Monday, May 12, 2008



I was just reading some more of Lincoln Chafee's fascinating book, Against The Tide, the chapter about how the Senate dealt with environmental issues in light of Cheney's success in persuading Bush-- if it took much, or even any persuasion-- to do a 180 on his campaign promises to be an environmentally friendly president. When Cheney announced to a gathering of Republican senators that the Regime had decided to throw away all their environmental pledges, the crowd burst out into a chorus of cowboy whoops and cheers. But Chafee-- at least in the part of the chapter I finished over dinner last night-- named McCain as one of the small cadre of Republicans who helped save ANWAR from the oil companies (a passion of Chafee's).

Today's Washington Post gets further into the weeds. Basically McCain is significantly better than Global Warming deniers like Inhofe... but not as good as the worst, most reactionary Democrats, anti-environmental hacks Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, and Max Baucus. There are also 9 Republicans with consistently better environmental voting records than McCain (Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Judd Gregg, Gordon Smith, Arlen Specter, John Thune, John Sununu, Bob Corker, and Norm Coleman-- all of whom have barely mediocre environmental voting records).

The Post makes a point that McCain is "the most unpredictable, erratic" Republican who sometimes support pro-environmental policies.
McCain has made the environment one of the key elements of his presidential bid. He speaks passionately about the issue of climate change on the campaign trail, and he plans to outline his vision for combating global warming in a major speech today in Portland, Ore.

"I'm proud of my record on the environment," he said at a news conference Friday at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. "As president, I will dedicate myself to addressing the issue of climate change globally."

But an examination of McCain's voting record shows an inconsistent approach to the environment: He champions some "green" causes while casting sometimes contradictory votes on others.

This year he scored the lowest of any member of Congress on environmental issues but that had more to do with him not voting than on voting badly. His lifetime League of Conservation Voters score is 24 percent (atrocious), compared with 86 for Obama and 86 for Clinton and Defenders of Wildlife gave him 38 percent in the 108th Congress and 40 in the 109th, both very mediocre. Let me quote the last Republican bullshit artist running for president and what he had to say about the environment before being elected (Sept 29, 2000):
"With the help of Congress, environmental groups and industry, we will require all power plants to meet clean air standards in order to rescue emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury, and carbon dioxide within a reasonable period of time."

Almost as soon as the Supreme Court declared him president, Bush peremptorily reneged on those promises without offering any excuses, although-- as though to rub salt in the wounds of citizens concerned with environmental issues-- he cynically called his pro-pollution legislation "Clear Skies."

Is there any reason to believe McCain would behave any differently. No, none at all. In fact, there is every reason, judging from past history that McCain would act just as badly. Late in 2005 when a key ANWAR vote came up, League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund President Rodger Schlickheisen met with McCain-- who had flip flopped back and forth on the issue for years.
His answer disappointed them. In the brief meeting, the senator said he was unwilling to risk blocking a bill involving the military at a time of war-- even though it was clear the broader funding bill would pass quickly and by a wide margin if opponents managed to strip the ANWR provision from it. "We told him, 'This may be the key vote, this may be the time we win this,' " Schlickheisen recalled in an interview. "He said, 'Not on this bill.' That was it."

When Obama talks about McCain's environmental record, he points out that he has "opposed real solutions to our dependence on oil time and time again." And as if his spotty voting record warning isn't enough, one would have to be wary because of serially dishonest Joe Lieberman vouching for McCain's "good intentions." Holy Joe calls him "an environmental leader."


Sure enough, McCain, who is being advised by Karl Rove, is taking the same cynical and deceptive approach to the environment that Rove had Bush take: promise them anything. Today's Wall Street Journal took the bait.
After spending several weeks staking out positions on taxes, Iraq and judges designed to appeal to conservatives, John McCain is shifting his attention to independents and Democrats, with proposals on climate change.

The Republican presidential candidate also is using his stance on energy and the environment to draw distinctions between himself and President Bush, whose popularity is at a near-record low.

Sen. McCain's support of regulating global-warming gases like carbon dioxide-- the biggest environmental issue before Congress-- more closely resembles the stance of his Democratic rivals, Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, though he disagrees with them on how such regulations should be structured.

Can be fooled again? Vote McCain. Fortunately, voters seem smarter than that and 7 years of Bush and all that Rove spin has wised up a lot of us. A new Gallup poll shows clearly that McCain's relationship with Bush and with all that Bush stands for and all that he has helped Bush "accomplish," will keep him out of the White House.


Obama found it hard to believe that McCain could be so cynical. "It is truly breathtaking for John McCain to talk about combating climate change while voting against virtually every recent effort to actually invest in clean energy. You don't have to look further than the wind turbine plant where Senator McCain is speaking today to assess his commitment to this cause. While Senator McCain talks about the need to invest in alternative energy, he rejected the single biggest investment in renewable energy in history, including incentives that contributed to a nearly 50% increase in wind power generation last year, and he has repeatedly opposed renewable fuel mandates and higher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.
"In stark contrast, I've called for a national standard to ensure that we're using more renewable energy, an expansion of our green energy sector that would create millions of green jobs, and a bipartisan plan to double our fuel efficiency standards. That is why the American people will have a clear choice in November when I am the nominee – between a candidate who opposes real solutions to our energy crisis, and leadership that will solve it once and for all."

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At 1:16 PM, Blogger 1ControlledChaos said...

You know, I agree that McCain doesn't have the best record with the environmental issues. Don't you think those "non-votes" were not given for a reason? We may not understand it now, but a lot of it is political. But let's look at it this way - He's a politician. Obama's a politician. Clinton's a politician. They're ALL politicians.

With a non-efficient two-party system we have, it's hard not to try this balancing act of support the Dems, support the Republicans...You can never "win" if you're independent - instead you have to be in one category or another. That's a crock.

Give the guy a break. And find something new to write about - I keep hearing the same ol' story (even wrote a short blog about McCain's environmental stance too). I really don't think he's as "Bush" as everyone is trying to make him out to be - is it far to compare him and speculate? I don't see the media doing that to the Democratic nominees.


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