Mo Udall is still dead.
Morris ``Mo'' Udall, the Arizona Democrat who spent 30 years in Congress and died in 1998, might have been the greatest presidential candidate on conservation issues since Teddy Roosevelt.
His 1976 run for president happened to be the first year I could vote in a presidential election. And also happens to be the last time I was truly excited by a presidential candidate.
I sure don't see anybody on either side who comes anywhere near Udall on conservation (or has his sharp wit either) going into Illinois' primary on Tuesday.
But there is some good news.
As the League of Conservation Voters puts it: ``And after almost eight years of a reckless and relentless presidential assault on environmental protection, the nation is yearning for a return to the traditional bipartisan support for improved environmental standards and a new commitment to addressing the single greatest challenge of this generation: global warming and America’s energy future.''
That's damming with faint praise after the last seven years, but LCV's breakdown of the candidates' conservation records at http://presidentialprofiles2008.org/ gives encouragement that every candidate embraces conservation in some form.
But nobody thrills me.
And I'm sorry if you're a young voter who sees Barack Obama in the same light I once saw Udall. All you need to know about Obama and conservation is the Illinois senator's knee-jerk support of the Peotone Airport.
To his credit, LCV gives Obama the highest lifetime voting rating of 96 after his two years in the Senate. Hillary Clinton has a strong 90.
Mike Huckabee, lifetime member of B.A.S.S. since 1996, earned the endorsement of B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott, who said, ``It's sure exciting to have an authentic angler and hunter as a candidate, not to mention a bona fide conservationist.''
But contrast those with Udall, who was inducted National Wildlife Federation Conservation Hall of Fame after a career that included being the force behind such monumental actions as the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act and the Alaska Lands Act.
That's the kind of stuff to hang a vote on.