Monday, April 9, 2007
Two Wrongs Make Me Right
Every now and then, for reasons I can't well explain, I find myself trying to formulate an argument in defense of some aspect of George W. Bush's presidency. Which is to say, I consider the possibility that I (along with most of the people whose opinion I respect) am wrong, which I think is an important exercise for even the most firmly held beliefs. Especially for the most firmly held beliefs.
Take, for instance, the President's well-known track record of appointing to regulatory boards the lobbyists and executives from the very industries to be regulated. I wondered whether his critics (that is, me and most of the people whose opinion I respect) weren't ignoring the fact that when it comes to regulatory oversight, there's really no such thing as neutrality.
In other words, there are people who want to log national forests, drill for gas and oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and manufacture and buy products that pollute the environment. They think they should be allowed to do those things because they don't think there's anything wrong with it. For these people, an appointee who emphasizes preservation over use isn't neutral, he or she is partisan.
So, I end up thinking, maybe what we're feeling now is what these people have been feeling for all the years when the regulatory agencies were stacked against them.
Then I go and read Robert Kennedy, Jr.'s piece in Vanity Fair about environmental appointees in the Bush administration, and I realize that I was wrong for ever having considered that I might be wrong about George W. Bush.
There is one silver lining. When corporate lobbyists become the government, they no longer have to bribe anyone to get regulations to go their way.