The former Senator from Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, plants his boot on the ass of his one-time Congressional colleagues:

Indeed, “here we go again,” with the Bush EPA weakening environmental rules on building power plants near national parks. The environment is a key issue for many Americans but you would never know it by how willingly the GOP genuflects before Old King Coal.

When I was the Republican senator from Rhode Island, I attended briefings for potential donors and watched party honchos brag about our cozy relationship with the coal interests. The bigwigs wanted donors to know that coal is an important brick in the foundation of the Republican Party.

This strategy of favoring coal interests over the air that sustains life on our planet may be bringing in campaign dollars but it contributed to Republican losses in 2006 (including a Rhode Island seat that will probably never be regained).

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The GOP faces a potential blowout in November on a myriad of issues — Iraq, the economy, gas prices — and, certainly, its insensitivity to environmental issues.