We have been predicting the demise of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for some time on the Peak. In the Sunday Denver Post, Allison Sherry wrote the first draft of his official political obituary. While Sherry takes it easy on him and frames it as Salazar not making up his mind about a second term, make no mistake about it, Salazar doesn't have a choice. There is no opportunity for a second term. He is done in the Obama White House.
Salazar has bumbled, fumbled, and all around screwed up his tenure at the Interior Department, and has all but ended his future political career. Whether or not the Obama-nator gets another four years come November 2012, Salazar will be packing his bags and returning to Colorado with his tail between his legs soon enough.
While Salazar once possessed a Senate seat he could have probably held onto as long as he liked, that safety net was ripped from beneath him when he migrated to the Interior Department. Some in Washington, like Congressman Mike Coffman, look on the mess Salazar has made of his career like watching a car wreck:
"I just don't know what he was thinking when he gave up his Senate seat to join the Obama administration because he had worked so hard over the years to develop an image as a centrist politician," Rep. Coffman said. "Now, that reputation is totally gone."
You go Mike! It’s about time that an elected Republican in this state showed some political brass and called Salazar to the mat.
The only centrist attribute Salazar's political identity has is in the fact that neither the political right nor the political left want anything to do with him anymore. That has left in him in a politically impossible-to-maintain position.
With the MASSIVE new finds of economically reachable natural gas and oil in the US, the administration will be under equally massive pressure to allow access to domestic American energy. Salazar won't have the standing among enviros, after his complete failure of leadership during the Deepwater Horizons disaster and his backing off of his "Wild Lands" policy. Nor will Salazar have the standing among the oil and gas industry, and the communities who want the jobs associated with the industry's domestic expansion. That leaves him with no standing, politically or on the issue of expanded access to American energy.
Salazar is done, and Allison Sherry's Sunday article is merely the first draft of what will soon be a look-back rather than a hypothetical look forward at Salazar's political career. We for one think it can't come soon enough.