The first candidate for President of the United States has officially announced: He is Duncan Hunter, R-CA. Already scolded once on this site for seeking to turn a California Island into his own personal game preserve (see below), Hunter is exactly what you think of when you think of the wrong guy for the environment.
Outside of West-Wing-land, US Representatives don’t win the Presidency, or haven’t since 1880, when James Garfield did it. Hunter is aiming to buck that trend, and he’s got an uphill battle. Being a solidly-red republican who probably couldn’t win any statewide office in California, much less carry the state in a Presidential race, he’s going to have to make the most of his early start. He’s waving the “Reagan II” banner, but we know it’ll be much more “W. II” than anything else.
How do we know? Since 1999, the League of Conservation Voters has never given him a score higher than 14%, and he twice scored a 0%. He’s voted for road construction in roadless areas, for drilling in ANWR, for taxpayer land giveaways to big extracting businesses, for weakening the Clean Water Act and against public-reporting requirements for dangerous levels of pollution. All that was just this term.
He is, like Bush, a profit-margins-first Republican, which makes him neither conservative nor Reagan-esque. The difference is that conservatives and Reaganites want to reduce government’s involvement and trust companies to do better on their own with the extra freedom. Bush/Hunter types want to use government as a support system for corporations so they’ll be safely profitable. This is big-government, big-business cronyism.