Republicans must go to Hallmark wilderness rhetoric training school or something. First there was Scooter Libby's remarkable Aspen Turning letter. And now there's Gale Norton's resignation letter (PDF), boasting of pillaging the wilderness in the language of a stoned nature lover (or, of a bad high school poet).
Mr. Bush, this department has climbed the mountaintop in terms of achieving the goals we set out to accomplish.
Now I feel it is time for me to leave this mountain you gave me to climb, catch my breath, then set my sights on new goals to achieve in the private sector.
As I leave the mountaintop of service in your Cabinet, I will always remember the time in 2001 when we climbed Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park and saw for ourselves America the beautiful.
Uuuff. Did they fuck on Moro Rock? Or does she really mean this stuff? Besides that bit about the private sector, I mean. I'm sure she's got some breathless gig in the private sector, at least until Abramoff's prosecutors catch up to her.
Worry not, behind all the empty imagery, Norton is quite pragmatic about her accomplishments. Three of the accomplishments she is most proud of?
Hundreds of communities are better protected from catastrophic wildfire. [Otherwise known as the leave no lumber behind act]
We have re-engineered our Indian trust system to provide better service to beneficiaries. [Goes right to the heart of the swindle Abramoff pulled on the tribes ... and says nothing about actually paying the tribes the money they're due]
We are on track to meet the tasks Congress and you set in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. [Razed the mountaintop to get coal, we did, all at Dick Cheney's secret bidding]
Seriously though, those three accomplishments place Norton right at the heart of the Abramoff scandal, selling access so corporations can pillage the land. If that's not enough to tip you to the reason Norton is leaving, she admits to being tired of the "partisanship" in DC.
As a person deeply committed to bipartisan and civil public discourse, one aspect of Washington I will not miss is the divisiveness that too often prevails.
Mr. Bush, Gail Norton says. I've been to the mountaintop. And they yelled at me there. They yelled at me for raping the land. When I broke the law, they told me I broke the law. Mr. Bush, they were mean to me on that mountain. I tried to steal money and they held me in contempt. Mr. Bush, I don't like this mountaintop, I don't like this mountaintop at all.
Martin Luther King Jr. must be rolling in his grave right now.