Elephants and rubber dodos


We just swore in a new president, and already there's speculation about who might run in 2012 -- including a Westerner, Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho.

Kempthorne was George W. Bush's last Secretary of the Interior, replacing Gale Norton of Colorado in 2006. He had a long political resume -- mayor of Boise, U.S. Senator, and state governor -- before going to Interior.

He also has an extremely low rating from the League of Conservation Voters, and was the 2007 winner of the "Rubber Dodo Award" from the Center for Biological Diversity because he went longer -- beating James Watt's record of 376 days -- than any previous Interior Secretary (since the Endangered Species Act became law in 1973) without listing a new species as endangered or threatened.

It should be noted that a more prominent potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, won the Rubber Dodo Award for 2008 on account of her opposition to protection for polar bears.

At this rate, we can just compile a list of Rubber Dodo winners in coming years, and by 2011, we'll be able to handicap the GOP presidential field.

High Country News Classifieds