Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We believe in nothing!

It would be incorrect and unfair to say that Washingtonians are all horrible, amoral, principle-less little pricks who live only for the thrill they get when some no-name congressman from wherever-the-hell Middle America remembers their name. However.

Being the preeminent power of our day, it should come as no surprise that the imperial capital on a swamp would attract an unusually large number of groveling, almost pitiable worshippers of power and authority; not the kids who used to suck up to the teacher and remind them when they forgot to assign the homework, but the kids who now fetch those other kids' coffee, always remembering to tell them how good they look on a Big Day. While those that argue there's a dime's worth of difference between the major political parties and that voting ain't worth a nickel are often cast as the cynics (*ahem*cough*clearing throat*), the real nihilists, I would argue, are the anonymous flacks and hacks of Washington who day in and day out serve whoever it is they think can provide them with the most power, money and, laughably, prestige -- people like Deryck Spooner, the likes of whom literally believe in nothing.

Who, you ask? According to a story in Greenwire about the American Petroleum Institute's many new hires, Spooner -- "who ran the Nature Conservancy's push to spur legislative action on climate change" -- was "nabbed" in something of a coup earlier this year by the well-funded trade group for U.S. oil and gas companies. "Spooner now heads API's grass-roots activism arm."

Putting aside the faults of The Nature Conservancy and the merits of the climate legislation it seeks, Spooner's move is still pretty jarring, even by a-flack-in-DC standards. Not only is he now spinning for one of the leading opponents of capping or taxing carbon emissions, a basic feature of most proposals to address global warming, but he heads the very "grass-roots activism arm" of API -- when's the last time you met a "grassroots" oil activist? -- that last year organized "citizen" rallies against the sort of climate legislation that he spent months, years, working to enact. It ain't pretty, and it's certainly not proud, but that's sorta kinda Washington.

(Cross-posted at AlterNet)

2 comments:

  1. Minor Player1:56 AM

    Thanks for this outing. The Minor Players gave up on the Nature Conservancy some years ago when we noticed that a number of their reserves seemed to exist to provide plebe buffers for the mountain retreats of orthodontists, etc. Not that all their work is in vain.
    The D.C. cup bearers must believe in something. Just not in principles. In persons, or in themselves, understood as 'careers'.
    I recall some years ago that Alex Cockburn was telling the story of the Wilderness Society director who had a large track of old growth forest in his possession clearcut, blaming the betrayal of principle on his divorce settlement! The story may be in Washington Babylon.

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  2. It would be incorrect and unfair to say that Washingtonians are all horrible, amoral, principle-less little pricks who live only for the thrill they get when some no-name congressman from wherever-the-hell Middle America remembers their name.

    The only unfairness would be the "all" qualifier. "Most" would suffice for honesty's sake.

    As one who grew up in DC in the house of a single parent who worked the ladders of Federal power, and who had many friends who were Hill Rats and the like, I can say that the "most" qualifier would have sufficed for my circle of friends and acquaintances.

    Such small-minded people, Washingtonians. I'm pretty damned glad to not live there any more.

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