March 17, 2006


Kempthorne Picked for Interior: Idaho Governor Hailed by Bush, Assailed by Environmentalists (Peter Baker and Juliet Eilperin, 3/17/06, Washington Post)

President Bush named Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne as the new secretary of the interior yesterday, choosing a popular Western Republican with Washington experience and a disputed environmental record to oversee the nation's parks and public lands.

If confirmed, Kempthorne would succeed Gale A. Norton, who announced her resignation this month at a time when her department is tied up in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Kempthorne, 54, a two-term governor who served in the Senate in the 1990s, presumably should have little trouble winning the approval of his former colleagues. [...]

Kempthorne has been a favorite in the Bush White House for years and was considered three years ago as the likely choice for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He may have cemented his relationship with the president last summer when he and Bush went biking through Idaho trails together. Bush recalled that day fondly yesterday and noted that Kempthorne and his wife, Patricia, were married during a sunrise ceremony atop Idaho's Moscow Mountain.

But Kempthorne has also demonstrated independence from the White House on some issues. Just last month, he led a protest by the nation's governors against Bush's proposed cuts in Pentagon funding for the National Guard, calling them "a formula for disaster."

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 17, 2006 11:31 AM

Idaho's Moscow Mountain

By Idaho standard's, it really is not much of mountain. It is in Moscow, where the University of Idaho is located. That area is in the panhandle and is known as the Palouse. It is rolling hills where they grow wheat and lentils. Moscow Mountain does have trees and on it an it does stand out. I remember camping on Moscow Mountain when I was in law school. Idaho is a wonderful place, I'd love to move back to Moscow. Here is a nice photo of Moscow Mountain that really shows off the Palouse.

Kempthorne was once the mayor of Boise and then he became Senator for two terms. If I recall correctly, he said he wanted to go back to Idaho because he was sick of living on the east coast. Looks like he is back on the east coast. Bush likes governors, he picked my former governor to be Agriculture Secretary.

Posted by: pchuck at March 17, 2006 11:53 AM

From 1977-84, I visited Moscow (via Seattle or Portland) every July to participate in a program at the University. The mid-summer climate change from DC to the Pacific NW was wonderful, and the Palouse eerily magnificent.

And oj's "in their side" pun is delicious. Doubly so, given Kemp-thorn's first name.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 17, 2006 2:33 PM

I wonder if this puts him in the VP race. He'll have had six years in the Senate, 5 as a gov., and 3 as head of a major Federal Department. He may not come from a "must have" state, but then neither does Cheney.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 17, 2006 6:40 PM