Here are the top 10 ways to become known far and wide and throughout one’s district as a card-carrying, conservation-leaning politician while actually doing the bidding of Big Business and corporate polluters:
10. Get a prestigous award from an organization – any old group – whose name includes the word “environment” or “environmental” or “conservation.” Then parade the honor (and black cherry plaque) before the eyes of adoring constituents at every possible venue, including stops at local cricks with local bucket biologists and white-shirted bureaucrats from your state’s fish and game agency.
9. Develop, in fighter pilot lingo, the “situational awareness” needed to remain oblivious to the sight of roadkill carcasses, especially those of colorful songbirds like cardinals and robins and yellow warblers and red-tailed hawks whose habitat has just been destroyed to make way for another industrial park or “corporate center.”
8. Hail from a big state, like Texas or California or Montana. Shrimpy little states, like Vermont, Rhode Island and such have long-standing records of producing intelligent, but wimpy (on pro-business issues), candidates. Just look at how far Howard Dean the screamer made it.
7. Look spiffy in outdoorsy tan or olive-drab attire when standing alongside bucket biologists and politically-appointed game and fish agency chieftains at photo op time, even as the temperature soars into the 90s and higher. Carrying binoculars around one’s neck is an added touch, but good public speaking credentials are not a prerequisite. Always wear a ball cap with the logo of a firearms manufacturer or all-terrain vehicle maker and keep a custom-made shotgun close at hand for photo ops during upland game bird hunting season. Smile and look your best when holding the bald eagle (for the tee-vee cameras) that had to be taken in by a veterinarian after the white pine supporting its nest was logged to make way for a strip mall or airport runway.
6. Carry C+ or worse academic credentials; preferably a bachelor’s from an elite East Coast university that offers degrees in forestry, wildlife management, political science AND business administration.
5. Have the uncanny ability to look hick and country and ecologically smart and savvy, even while wearing tailored business suits and attending chamber of commerce dinners and political party shindigs or swinging gold-plated shovels at ground-breaking ceremonies.
4. Surround one’s self with advisers (cronies) who are actually professional liars, cheats and general all-around scoundrels but who know how to weasel out of the worst public relations disaster and paint rosy scenarios at the scenes of oil spills, fish kills and eroded stream banks.
3. Develop a vocabulary that includes positive-sounding words like “clear skies,” “healthy forests,” “big fish,” “freedom from regulation” and “clean coal” while hiring pollsters adept at phrasing survey questions with such lingo.
2. Carry the skill to remain positive in times of pending disasters like flooding exacerbated by development or wildfires made more ferocious by global climate change. Be skilled in riding a non-polluting bicycle and reading children’s fairy tale booksat times of great stress.
And the top qualification: The ability to dance like a butterfly and fight like a largemouth bass on a fly line when facing vicious reporters from the so-called liberal media.
ALAN GREGORY resides in Pennsylania where he keeps an eye on his neck of the woods and pens columns for the Standard-Speaker in Hazleton and Lowbagger.