and have seen for myself how remote coastal locations are trashed by the local inhabitants. I’ve had lengthy chats with seasonal workers who were only there to make a quick buck. The sewage treatment plant in Dutch Harbor consists of a large pipe that pumps sewage waste directly into the Bering Sea. There are so many bald eagles that workers kick them out of the way when they congregate on the trash piles on the docks.
“As a vocal advocate of environmental issues, I strongly believe in the right of self determination. ANWR has been determined to be a national wildlife refuge. It is not a petroleum reserve. There is an area about the size of North Dakota just west of ANWR that has been designated as our National Petroleum Reserve. The federal government should not tell the American people we have a wildlife refuge and then start drilling for oil. That’s a forked-tongue policy.
“As we move forward in the debate, you can be sure that I will keep the most important objective in mind: the health and welfare of Colorado’s inhabitants and the long-term security of America’s environment.”
And with those last words, the imaginary Democratic U.S. Sen. Freddie Under-Dog Degreeno departed … a left-wing fantasy over a right-wing reality.
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