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Adam Kinzinger Is No Friend Of Mine

By the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" measurement, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger is the buddy of upright-thinking Illinoisans everywhere. He's a reformed buddy. A recovering nutjob.

He's paid for his ticket to the dinner party of reclaimed right-wingedness. If Joe Walsh's change of political heart can make him seem like a decent human being (we're still keeping watch on that transformation) then the 16th District congressman from Kankakee is theoretically salvageable, too.

He stood up to ex-Prez L'Grand L'Orange on who won the election, the electoral vote counting, subsequent impeachment and thus paid the rhetorical price of national scorn by GOP lickspittles. Perhaps he had no hankering to genuflect before golden idols.

It surely was a torment he could see coming.

So, good for him.

Every organized GOP enclave in Illinois - our state's own Lickspittle Brigade - wants his scalp, except ironically the State GOP, which decided to let him escape the noose because, you know, unity.

Even his family publicly spanked him, and based on their frowning communication, what a dim, cud-chewing cow herd they seem to be. There are some relatives you only wish would publicly disown you, as to save on your Christmas card costs.

But Kinzinger did not emerge from the political cocoon fully formed only four months ago. Who was he before Trump tried his Big Orange Pumpkin Putsch?

Did you like the original Adam Kinzinger?

That's less pleasing. If Kinzinger's only token of friendship is opposing ex-Prez Donald, then he still looks like every other Republican who makes your skin crawl.

In fact, on some issues, he is his own walking, talking natural disaster.

Yes, I know that unity and bipartisanship are the new preferred words of the Kindness Era, but for me? Nah. Don't think so.

Skunks still stink underneath the deodorant.

For 12 years, there is not a piece of human-linked legislation - youthful DACA immigrants, employee safety, financial integrity against loan scammers or protection of the environment from plunderers - that Kinzinger wasn't as Trumpian as Trump was.

Got an oil-drilling rig waiting to puncture the Arctic Wildlife Refuge? Or plans to drill for oil off Florida? Go right ahead.

See any Native American tribal land you'd like to sell off to miners? Want to mine uranium on Navajo sacred land near the Grand Canyon? Kinzinger is your man.

Over the span of his dozen years in Congress, it's almost impossible to find one environmental initiative that Kinzinger approved. You'd think there was at least one loon, beaver or Sasquatch he didn't want to render extinct.

One unequivocal stand on the principle of preserving Mother Earth? That's all you'd need to like him better. But no. He even voted against efficiency standards for light bulbs.

Carbon emissions standards for coal-burning power plants? Nope.

Need more methane emissions? Again, Kinzinger is your man.

He even had a chance to reclaim congressional control over going to World War III with Iran. No, he said. Let's let Trump decide.

Or he could have voted to defund Saudi Arabia's subsidized war with Yemen. Didn't.

A congressman's voting record is not only the binary passage/rejection of final bills; it also includes voting on amendments that either sharpen a bill's teeth or extract its incisors.

Kinzinger's tendency on that issue is hardly camouflaged.

In 2011, for example, the House was voting on an amendment to the Endangered Species Act.

The League of Conservation Voters, a pro-wild critter group that monitors every vote in Congress, assessed the amendment this way:

2011 Scorecard Vote

Endangered Species Act
House Roll Call Vote 652
Issue: Wildlife

House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Norm Dicks (D-WA) and Representative Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) offered this amendment to H.R. 2584, the FY12 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, to strike a rider in the underlying bill prohibiting the Fish and Wildlife Service from spending any money to list new plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act, designate critical habitat, or upgrade species from threatened to endangered.

This Extinction Rider - a direct assault on the Endangered Species Act, which has prevented the extinction of listed species such as the American alligator and the grizzly bear - would boost the risk of extinction for hundreds of imperiled plants and animals, and it would immediately block life-saving protections for more than 260 'candidate species' that are currently awaiting listing decisions, such as the wolverine, Rio Grande cutthroat trout, and Pacific walrus.

On July 27, the House adopted the Dicks-Fitzpatrick amendment by a vote of 224-202.

The Center for Biological Diversity said allowing the bill to stand unaltered would have wiped out a century of species protection - mostly to benefit commercial interests. Sounds very Republican to me.

Thirty-seven Republicans voted to save the protections. Not Kinzinger.

Kinzinger voted "no" as he did repeatedly on so many other related measures.

The LCV rates Kinzinger rates as 8 percent supportive of the environment, wildlife, natural land management and the money to promote all three.

Eight percent. If you wish to know one fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans, that score is a clear signal. He's not worse than most Republicans who get a single digit score.

But he's no friend of the planet, either.

His irate relatives called him a "deep disappointment" on Trump.

Based on every other issue besides Trump adoration, I can feel their pain.

Adam Kinzinger might be a momentary ally, but he's no friend.


David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. His most recent piece for us was Valpo Picked Wrong Genocides To Honor. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.


Posted on March 2, 2021

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