Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bush’s latest ‘post-presidency cringe-inducing activity’

Amazingly sick:
Later this month, former President George W. Bush will join up with Liz Cheney, the daughter of his former vice president, to speak to a group of hunters in Reno, Nevada. Attendees of the Safari Club International Annual Hunters' Convention will also be treated to the musical stylings of Three Dog Night and Papa Doo Run Run, a Beach Boys cover band.

On Tuesday night, Rachel Maddow laid into Bush's latest "post-presidency cringe-inducing activity." Maddow featured a parody advertising the former president's gig in the style of a monster truck rally commercial.

"On Saturday! Saturday! Saturday!" the ad screamed. "It's the Safari Club International Convention starring live in person the 43rd president of the United States of America George W. Bush!"

The Safari Club bills itself as "the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide" but Michael Satchell, a senior consultant for The Humane Society of the United States, says their membership is about "doing nothing more than killing animals-an entire alphabet."

Writing a few years back, Satchell described SCI. "With its photographs of grinning hunters posing with lifeless animals and its meticulous rankings for the biggest tusks, horns, antlers, skulls and bodies, the SCI record book perfectly encapsulates what trophy hunting is all about: killing for killing's sake."

But SCI's endeavors do not end with their "macabre scorecard." They also lobby to relax restrictions on killing animals worldwide. And they have enlisted some famous names in their effort.

SCI's membership includes former President George Herbert Walker Bush, who has lobbied the government of Botswana on the group's behalf to lift the ban on killing the nation's dwindling lion population. What's more, President George W. Bush appointed Matthew J. Hogan, SCI's former Government Affairs Manager, as one of the two current deputy directors of USFWS-a classic example of the fox guarding the hen house. Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton, in turn, has worked to weaken the ESA, from abandoning federal efforts to restore grizzlies in Idaho to undermining a key provision that allows citizens to sue the government to speed up protection of imperiled species.