Redden is Courage; Craig is Ignoranceby Editors
The Daily Astorian, February 6, 2007
Judge Redden sees the salmon issue regionally and historically
Salmon have defined our region for centuries. On the day we forget that, our regional culture will pass a fateful demarcation and signal its demise.
The three-part series ending today about Federal District Judge Jim Redden is all about the salmon equation. As Ken Olsen of High Country News described in his series, Judge Redden is unusually blunt in his assessment of the carnage that certain federal dams have exacted.
Redden and Idaho Sen. Larry Craig make an interesting comparison. They are equally intelligent and experienced. But Redden stands for something. As a junior congressman, Craig showed enormous promise in the 1980s when environmentalists dubbed him "the thinking man's Don Young," in reference to an Alaska congressman who was on no one's list of enlightened lawmakers.
In the Senate leadership, Craig chose not to evolve. He was part of the Bush administration enablers who lived on clichés, not on product. Craig pitched to the lowest common denominator or the interest group that would pay him the most. Idaho is a more diverse and enlightened place than you would gather from listening to Larry Craig. History will say that Craig has left Idaho and the nation no legacy when set next to the Idaho giants William Borah and Frank Church.
Craig's great contribution to the struggle over salmon was to eliminate funding for the Fish Passage Center (See "Science and honest budgeting win," Jan. 30). In doing that, he struck a blow for secrecy and ignorance at the height of the information age, for stupidity in the face of technological possibility and climate change's threat.
Judge Redden, on the other hand, sees the salmon equation broadly and historically. He has shown courage in putting the salmon issue squarely in the face of the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Pacific Northwest lawmakers who would rather get back to collecting campaign contributions, riding corporate jets and building their own personal celebrity.
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