Environmentalists Wary of Obama’s Interior Pick

Reaction to Salazar pick in NYT-

Environmentalists Wary of Obama’s Interior Pick . John M. Broder.

Oh god! Salazar showed up wearing a cowboy hat. Makes you sick.

Well everyone should hold their breath and count until the “lesser” nominations.






  1. Brian Ertz Avatar

    NYT Editorial: Fixing Interior :

    No cabinet post is as critical to the integrity of the nation’s parks, its open spaces and its animal species. Mr. Obama, and his environmental adviser in chief, Carol Browner, must be prepared to offer Mr. Salazar full support, especially in fending off the ranchers and the oil, gas, mining and other special interests who have always found the Interior Department to be a soft target, never more so than in the Bush administration.

  2. Phlogistician Avatar

    Salazar reminds me of some little pipsqueak trying to look like a tough rancher in that stupid hat and tie.

  3. kt Avatar

    The quote Brian posted shows just why Salazar is such a wretched pick. The idea that Mr. Salazar will fend off ranchers — come on. That Cowboy Hat signals Four More Years of cattlemen pillage of the public lands, slaughtering of wolves and other predators by Wildlife Services. Salazar is a disastrous pick for Interior.

    A rancher should not be appointed to this Post – especially not in 2009. There is an inherent conflict of Interest, cindluinf a conflcit with science and the colossal Footprint of cattle on Global warming. This is epecially true in Salazar’s case where there seem to be a whole raft of Salazar family ranchers, and where Salazar has sponsored bills providing MORE public tax dollar welfare for both public and private land ranchers.

    I tried Googling to figure out all the Salazar and relative ranch connections, and can’t keep ’em all straight. Maybe some Colorado readers of this Blog can try to develop a spread sheet/diagram/whatever that shows how linked to public land resources Salazar, his family, and associates really are.

  4. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns


    I agree. As I mentioned elsewhere here, Mr. Salazar is extremely pretentious with wearing that ridiculous hat indoors. Reminds me of that friend of Charlie Brown’s that always had that security blanket.

    Salazar wore his hat on Rachel Maddow’s show during an interview, she remarked about the hat, and Salazar’s expression illustrated that he was somewhat offended by the “put-down.”

    Rhinestone Urban Cowboy Salazar.

  5. jdubya Avatar

    And the normal liberal NY Times bloggers are getting their digs in as well. Great name, that, Bill Freedom.


  6. JimT Avatar

    So, the question is….just HOW do we effectively and civilly express our distaste to Obama and his team so we don’t get some more of the same for BLM or the Forest Service?

  7. Mike Avatar

    Check out this tasty quote:


    “Farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists. They know best the habitat needs of many of our threatened species because they live and work on the same lands,” said Senator Ken Salazar.

  8. kt Avatar

    Also from the article Mike Linked to. Look at that gagging list of Senators at the End. Larry Craig, Mike Crapo, Sam Brownback, Harry Reid – I would not at all be surprised if Harry wasn’t a primary vice in the horrid Salazar pick:

    “Some of the groups supporting the Endangered Species Recovery Act include: Ducks Unlimited, the Mule Deer Foundation, Pheasants Forever, National Wildlife Federation and the National Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition (NESARC) (includes Farm Bureau, Public Lands Council/Cattlemen, and National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association which have presented individual letters of support).

    The Act’s other sponsors are Senators Crapo, R-ID, Baucus, D-MT, Bennett, R-UT, Brownback, R-KS, Cochran, R-MS, Collins, R-ME, Craig, R-ID, Enzi, R-WY, Grassley, R-IA, Lieberman, I-CT, Lincoln, D-AR, Nelson, D-NE, Pryor, D-AR, Reid, D-NV, and Smith, R-OR.

  9. Salle Avatar

    Here’s what I responded to the other day:


    Barack Obama did not grow up hunting and fishing, but he recognizes the great conservation legacy of America’s hunters and anglers and has great respect for the passion that hunters and anglers have for their sports. Were it not for America’s hunters and anglers, including the great icons like Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold, our nation would not have the tradition of sound game management, a system of ethical, science-based game laws and an extensive public lands estate on which to pursue the sport. Barack Obama and Joe Biden recognize that we must forge a broad coalition if we are to address the great conservation challenges we face. America’s hunters and anglers are a key constituency that must take an active role and have a powerful voice in this coalition.”

    I think I’m going to be ill…

  10. Phlogistician Avatar

    Can someone tell me how the selection of BLM and Forest Service works? Are those Obama picks, or Salazar picks? Do they come before Jan 20, or after?

  11. Howler Avatar

    They are Obama picks. Salazar may have influence over the BLM choice but not the Forest Service, which falls under the Department of Agriculture. Vilsak will have a say there.

  12. Salle Avatar


    scroll down to see the break down and other positions near the bottom of the page…

  13. JB Avatar

    Qua est change?

  14. Steve C Avatar
    Steve C

    Its like all of those months of excitement and fear leading up to and following the election were for nothing. Maybe there will still be a place for Grijalva somewhere lower to placate the environmentalists. Could be why he turned down the offer for ways and means.

  15. Salle Avatar

    Here’s a page full of enough bull to make you puke:


    Yeah, I know it’s the official website for DoI but the promo crap is very informative all the same.

  16. Mike Post Avatar
    Mike Post

    I guess this hunter, who shares most of your concerns, should take his cowboy hat and not bother…

  17. Phlogistician Avatar

    Perhaps more green types in lower positions?!?

  18. Phlogistician Avatar

    But when do those lesser positions get announced?!!?

  19. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Subordinate seats won’t be chosen most likely until after the inauguration.

  20. Salle Avatar

    …and probably not until the secretaries are approved by Congress…

  21. outsider Avatar

    I’m reading through all these Salazar comments and notice a major dislike for the man, but yet I hear nothing but good things about him in the media, which loves obama, so I guess I’m kinda confused here. There are alot of people on this blog who like to see themselves as mainstream, but in this area it might be just the oppisite, is it possiable that we have become extreamists who mainstream just rolls their eyes at and trys to distance themselves from?

  22. Phlogistician Avatar


  23. Barb Avatar

    Because the media does not do its research! They are lazy journalists and do not have the inclination nor desire to dig into issues! The “mainstream” public is NOT familiar with most Western environmental issues. And Obama, coming from Chicago, is certainly not aware of them himself. I am so disappointed in this horrid choice.

    The Secretary of the Interior has a huge responsibility for preserving our precious lands and the wildlife within it. That is supposed to be their first priority — and is their own stated first goal of their mission: “resource protection” as on their own website!

    Ken Salazar, hailing from a biased ranching background, that values cattle and ranching first; wildlife and native animals are “nuisances!”

    This is exactly like putting the fox in charge of the hen house!!!

    Salazar has supported terrible bills such as allowing for poisoning of prairie dogs and other awful legislation. He is an advocate of “welfare ranching,” where public lands are used for cattle grazing, displacing native animals, and using traps, snares, and poisons to get rid of them! He has opposed bills to preserve and protect feral and wild horses on our public lands, instead opting for their slaughter.

    Speak up to the Obama transition team and tell them NO to Salazar for Secretary of Interior!

    We need someone in that position willing to speak up for the wilderness and its long persecuted native animals by the cattle industry — not someone connected with the cattle Industry!

    Looks like the lawsuits will continue into the Obama administration by the major environmental groups…. better get your checkbooks out…..

  24. Barb Avatar

    When Ted Kennedy and John Kerry were asked about the wild horses several years ago, they looked like DEER CAUGHT IN HEADLIGHTS.

    Education is so critical and needed in D.C. about Western Wildlife issues…….

    AND NOT from THE highly funded, highly promoted lobbyist groups like the CATTLEMEN’S BEEF INDUSTRY!

    Who can we write to besides newspapers, etc to express our HORROR with Salazar as the Fox in Charge of the Henhouse?

  25. todd Avatar

    Salazar and Vilsack are status quo choices that appear strikingly backward when contrasted to the other appointments. I think we may have entered a new era where concern about the environment means, primarily, concern about global climate change. As someone who makes a living modeling the Earth’s climate, this might be a good thing. As someone who is concerned about the overall health of the natural world, it is not at all clear that this is a step forward.

    Soil erosion, dust-bowl conditions, terrestrial carbon sequestration, methane emissions, carbon footprint — these are all areas where public lands grazing exacerbates climate change in the Western US. Now that the US govt has spent nearly a trillion dollars bailing out industry, it hard to argue that the public lands subsidy to wasteful in comparison. It may be that the line of thinking to eliminate public lands grazing needs a paradigm shift in order to ride the coattails of the climate change wave.

  26. Gerry Miner Avatar
    Gerry Miner

    I can’t believe all of the comments on this blog. While Salazar may not be the favored pick for all of the hard core environmentalists, there are other interests out there—and Obama is at least trying to find people more middle of the road than Dick and George did.

    I read this blog because I support most of what it stands for, but this group of comments sounds like a lot of “holier than thou, i know better than you”. Obama has a VERY HARD ROAD ahead of him and I am guessing he is doing the best he can, not saying, “how can i screw the greenies?”

    outsider says “is it possiable that we have become extreamists who mainstream just rolls their eyes at and trys to distance themselves from?” i think i might be starting to agree…..

  27. Ray Avatar

    Really, a cowboy hat makes you sick? Kinda petty, I’d say.

  28. Salle Avatar

    I’ve had some time to think about this now and…

    As a citizen in this participatory government, I have the right to take action to educate my government on issues I think they don’t understand, right?

    That’s the media’s job as much as it is for them to keep us informed about the government. That’s also what our schools are for too but they have been rendered unable to do this in both cases.

    It seems that education is lacking in both directions… so isn’t that the beginning of crating change from the bottom up? I think that is what it will take for us to have any kind of change, albeit we had change these past eight years only it was negative change… so we need to all be putting energy into focused effort in the other direction. New approaches to rearrange the flow of political influence are in order.

    So I think it has to start with education in both directions…
    It is one of the tools we have to ensure that our government properly represents us…

    An find ways to avoid corporations, start relying more on localized everything. Neighbors help their neighbors…

    The economy is already trashed so we might as well start from the beginning all over again… think I can hold my breath and tread water a little longer… But not much longer. And neither can the biosphere and all its inhabitants. It won’t be long before we will all know whether this team can be successful. I can hardly wait to see their plan(s).

  29. kt Avatar

    Todd –

    I agree with you. It is good to hear about your work.

    Grazing activists are working on elevating that connection in the public eye. But when the Pres-elect selects a ranching ideologue … Is his Transition Team living in the 19th century, or something?

    From the Sheridan CEQ report in 1981 on Desertification in the US (that featured Challis BLM lands in one Chapter) to the excellent Chapter on Grazing and desertification in Lynn Jacobs Waste of the West
    to the 2006 Steinfeld et al. United Nations Report on Livestock and Global Warming, Livestock’s Long Shadow, there is an overwhelming body of evidence on how grazing and deforestation promote hotter, drier micro-sites that feed into global warming and climate change.

    Here is a Link to Jacobs Chapter 6, if anyone is interested

    The Chapter begins with the quote “Cattle are the scourge of the earth”
    by an old-time Wilderness person – you’ll never see TWS today saying anything like this!

    Obama’s INterior secretary dressed up in that over-sized cowboy hat deep inside a room somewhere is the Embodiment/Icon for the Cattle Scourges that are destroying Earth!

    What is most horrifying about Salazar is that he will be in charge of making sure BLM, and USFWS use science. Cattle ranching in the arid West defies any science of sustainable land and water use. To be engaged in it, one must at some level ignore all the obvious degradation including greatly excessive water use and loss, soil erosion and desertification, weed invasions, etc that grazing domestic livestock in arid lands causes.

  30. Barb Avatar


    Please call me “a hard core environmentalist” because I believe the Dept of the Interior should do what our TAX DOLLARS PAY THEM TO DO — take care of the environment, the lands, the WILDLIFE.

    Cattle are NOT wildlife.

    Understand now or should I reword it for you?

  31. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Gerry Miner & outsider,

    folk on this thread are using their voices to honestly express how they feel about this appointment given the values that they hold.

    you are using your voice on this thread to dissuade people from that – to diminish it.

  32. Barb Avatar

    My brother lives on the east coast. He said the Washington Post is “fawning” over “all” of Obama’s appointments.

    It seems the Post (among others) don’t actually do much RESEARCH into Obama’s choices and their stances on the issues.

    How long does it take one of the president’s nominees to be “approved?”

  33. Salle Avatar

    “How long does it take one of the president’s nominees to be ‘approved?’”

    As long as the Senate and the House want it to.

  34. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I seriously doubt, your going to see much opposition to Obama’s Cabinet by the Senate and House, they pretty much approve what ever the incoming President picks, and with the Demo’s being in control, I would say they are pretty much a shoe in Cabinet.

  35. vickif Avatar

    start sending letters to your state reps. The more opposition they get, the more likely they will look into Salazar, and place themselves in the mind-set that they will watch him carefully if he is appointed. The more people involve whatever groups they are members of to send letters, make calls, fax and email, to every state the group is a part of, the better our chances of our in put being heard are….participation is key.

    So, if Salazar ends up staying, he is more persuadable than the previous admin. So, make damn sure he knows that what you want done….whatever it is.

    I plan to raise awareness of how hypocritical it is to have a rancher in a position that requires an unbiased opinion to regulate the proper scientific use of public lands.

    Appointing Salazar, in my opinion, is no different than appointing the pope to the supreme court. What has occured, and what we must all fight like hell to curve, is one man’s family business is going to be allowed to determine the road our resources are heading down.

    He may be ‘moderate’ and act as though he is big on converting energy use, but let’s face it….he has a personal agenda. His handling of water issues had little to nothing to do with what was right for our environment, and everything to do with watering cattle in his home area of Colorado.

    It’s funny that I am usually the one people accuse of being too ‘compromise oriented’ here….and even I find this pick to be a slap in the face.

    We may not see much government opposition to Obama’s picks, but Obama is a president of Americans, and as such, Americans need to be able to put him, and any other person we entrust to represent and act on our behalf, squarely in check. He has to be told no some time, and no one expects him to be right all of the time. WHy be afraid to tell him if you think he is wrong?

    He may be a very popular president, and I even like him, but no president should ever be given free reign and not hear the American people who say “no”. Being president, or presidential advisors is not a ticket to endulge in ignorance and unawareness of opposition to your choices, no matter who you are, you still have to be able to tell a president when they are making bad choices….or you get approval ratings like Bush’s and a nation of people who feel their president sacrafices their rights and will for his own personal agenda.

  36. Barb Avatar

    I am seriously beginning to wonder about Obama’s LACK of judgement.

  37. Barb Avatar

    I’ve heard this absolute LIE before, particularly from “Range Magazine.” The magazine is an absolute joke.

    Salazar says,
    “Farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists. They know best the habitat needs of many of our threatened species because they live and work on the same lands.,

    Oh really, Mr. Salazar? Just what reality are YOU living in?


    Salazar is not a MODERATE.

    He is a CATTLE LOBBYIST who will continue the DESTRUCTIVE WAYS OF THE CATTLE INDUSTRY on our precious western lands. He will continue the degradation of BLM lands.


  38. Don Avatar

    Whow! Its hard to believe that Ken Salazar was appointed to this position. Being from Colorado does not make you a conservationist or environmentalist. Salazar and his family have been ranchers for years. This was a great opportunity to appoint a person who would be able to turn around a lot of the damage done to our environment over the past eight years. CHANGE I don’t think so. Hold onto your seat I bet Wyoming is elated. Hope I’m wrong it sure will be interesting to see what happens.

  39. Whelden Merritt Avatar
    Whelden Merritt

    We are dealing with ABZs: Activists By Zipcode.

    Such misguided souls think that native species can be confined within lines on a map and excluded from other lines on maps.

    We noticed a comment by J.S. MacDonald about established professional NGOs.

    Do you know of language which is more EXPLICIT or DESCRIPTIVE of these organizations which usually only exist for the purpose of creating the IMPRESSION of being concerned about ECOLOGY ????

  40. Howler Avatar

    Back in the reality based community, here is Salazar’s LCV ratings.

    Vote Ratings
    110th Congress (2007-2008) 85%
    110th, 2nd Session (2008) 100%
    110th, 1st Session (2007) 73%
    109th Congress (2005-2006) 78%

    Let’s be clear. Salazar will be perceived as a moderate. He IS a moderate. On a host of environmental issues, including Arctic drilling, Salazar will be with us. On others, such as rolling back the ESA section 7 regs, he will be with us, because Obama has made it a public priority.

    Now his record is not what I would like it to be on wolves and prairie dogs, but I submit that what one must do to be elected as a Democrat in a historically red state is not necessarily indicative of what he will do as Secretary. If he proves me wrong on that point, I will be happy to criticize him then. But what possible good does it do now?

    Whatever one thinks of the appointment, I can’t for the life of me figure out what some in the environmental community are thinking with their overheated rhetoric and calls for opposition. No major national environmental groups is going to oppose him. Neither will anyone in the Senate. Do you think a Democratic Senate will fail to confirm one of their own (who happens to be the first Hispanic appointed to the post)? His confirmation is assured. Calling for people to oppose him suggests that you have no idea what you are doing. It makes you look foolish.

    Seriously do you really think that all this sturm and drang will help advance the cause of conservation? How? Will calling Obama a sellout before he’s even inaugurated help endear him to our cause? Will blasting Salazar for wearing cowboy hats make us look like credible interests? Will criticizing him for ranching force Salazar to hang his head, repent to Barbara Boxer, and promise to make the prairie dog the new poster child of species preservation? More likely he will dig in, and say something about the need to balance interests, which will neither “hold him accountable” nor advance our cause.

    And who at Interior do you expect to work with for the next eight years? Who do you expect to take your calls once you finish throwing pies in their faces? Or does that matter to you?

    It matters a great deal to those of us in the movement who are trying our level best to actually get things done. And I don’t think it’s helping one bit.

  41. Ray Avatar

    Thanks, Howler, for a level-headed, well-thought out opinion.

  42. Barb Avatar


    The problem is you can’t just support someone because they have a (D) after their name. Having a (D) after one’s name does NOT mean they are an “environmentalist.”

    Salazar is a “right wing Democrat.” He is NOT a moderate and I can’t imagine him protecting wolves and other species that have been long persecuted by the all powerful cattle empire.
    Sorry, those are the facts and people must speak out now or don’t complain later when he votes for the wolf to be de-listed and shot on sight.

  43. Barb Avatar

    BTW, Salazar is NOT a Hispanic. His family heritage is from the 1500’s from SPAIN. He, of all people, should be protecting feral horses that his own ancestors brought over instead of voting to send them to SLAUGHTERHOUSES.

    Do your research.

  44. Barb Avatar

    Interesting letter:

    Salazar is more of the same
    I’m writing an article called “The Reservoir to Nowhere.” It’s about the Animas-La Plata project in southwestern Colorado, where the Bureau of Reclamation has constructed an off basin reservoir for around $600 million. The idea of the project is to pump water uphill, out of the Animas River, for storage in Nighthorse Reservoir. The water will then be dumped back into the Animas River. There is presently no use for the water. The project is harmful to endangered species, inundates an elk refuge, damages one of the west’s last free-flowing rivers, UNDERMINES COLORADO’S CONTROL OVER ITS WATER, is the result of non-accountable back room PORK BARREL politicking, and was authorized without any economic analysis.

    It is Senator Ken Salazar’s project and truly reflects change you can believe in.

    Ugh. — BrianEllison

  45. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    Howler howled:

    “…but I submit that what one must do to be elected as a Democrat in a historically red state is not necessarily indicative of what he will do as Secretary”

    Are you suggesting that one must always lie to become elected (which makes one a liar) and specifically, that is what Salazar had to do? Must one sacrifice wolves and prairie dogs to curry the favor of the people who would vote for you? You are not considering the need for scientific ethics and moralistic behavior that must trump all political ideologies.

    I know you will likely say again that I do not understand politics and I will again retort that you are speaking of politics as usual, and that style of politics is what must change and the type of change Mr. Obama has “pledged.” However, I doubt that he can pull-off such change, but he does deserve the chance to try and 4-years might not be enough time. No person in current politics, except for Palin could do worse that Bush, so I expect that Mr. Obama will perform at least better than average in his first term.

    The Salazar “cowboy” hat is all about pretentiousness, period.

    Ray, let us read your own views instead of just giving atta-boys to Howler. Thanks.

  46. Barb Avatar

    Great points, Ron. I agree with your statement “that style of politics is what must change and the type of change Mr. Obama has “pledged.”

    Howler, Salazar SUPPORTED GALE NORTON. So we should all just swallow hard and take Obama’s nominations with a smile on our faces? Sorry, won’t do it. I am not willing to sacrifice our native animals to appease anyone.

    I may have mispoke when I said Salazar is not “Hispanic” as that term means anyone that comes from Spain or Mexico, etc. However, in more contemporary terms, the term “Hispanic” has been morphed into meaning someone from MEXICO, which Salazar and his family heritage are not.

  47. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    Salazar also has a 0% rating from the Fund for Animals and a 25% rating from the Human Society.

    But, regardless, of course anyone is going to be relatively better than Gale Norton or Dirk Kempthorne. And, we are led to believe by people who make the arguments that we should just shut up and wait, that given the practical realities of this system, where we are asked to choose between good and bad relative to each other, that we are harming our own cause because 1) the alternative is worse; 2) this is your only hope to make substantive change within this system.

    The problem, of course, is that our wildlife, our lands, and our environment aren’t necessarily better off in reality by what’s relatively better. Does it matter if something dies by 500 cuts instead of 1,000 cuts?

    So, is Salazar death by 500 cuts? Tell me what’s going to happen for the buffalo of Yellowstone, what’s going to happen to oil and gas leases, what’s going to happen to endangered species under Salazar? Have the interests that Salazar represents ever done anything meaningful on those issues for the good? Sometimes, provincially, they do – in their own backyard. What reason do we have for any confidence that Salazar will reverse the damage that’s done (not simply be better than the alternative.) I mean, this is the man who early on in this process proposed Gov. Freudenthal of all people for Interior Secretary!

    And, if Salazar is death by 500 cuts, then we had better hope to God that #2 is wrong – i.e., that it’s wrong to suppose that there are no other alternatives for substantive change.

    We’ve seen the large environmental groups play with the system; that’s why the Royal Teton Ranch deal that does nothing (actually worse for nothing) for a large sum of money to the Church Universal & Triumphant, got signed off on yesterday. Who celebrates? Gov. Schweitzer – another supposed progressive that environmentalists got duped by. The National Wildlife Federation and Greater Yellowstone Coalition and their ilk who not only supported the plan but raised $1 million for it! That’s getting stuff done, eh?! You play, you get something done, and that something is actually somehow worse than nothing.

    And, that repeats itself over and over and over again, and it has repeated itself throughout history.

    So, we had better have an alternative. And, it can’t be by playing nice. Consensus is a beautiful thing between those who can have a conversation, between real peers. Among peers, there can be real differences of opinion, real disagreements, but a real commitment to keep working. But, this is about a corrupt power hierarchy. You can’t play with this fire; you will either get burned or sell out and burn that which you are trying to help.

    I’ve offered a profound belief in constant agitating and grassroots building – a long and arduous process with only the possibility of success. Some have wondered how to do that – or how to do that where there are no local groups to support. I think it’s not very hard at all to begin organizing where there is none, but one thing that could be extremely useful for us in the west is a grassroots organizing conference. How do we organize? How do we organize where this is no organizing? It’s nice to go out with signs and pickets and protests, but it’s not enough without also building groups and cohesion. And, that’s the key. But, we really could use that – because so many of us are at a loss on what to do or how to do it if we could.

    But, the short is is that we need to stay loud and resist something that’s wrong wherever we see it. And, I know a lot of you struggle with turning on a President you’ve had such high hopes for, but the issue isn’t Obama. The issue is how best to get justice for our lands, our ecosystems, and each other. And, that’s really what needs to drive us – not an anti-Salazar movement, but a pro justice movement (which surely is against a lot of things).

  48. Tom Woodbury Avatar
    Tom Woodbury

    I really like the idea of a grassroots organizing conference. We are obviously up against it right now, and you just know the Big Greens are going to keep playing nice with Obama’s minions. It is appearing to me that Prezelect Obama has an almost pathological aversion to conflict, so the best strategy may well be to be the loudest squeekiest wheels we can be, and look to get greased down the line, after the NGD (Next Great Depression) is averted. We need to develop effective PR and political action strategies, and if we are going to “compete” in these arenas with the mega-greens, the best way to do that would be to take a page from Obama’s playbook; i.e., to “build coalitions” of the willing, to speak in lofty rhetoric, peddle hope, and demand change WE can believe in! If we can sound like the kind of progressive Obama sounded like when he was actually running for prez, who knows? Maybe we’ll get the attention our issues deserve.

  49. Howler Avatar

    Barb, other Senators who supported Gale Norton include Cantwell, Chafee, Baucus, Murray, Feingold and Daschle. Are they all unqualified too. Norton was confirmed 75-24. You really expect the homestate senator to vote against a constituent when liberal Democrats wouldn’t?

    To the rest of you, the answer to how to organize on this is to continue to promote a culture that responds to our issues. It’s fine to press Obama and Salazar to make endangered species a priority. But to make this personal and torch them before the even have the OPPORTUNITY to act, is counterproductive, ineffective, and not to mince words, really stupid.

    Do we always have to be negative to organize? Obama’s campaign proved the answer is no. We’ll be taken much more seriously if we present a positive agenda. Simply railing against the glass half full won’t do a blessed thing to fill it. Resist the knee-jerk urge to “do something” and think about what actually needs doing.

  50. Howler Avatar

    I think an organizing conference is not a bad idea. I just hope we can get beyond the mindset that being loud and abrasive is the only way to promote our issues. Some of the grassroots groups are really good at getting press and not so good at demonstrating exactly how all that attention actually results in change. Clearly many grassroots organizers don’t believe the old adage that you get more with sugar than vinegar. Personally, I think that’s because rabblerousing is fun, and we all want to relive the 60s or some idea of it. We all want to “do something” now. We want to feel good that we took a STAND. It makes us feel morally superior.

    But this is a new age and the truth is you can now attact more people with Facebook than a rally at the Capitol. You do more with relationships than with protests. And the fact is that the movements of the 60s didn’t really achieve success until their proponents went inside the system and their goals became mainstream. Satisfying? Not always. But at some point we have to find a way to play as insiders, or we will always be on the outside looking in.

  51. Virginia Avatar

    Jim MacDonald – thank you SO much for your thoughtful writing. I have been so depressed, disappointed and desperate by the selections of Salazar and Vilsek (sp), I have been unable to come up with anything to say on this blog. I think you are right about constant agitating and grassroots building – if women hadn’t agitated in the past, we still wouldn’t be able to vote and would not have made the enormous strides in women’s rights that we have made in this country, even though we still have a long way to go. If people sit back and say and do nothing, they cannot expect anything to change. I am trying to not despair and lose hope, but things do not look very positive to me. I continue to read the letters on this site and you all give me hope! Yes we can?

  52. Barb Avatar

    What is Defenders saying about this appointment? WildEarth Guardians can’t be happy either.

  53. Barb Avatar


    Who is making this personal? This is all business.

  54. JimT Avatar

    Rodger damned with faint praise, calling him someone who has the potential to lead. I read that to mean judgment is being reserved to see how he proceeds with his sub cabinet picks and his actions out of the block on undoing the damage of Julie MacDonald on ESA, how he handles the nonsense with de-listing–thank the stars Judge Brimmer retired. The Center for Biological Diversity is holding its nose at this point, and I suspect WildEarth Guardians is in similar mode. I am willing to be proven wrong on distrust of Salazar, but it would mean a turnaround in his rhetoric as well as his record.

    I am distressed somewhat that Obama and his team are so focused on the energy thing to the exclusion of the consideration of habitat, species extinctions, and preservation of corridors per programs like the Y2Y Project. They are not mutually exclusive like some folks seem to thing; indeed, they are part of the ecosystem management approach that badly needs implementation across the board in all Federal agencies having impacts on the environment. Appointments seem to be coming at a rapid pace, so we have BLM, etc..by next week.

  55. vickif Avatar

    Given that Obama is being heralded as the first tech elect, why not organize a conference that people could attend in person and on-line? Most peopl who I know that would like to participate are pretty strapped for cash, but could attend from home on-line. That way you could also link relults all over the web, and it would be a ripple effect.

    You don’t need to be negative, you could simply organize to lay out priorities and strategies for accomplishings things.

    I mentioned it before (a conference), and I still think it is worth doing. After all, a collective of minorities quickly becomes motivation for a majority.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan