The other day, my wife, an animal activist and environmentalist, got an e-mail from the National Wildlife Federation, with the subject line, "Don't Let Ohio's Sen. Brown Turn Against Wildlife."
The e-mail turned out to be from Sue Brown, executive director of the NWF Action Fund. It featured a large color photograph of a polar bear.
"I just got word that Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is considering support of a law that would undermine the Clean Air Act and crucial progress on protecting the future of wildlife from global warming pollution," explained the "Dear Ann" letter from "Sue," using the faux intimacy beloved of direct marketers, politicians and con men.
The letter doesn't mention Ohio's other senator, Republican Rob Portman, who apparently hates wildlife and is apparently beyond the reach of appeals from bear lovers.
Brown is considering how to vote on whether to delay the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.
Here's a few nuances the letter misses:
1. The EPA hasn't regulated carbon dioxide before, but began doing so under the Obama administration. The end-justifies-the-means philosophy here is that if the president can't get a global warming bill through Congress, it's OK for the EPA to take on new duties, anyway.
2. According to Project Vote Smart, Sen. Brown received a 91 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters in 2009, and a 71 percent rating that year from Environment America.
3. Brown represents a state where manufacturing is still important, and largely powered by coal. He faces a re-election campaign next year. Putting the power to regulate carbon dioxide into the hands of EPA would give unelected bureaucrats the power to give some areas of the country an economic advantage over others.
It's not an easy vote for Brown, who is "green" on many issues but obviously doesn't want to throw people out of work in his home state.
Does the National Wildlife Federation want to be a respected organization, or just another special interest group?