OK, I kid a little with the headline: There were the pens; and the Chik-fil-A franchise; and the law school letters; and the condo; and the flights; and the “tactical pants”; and the lotion; and … yes, it’s just all too preposterous. Literally, no one could make up a character as buffoonishly, narcissistically corrupt as Scott Pruitt.
But Pruitt must be remembered primarily for his selfless service on behalf of planet-destroying fossil fuel interests, and the makers of brain-damaging chemicals. Without immediate hope of profit for himself, Pruitt was willing to sacrifice the brains of our children, the health of millions, and indeed every living creature on the planet, on behalf of the corporate paymasters of the Republican Party.
In this, he will be succeeded by Andrew Wheeler, who has if anything served the fossil industry even more selflessly: A former coal lobbyist — he was VP of the “Washington Coal Club” — and legislative aide of Sen. James Inhofe, the most dedicated and reverent high priest of the GOP Climate Suicide Cult. By working inside the EPA, Wheeler has likely taken a pay cut; and we currently have no indications that he’ll insist on the emoluments of office that Pruitt so craved.
Says the NRDC:
The line on Wheeler from people in the know is that he’s essentially Scott Pruitt’s ideological twin—but that his many years as a Washington insider have endowed him with a political savvy that Pruitt sorely lacks. Were the increasingly embattled Pruitt to leave, few believe that this replacement would deviate from Pruitt’s path of rolling back protections, propping up the moribund coal industry, and putting energy company profits ahead of public health.
From all accounts, Wheeler doesn’t appear to be a paranoid, self-aggrandizing morale destroyer with a highly developed taste for taxpayer-funded first-class travel. He has more friends than enemies in Washington and seems unlikely to shoot himself in the foot or otherwise self-destruct. In the end, that might actually make Wheeler even more dangerous than Pruitt—not less.
The scandal was never Scott Pruitt, or his personal weaknesses. The open scandal, the one that threatens to swallow human civilization whole, is the Republican Party’s prostration before the altar of fossil fuel greed, its credo that you can set your own childrens’ future ablaze — “and for what? A little bit of money”.
Never forget: faced with one of the most corrupt Cabinet members in history, GOP leaders shrugged.
They did nothing to hold Scott Pruitt accountable.
They held no hearings, laughed off oversight, and in the Speaker’s case, claimed they didn’t even know it was happening. 1/
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) July 5, 2018
We’re used to hearing that “the cover-up is worse than the scandal”. Not anymore. We’re in the era of the brazen swindle. The scandal isn’t what they do in secret; it’s what they do openly, without fear of reprisal or even inconvenience.
GOP delenda est.