HIGHTOWER: Newt's Environmental Extremism
Years ago a guy ran for Congress in California and was defeated, and he did not take it well. He said to the press: "The people have spoken -- the bastards."This has to be what our Loudspeaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, is thinking these days as he looks at the political mess he has made for himself and the Republican Party over environmental issues.Fueled by his own ego and a gusher of campaign money from big-time polluters, Newt and his Republican-controlled Congress have done a gut-job on the environmental laws that stand between even worse industrial pollution and us. It's our air, water, land, food and families they are attacking.Apparently, these goofuses actually expected the applause of a grateful public, but instead folks are appalled at what they are trying to do to us. After a year of the GOP's attempts to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, a Harris poll now finds that 86 percent of us Americans believe an aggressive EPA is needed as much or more today than when it was created 25 years ago. More stunning to Newt & Gang is that 76 percent of Republicans feel this way.Indeed, Republican pollster Linda DiVall recently reported to her GOP congressional clients, "55 percent of Republicans do not trust their party when it comes to protecting the environment," adding that their assault on America's anti-pollution laws has put the GOP "out of sync with mainstream American opinion."So, are Republican congressional leaders backing off? Of course not -- they've been bought and paid for by the polluters. Instead, they are advising GOP members to visit zoos and participate in tree plantings back home to try to boost their environmental image.