Sarah Palin invigorated the conservative base with her surprisingly poised speech to GOP delegates last night, kicking new life into what had been a ho-hum convention previously “highlighed” by the Dead Man Talking triad (George W. Bush, Fred Thompson and Joe Lieberman). Clockwork's favorite scene: delegates sporting “The Hottest VP From the Coolest State” buttons berating the media for being sexist toward America's favorite hockey mom.
Palin's performance certainly perked up Hugh Hewitt's ear hairs. Irvine's anti-mainstream-media mogul quickly put up posts praising the speech (“She Winds. She Shoots. She Scores”) and mocking the evil MSM for running away from their previous criticisms of her (“The Palin Breakout, Part 4”).
Of course, as there were parts I-III before that last post, Hughcifer obviously championed this veep pick long before she adjusted her shiny new eyeglass frames to focus in on the Teleprompter Wednesday night. One particular issue where the theocons find common ground, common hunting ground, involves protecting polar bears.
They're agin' it!
Palin and Hewitt are enraged at the federal government's recent decision earlier this year to list polar bears as endangered species. Bush's Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne made the decision based on the fact that sea ice, which is vital to polar bear survival, has dramatically melted in recent decades, and computer models suggest sea ice will likely recede in the future. Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey conclude far fewer polar bear cubs are surviving in parts of Alaska, that adult males weigh less and that the entire population could be wiped out by 2050.
However, as governor of Alaska, Palin — who is scheduled to attend a Linclon Club fundraiser in OC on Sept. 25 — sued to challenge the endangered listing, arguing there was not enough evidence to support it, that climate models predicting continued loss of polar bear habitat are unreliable and that oil and gas development will be crippled in prime polar bear habitat off the state's northern and northwestern coasts.
The country's possible next vice president got a right-wing media assist from Hewitt, who props himself up as the West's foremost expert on endangered species due to his years in court representing developers battling the feds and California over the protection of Stephens' kangaroo rat, the Delhi sands flower-loving fly, the California gnat catcher, the Desert tortoise and dozens of other plants and animals.
Hewitt maintains that the endangered species listing for polar bears is too far reaching, because environmentalists will argue their icy habitat is disappearing as a result of global warming. Follow the bouncing logic: Greenistas will go to court to argue carbon gas sources anywhere – a tailpipe in Florida, a farting cow in Texas, a smokestack in Pennsylvania – contribute to global warming, thereby threatening endangered polar bears, thereby allowing environmentalists to finally accomplish what they have always wanted: the total annihilation of commerce in the good ol' U.S. of A.
Palin and Hewitt are ignoring the words of Kempthorne himself, however. The Interior Secretary says he considered each of Palin's points before he rendered his final decision and Alaska sued. That's why he softened the perceived blow of the listing by including “administrative guidance” that states it will not be used to create back-door climate policy outside the normal system of political accountability. Kempthorne also went on record clearing the petroleum industry as a threat to polar bears.
So everyone should be happy, right?
Nope. Hewitt's still getting divisive political mileage out of the issue, writing that the listing may finally make a reality out of Al Gore's wet dream: U.S. compliance with the Kyoto agreement. The right-wing mouthpiece goes so far in “Polar Bear Pushback” as to advise private sector firms to take a page from Left and swarm the courts with lawsuits claiming their businesses are threatened by polar bears.
Somewhere in Heaven, Stephen Colbert is smiling.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.