Joe Conason's Journal

A Green candidate's history with sludge spreading; Cheney in contempt? Plus: Ann Coulter gets canned in Pennsylvania.


Salon Staff
September 4, 2002 5:49PM (UTC)

Greenish Sludge
Another political vaudeville appearance by Ed McGaa, the Rufus T. Firefly of the Minnesota Green Party. It seems that prior to his emergence as a Native American avatar of eco-consciousness, McGaa worked in the not-so-green sludge-spreading business. His checkered career back home in South Dakota is chronicled here, including a quote from an activist who says, "this guy caused a lot of [environmental] damage in South Dakota."

Questioned by reporters about the controversial sludge project, McGaa responded: "When I go in the Spirit World, I'll ask, 'Great Spirit, was that good or bad?' I think the Great Spirit will say, 'That's not a bad idea.'" Then he added, "All these white people were the ones that made this whole thing happen. Why do you want to turn around and blame Mr. Indian here?" No wonder the Greens chose him to replace Paul Wellstone ...

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Elsewhere on Planet Green, the activists are restless, according to a site called the Scrum. In Texas and a few other states, the party's leaders aren't so sure they want Nader as their presidential candidate in 2004.

Mocking the Media Since 1977!
Real wit can be scarce in a country where Rush Limbaugh, Don Imus and Jay Leno get the most laughs. As we enter the anniversary week of Sept. 11, and prepare to be inundated by self-serving pap from pseuds of all descriptions, an antidote of sorts is provided by Media Person. (Media Person's official Web site, maintained by a suspect individual named Lewis Grossberger, is also intermittently hilarious.)

Cheney in Contempt?
I have to admit that I never expected to link to Larry Klayman's Web site, where he reports today that the vice president is "in contempt" of a court order to produce Energy Task Force documents. But then I also never expected that Judicial Watch would be suing the Bush White House with the Sierra Club as its co-plaintiff.

Cuomo Crashes
A former Clinton Cabinet member dropped yesterday in New York, and another may soon fall in Florida. But before the usual suspects argue that, like everything else, this is somehow the ex-president's fault, please rest assured that Andrew Cuomo undid himself with very little help from others. There were various reasons for his downward trajectory since last spring; sparing the unhappy details, let's just say he gradually transformed himself into the sort of candidate who voters prefer to punish rather than reward. (Newsday's Ellis Henican brings clear-eyed perspective to the Cuomo wake.)

It is easier to argue that Janet Reno's role in the last administration has made her vulnerable in her home state . She polls well among blacks and elderly voters, who remain loyal to the former president, and poorly among the white males who tend to like him least. (The irony is that if those Clinton loyalists understood how Reno helped to set Clinton up for a partisan prosecution in January 1998, they might be switching en masse to her opponent.) But if Reno is upended by challenger Bill McBride, the main reason will be that he can beat Jeb Bush and she probably can't. That's according to the latest Mason-Dixon poll, released on Tuesday, which showed McBride moving up on Bush despite a flood of Republican attack ads designed to stop him in the primary.

"From McBride's standpoint it's a lot more winnable," said poll director Brad Coker. "Democrats almost have to nominate McBride to have a chance against Bush." (Anyone who has forgotten the most compelling reason why Democrats in the Sunshine State and elsewhere want to return Jeb to peddling pumps and real estate, this opinion piece on the 2000 election summarizes the argument nicely.)

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That may also be why Rep. Corinne Brown, one of the state's leading black officials, came out yesterday for McBride.

Miami Vice and Virtue
Florida politics are changing rapidly, and not in ways that necessarily bode well for the Bush Republicans. Donna Minkowitz, one of the best journalists covering gay and lesbian politics, reports that Cuban-Americans of all persuasions have come out in defense of gay rights in Miami-Dade. This would have been unimaginable a few years ago, and it's still surprising.

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Dumped by Middle America
A mainstream media executive has finally summoned the taste and decency to tell Ann Coulter to beat it. Not anybody at CNN or MSNBC or any of those other powerful portals of the "liberal" media, which promote her bilious maunderings almost every day. No, just a newspaper editor in central Pennsylvania, where old standards still prevail.

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Salon Staff

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