Dick Cheney once told us that "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." We all know how that turned out. Cheney's obsession with Iraq's non-existent nuclear and biological weapons was only the most stellar example of how the Republicans are passing laws, rewriting regulations and even starting wars to protect us from improbable threats.
Let's take an example here in Texas. We know that Jerry Patterson of the General Land Office has stalled the transfer of Christmas Mountains to the National Parks system because they don't allow hunting. Now it appears he may get his wish. After pressure from Texas senators, the Interior Department is proposing new regulations that would allow conceal carry guns in national parks "to ensure visitor safety and resource protection."
To quote Booboo, "Mr. Ranger isn't going to like this, Yogi."
Park rangers, retirees and conservation groups protested the plan, saying it will lead to confusion for visitors, rangers and other law enforcement agencies.
"This is purely and simply a politically driven effort to solve a problem that doesn't exist," said Bill Wade, chairman of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.
Wade and other critics cited statistics showing that national parks are among the safest places in the country. The probability of becoming a victim of a violent crime in a national park is 1 in more than 708,000 -- less likely than being struck by lightning, the groups said.
The rules change would defer to state and local law, which makes it very confusing and likely unenforceable. So why is it so critical to push an unneeded regulation against a non-existent threat which would produce a policy so incoherent it couldn't necessarily be enforced consistently within the same park?
Well, its an election year and the GOP doesn't have too much to crow about these days. Inflation is the highest in 17 years, housing prices are down double digits, the national debt is approaching $10 trillion, gas prices are approaching $4 per gallon, and then there is a little matter of that war that isn't playing so well in Peoria anymore. If you can't run on the issues, you need to invent one.
So instead of addressing any of our nation's problems with the economy, transportion, health care, fiscal policy; instead of drafting a plan to get us out a disastrous occupation of a foreign land; instead of addressing any of the real and present dangers facing middle America in the 21st century, we get yet another version of the culture wars. Thank you John Cornyn, Jerry Patterson, the Interior Department and the rest of the GOP for keeping issues like these on the front burner. We'd sleep much better in our tent knowing we're safe from Yogi Bear, except with the price of gas who can get to Yellowstone these days?