Why This Man Isn’t Smiling
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Outside magazine, October 1994
Why This Man Isn’t Smiling
As if fuming Republicans weren’t enough… A pocket primer on Bruce Babbitt’s iffier “allies” from the Democratic aisle.
With two long, strange years behind him, Bruce Babbitt will find himself on familiar terrain in the 1995 legislative season: square one. Grand environmental proposals have been whittled down or scuttled, and Republicans are sure to be gingered up if, as widely predicted, they do well in next month’s midterm congressional elections. All of which has Washington, D.C., buzzworms
Representative George Miller (California)
The hulking chairman of the powerful House panel on Natural Resources herds Democrats of all stripes toward Babbitt’s loftiest positions. But if he senses that Babbitt is pushing for softer endangered-species language to satisfy pro-development types, he might soften his commitment to their important legislative alliance on Capitol Hill. Miller can line up urban congressmen
White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta
The former director of the Office of Management and Budget can keep the Oval Office door open to Babbitt, who caught it on the nose a few times when western politicians–like outgoing Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus–got to Clinton first. A fiscally conservative Californian, Panetta has often sided with environmentalists in their attempts to squeeze higher land-use antes out of
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer
True, the Supreme Court doesn’t mix it up in politics, but the new occupant of the seat that almost went to Babbitt will exert plenty of influence on the Interior agenda. He rattled Greens during his Senate confirmation hearings–his 1993 book Breaking the Vicious Circle outlines an environmental regulatory policy that they think would give
Speaker of the House Thomas J. Foley (Washington)
Foley, who hails from eastern Washington State, remains loyal to the timber and agricultural interests that sent him to Congress decades ago. While clipped forests and silt-clouded rivers are still big problems in the Northwest, he stiff-arms Babbitt’s proposals, including logging bans and dam-toppling. His staff includes powerful aide Nick Ashmore, who can intervene on behalf
Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Colorado)
Campbell, a Harley-riding Northern Cheyenne, has had frosty relations with Babbitt during his freshman Senate term. As a political force, he remains loyal to his old House district, a conservative enclave in western Colorado. Democrats still wince at how Campbell practically high-fived Babbitt’s GOP enemies during the 1993 grazing filibuster. Last summer he was publicly warning