If you’re smelling a scam in southwest Colorado, you have an excellent olfactory sense, or at least good instincts.
The deal goes like this. President Barack Obama needs to look, well, presidential. And presidents do stuff like designate national monuments.
And doing that kind of thing is especially good when presidents haven’t been paying attention to their other jobs and the Middle East is aflame with anti-American demonstrations, violence and embassy attacks the president can’t quite explain.
Enter Chimney Rock National Archaeological Area.
Now, the congressman in whose district Chimney Rock sits, Scott Tipton, has passed a bill through the House of Representatives to make the area a national monument, but Tipton is a Republican and the president can’t allow him a victory, especially while decrying partisanship in Congress.
Oh and did we mention that Colorado is a swing state, very much in play?
Suddenly, Colorado’s two senators, both Democrats, just like Obama and in fact very much Obama supporters, look very ineffectual.
Yep. Bennet and Udall just couldn’t seem to get that darned, highly controversial Tipton national monument bill through the Democrat-controlled, Obama-operated Senate.
So, what gives?
Remember that Obama needs a distraction? Well, nothing makes for a distraction like rushing in to solve a problem that doesn’t exist — and getting some good, cheap press to boot. All while burning Tipton.
The truth is, chimney rock was already federal lands, which means it was already protected in a significant way.
You can’t cut a tree on federal land without years of analysis, reams of study, and an OK from a federal bureaucrat or ten.
And it’s not like evil miners were poised to mountain-top mine a layer of bricks off of our fair Chimney Rock, or that the area was under impending and imminent threat of geologic doom.
In some ways, the entire discussion was just a renaming exercise that will, on a practical level, have no measurable impact on how this natural resource is managed and used.
And Obama’s post haste electoral season renaming – err designation – of the area as a national monument, it is one more example of phony leadership from a president who will do just about anything he can to divert attention from his failed policies.