Wednesday :: May 21, 2003

Why Whitman Left-And It Wasn't Her Family


by Steve

See, there was a good reason why Whitman left.

This will make a good set of campaign commercials next year.

Update: Some additional links and information to amplify the above.

From the Financial Times:

Christine Todd Whitman yesterday announced her resignation as administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency amid suggestions that she disagreed with much of the Bush administration's environmental policy.

"I don't think there has been an EPA administrator that has been so publicly humiliated by the White House, from when she was thrown to the wolves on global warming to when she was forced to backtrack on her opposition to environmental exemptions for the military," said Philip Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust.

From Salon’s Jake Tapper:

It was pretty clear to Hazel Gluck, a friend and former New Jersey campaign official close to Christine Todd Whitman, that the woman in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency had grown "exhausted," in part because of her long-standing battles with pro-growth conservative forces in the administration --forces that almost always won.

Gluck also says Whitman was excited to be returning to the Garden State. But she described her as "tired and exhausted," and the exhaustion was not only due to how hard Whitman has worked and how far she's traveled since taking office at the beginning of the Bush administration. "Some of the right wingers in our party really make it difficult for [Secretary of State] Colin Powell and for anybody who's a moderate in this administration, and Christie was no exception," Gluck said. While Whitman enjoyed a "great" personal relationship with the president, the "pressure from the right wing" wore on her. "The pressures of the job are enormous," Gluck says, "but this particular one with all the philosophical tugs, had to be part and parcel of what makes one tired."

From the New York Times Editorial tomorrow:

Even Mrs. Whitman's voice had grown less constant and increasingly faint. She arrived in Washington with respectable credentials as a defender of the regulatory framework that for 30 years had brought the nation cleaner air and water. But she soon found herself overwhelmed by the lobbyists and ideologues President Bush installed in every other important environmental job, and by a White House that valued its corporate constituency far more than it cared for the environment.

Mrs. Whitman's announced reason for leaving is her desire to return to her home life in New Jersey. But she must surely be thankful to leave behind a bureaucratic struggle in which she usually emerged the loser. Of the many setbacks, the most embarrassing was President Bush's decision to renounce the Kyoto Protocol on global warming only weeks after Mrs. Whitman had assured America's European allies that the administration was committed to finding ways to reduce greenhouse gases.

She also found herself in the awkward position of having to renounce and rewrite various rules governing industrial air pollution, rules she had vigorously defended when she was governor of New Jersey. Finally — and again under White House pressure — she initiated a review of key sections of the Clean Water Act that some fear could weaken longstanding protections for wetlands and streams.

Whitman was not rated highly as an administrator.

Whitman was ready to leave back in December, if Bush would give her another appointment. Since he hasn’t, she’s gone.

And the story that we ran a month ago about Whitman using her investigative staff as valets, probably leaked by Karl Rove, gave her the impetus she needed to hit the road.

Steve :: 6:23 PM :: Comments (14) :: Digg It!