September 17, 2007

Strange bedfellows? Or simply that Republicans out of touch?

Looks like Republicans are losing some of their iron grip on Western Colorado over, oddly enough, some environmental issues. Perhaps people recognize that some limits are good.
In Colorado, Drilling Some Holes in the Republican Base - washingtonpost.com: "'I can only speak for myself and I'm a registered Republican, but last year I voted a straight Democratic ticket. First time in my life,' said Bob Elderkin, 68, who heads the town of Rifle's chapter of the Colorado Mule Deer Association, a hunting group that has made common cause with environmentalists against drilling. 'The Republicans have kind of lost touch with reality.'"

11 comments:

steve s said...

I am a lifelong hunter and this comes as no surprise. Contrary to what many believe, not all hunters are die-hard republicans. Here in MI, there are dems that have been elected in rural districts. Many will vote for them if they support issues related to hunting, such as funding the DNR, improving access to public land, and protecting the second amendment.

Unfortunately, many politicians stage fake photo ops or lie about their hunting credentials. Kerry went on some goofy hunt and talked about how he crawled through the bush on his belly, with his double shotgun, when hunting deer. Mitt Romney said he was a lifelong hunter and it was later shown that he had only hunted twice in his life. It doesn't matter to me if a candidate had hunted, but don't lie about it.

The problem for some hunters is the gun issue. If the democrats would drop gun control, they would get a lot of sportsmen (and women) to vote for them.

Streak said...

Steve, I could say the same thing in response. If hunters and gun people would stop treating gun control advocates as wackjobs and assume that everyone wants to take their guns away or stop them from hunting deer, then we might have a better conversation.

As far as I am concerned, this story is really less about that, however, and more about the land policy that people like Cheney and Bush defend. As an environmentalist, I will concede that if environmentalists were completely in charge and got everything they wanted, we would probably have some bad policy. We have not had that kind of situation, but we are seeing exactly what happens with hardcore conservatives get a free rein. It isn't good.

steve s said...

When have I said that gun control advocates are wackjobs? Even when I think that, I don't call people names as part of a discussion.

The story is less about that, but based on numerous surveys, gun control remains a top issue for hunters (along with conservation). To be fair, I can't say that all dems are for gun control. There are local dems that are pro gun and some at the national level (John Dingell, who was on the board of directors for the NRA, and John Murtha). On the other end, are people that have voted to ban all semi-autos, which are heavily used by hunters.

I don't know enough of what is going on in Colorado to comment on that. In MI, things are actually pretty good. In the past, I was able to get a 'behind the scenes' look at policy, as my father (who is now retired) was in the state Department of Environmental Quality. Before doing that, he was a professor of geology and mining engineering. He considered himself a moderate democrat, which the source of plenty of mostly good-natured debate. I had a great deal of respect for his opinion on environmental matters. He was genuinely concerned about the environment, but also believed some environmental groups lied to the public about the possible impact of some development. There was huge opposition to directional drilling under the Great Lakes for natural gas and eventually the legislature and governor (both republican, at that time) voted to ban it. My dad said that practice was safe and had been utilized for years, all over the world. Consequently, Canada currently uses directional drilling under the Great Lakes (except for Lake Michigan) and sells the natural gas to us.

I would agree that Bush's environmental record is not all that good (especially in the area of global warming).

Streak said...

Perhaps we should start with a smaller set of issues, like what good policies Bush has created? On anything? Environment, poverty, war, torture, law? Anyone?

Streak said...

And btw, Steve, I didn't accuse you of calling people wackjobs, but clearly many gun control opponents see all gun control advocates as nuts, just as many gun control people see every gun owner as the NRA. Both sides would be better off with some reasonable talk. But that includes gun owners who seem to hate even talk of registration.

steve s said...

True. I am always willing to have a reasonable conversation, even about a system I disagree with, such as registration. I find the NRA to be very willing to compromise on most issues. Many gun owners think they are too lax.

Streak said...

I know I am in a bad mood this morning, but didn't the NRA coin the whole "jack-booted thugs" to refer to ATF agents? I would not call that reasonable. Nor would I when they like to talk about prying their guns from their cold-dead hands. And saying that most gun owners think the NRA is too moderate doesn't help your claim that most gun owners are reasonable people.

steve s said...

Some radio personality coined the term in reference to the BATF. Someone from the NRA did use that term and apologized for it. The NRA spends millions on training for law enforcement.

As for the BATF, while I wouldn't, and haven't, used that kind of language, there have been some serious issues in the last few decades that are troubling. This includes misconduct, racism, fabricating evidence, and harassment.

Not to be snarky, but do you know anything about the NRA besides two comments by people that ar no longer even with the NRA?

steve s said...

I guess I am kind of in a bad mood too. If you would rather end this discussion or table it, I am ok with that. I feel like we are coming from two very different frames of reference. So often in this type of discussion, gun rights people are viewed as extremists or supporters of crime. This is false, as gun control advocates are unable to prove even a modest reduction in crime can be attributed to a gun law (here or abroad). Therefore, it becomes a battle of rhetoric and name calling. I get the same thing when I argue that we should be out of Iraq. I am met with, "so you want the terrorists to win?" I have heard on more than one occasion from a gun control person, "so you want people to get hurt?" No, to both of those questions, but what they are proposing (in most cases) has nothing to do with achieving what they are talking about.

Streak said...

I kind of agree Steve. To be fair, I didn't even post on gun rights or hunting rights, but on Republicans starting to recognize that these in power are not good.

As for gun rights advocates and even the NRA, I believe I have stated that not all gun owners are nuts, nor have I repudiated the NRA completely. I have recognized the benefits of the many gun safety educational programs and hunter's safety programs they do. Yet in this conversation, I feel tagged as the "irrational" one who is calling you names. I didn't do that and don't do that.

But neither is it completely irrational to criticize the political wing of the NRA. LaPierre has said some amazingly stupid and divisive things, as did Charleton Heston before he stepped down. I am perfectly willing to concede there is a lot of irrationality on both sides of the issue and that the rhetoric gets heated. But that also includes some of the more zealous pro-gun people as well.

steve s said...

I agree, which is why I think it is best to discuss a specific program or law. Otherwise it degenerates into name calling. There are a few gun forums (and conservative forums) that I no longer visit because of the name calling. It does nothing to promote intelligent discussion.