It's clear from South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's Feb. 23 op-ed ["A Conservative Conservationist?"] where his priorities lie: not with conservation of the planet but with conservation of the Republican right.

If there is one issue that ought to rise above the pitiable state of politics in this country, it is the environment. But Mr. Sanford sees the issue as a threat to his party's standing and offers advice to his fellow Republicans on getting out ahead of the Democrats, who have been preaching environmental conservation for a generation. This advice includes ways to spin the issues so as not to upset the Republican ideological apple cart, such as "showing how environmental conservation is . . . about expanding economic opportunity."

Earth to Mr. Sanford: Al Gore made this point neatly in "An Inconvenient Truth" when he noted that U.S. cars can't be sold in China because of the miserable gas mileage they get.

Some things should be beyond politics, and our planet's survival is one of them. Instead of seeking new ways to divide the country ideologically, it's time for Mr. Sanford and the rest of the Republican Party to come to the table and work with the Democrats.


Ellicott City