Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wasn't meek in his assessment of American politics during during a recent visit to Bowdoin.

"Eighty percent of Republicans are just Democrats who don't know what's going on," said Kennedy in his Common Hour speech last Friday in Pickard Theater.

Kennedy is an environmental lawyer and president of Waterkeeper Alliance, the fastest-growing environmental group in the country.

Although Kennedy brought down the house with his poke at Republicans, he focused much of his speech on the problems within the American media and political campaigning system.

"We are the best-entertained and least-informed people on earth," he said.

News services now "appeal to the prurient interests we all have in the reptilian parts of our brain for sex and celebrity gossip."

Kennedy asserted that an educated public, primarily by means of the media, is crucial to maintaining a well-run democracy.

"You cannot have a democracy very long if you don't have an informed public," he said.

He said the greatest threat to American democracy is excessive corporate influence in the government, and defined fascism as the merger of state and corporate power.

"The domination of business by government is communism. The domination of government by business is fascism," he said.

Kennedy seemed wary about the power of corporations.

"Five multinational corporations now own 14,000 radio stations, 5,000 TV stations and 80 percent of the newspapers," he said.

Kennedy also discussed the importance of nature in American society. He believes Americans protect nature to protect ourselves, both spiritually and physically.

"We protect nature for our own sake," he said. "Nature is infrastructure for our communities."

He was highly critical of the current administration's environmental policy and called George W. Bush "the worst environmental president in American history."

Kennedy concluded his speech by reiterating the importance of the environment to Americans, asserting that the roots of spirituality and religion are found in nature.

"Nature is the critical defining element of the American people," he said.