When is an endorsement not really an endorsement? Here’s a case study.
1. First, check out the video from the Braddock District debate earlier this week, in which Teapublican incumbent John Cook claims to have been endorsed by something called the “Conservation League of Northern Virginia.” Ever heard of it? Try Googling. Try anything. You won’t find it. Because it doesn’t exist.
2. In actuality, Cook was actually “endorsed” by another (very small) group, one that calls itself the “Fairfax League of Conservation Voters.” Except, there are a few big problems with this group…
3. One problem is that, as Virginia League of Conservation Voters (LCV) President Lisa Guthrie informed me, this group is actually an “independent PAC…not a chapter or affiliate of Virginia LCV.” In addition, Virginia LCV has “no legal leverage over them and cannot prevent them from using ‘League of Conservation Voters’ in their name.”
4. This “Fairfax League” group has no website. It has no Facebook page. It has no Twitter account. It raised no money in 2010 or 2011 (also none in 2008, just $100 in 2009). Its self-proclaimed president’s Facebook page has absolutely no mention of the organization or of environmental issues on it, even though she updates her page several times a day.
5. In sum, the so-called “Fairfax League of Conservation Voters” “endorsement” of John Cook is NOT – repeat, NOT – an endorsement by a recognized, authorized, or otherwise serious environmental organization. Amazingly, it turns out, if you, me, a friend of ours, or even the Koch brothers wanted to start a string of LCVs all over the country, there’s nothing stopping them. Crazy, I know, but that’s the deal.
6. Also, along these lines, it’s worth noting that the Virginia LCV – as well as the Sierra Club – strongly endorsed Janet Oleszek for State Senate in her race against Ken Kookinelli in 2007. To my knowledge, Janet hasn’t gotten worse on environmental issues since then. 🙂
7. In attempting to explain their bizarre decision decision to “go rogue” and endorse the anti-environment Tea Party favorite, John Cook, for Supervisor, the “Fairfax League of Conservation Voters” — membership, 2? 3? — claimed that it was partly due to the fact that Janet Oleszek’s questionnaire was not filled out adequately. So, are you curious to see what Janet actually said? Well, then, click here. And yes, that’s right, Janet DID answer it perfectly, 100% correct answers from an environmentalist perspective. Why? Because Janet Oleszek is a super-strong environmentalist, a million times better on this issue than the abysmal Tea Party/Ken “Climate Change Denier” Cuccinelli favorite John Cook.
8. Not enough idiocy yet? Well, then, check out Cook’s website to see his views on the environment. Note that the only thing he really talks about is “[r]ecent regulations promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency” regarding the Chesapeake Bay “pollution diet.” What does Cook think of these regulations? Well, he says they “present an especially difficult challenge that the County must face.” He asks whether the EPA rules “are too aggressive, too expensive, and will negatively affect necessary economic development and redevelopment of aging neighborhoods.” He claims that “it may be financially difficult, and technologically impossible, to meet all the of EPA’s rules in the required timeframe.” Then, he ratchets up the scare tactics and demagoguery, claiming that “these new regulations could deter economic growth and affect property values,” that the EPA rules “may disrupt the balance in current County policy,” that it could result in no less than “destroying our economy.” Anything else? Next, will Cook claim the EPA regulations risk starting an outbreak of the plague in Fairfax County? More to the point, does this Tea Party favorite sound like an environmentalist to you, in the least bit? If so, what are you smoking, and can you please let all of us know? Thanks! 🙂
9. Also note that John Cook voted against the Fairfax County budget being debated in the spring of 2010, that included a stormwater tax which funds programs to clean up runoff into streams flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Cook voted against the budget again this year, also containing the stormwater tax to help protect the Bay. So much for Cook being in any way, shape or form friendly to the environment.
Bottom line: sometimes an “endorsement” isn’t at all what it seems. This is clearly one of those cases. End of story.