Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) unveiled the marketing slogan for his incoherent energy policy — the “Lexington Project.” Seven months ago, he promised he would unveil an energy strategy that “won’t be another grab bag of handouts to this or that industry and a full employment act for lobbyists.” With a campaign run by lobbyists, McCain now has broken that promise.
On November 5, 2007, on the campaign trail in Iowa before the presidential primaries, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) had to come up with an explanation to justify his vigorous opposition to federal subsidies for corn ethanol. He presented himself as ideologically opposed to government spending, saying that he was “proud of the conservative tradition that the government can sometimes best serve the interests of the American people by knowing when to stay out of their way.”
Praising himself for “straight talk” and “being honest,” McCain said he would eventually unveil an “energy strategy” that would break “our reliance on petro-dictators”:
— “I oppose subsidies.”
— “That strategy won’t be another grab bag of handouts to this or that industry and a full employment act for lobbyists.”
— “But it also means no rifle-shot tax breaks for big oil.”
— “It means no line items for hydrogen, no mandates for other renewable fuels, and no big-government debacles like the Dakotas Synfuels plant.”
— “I know that you have heard before that subsidies to oil will be eliminated, only to experience another disappointment.”
Seven months later, the Republican nomination sewn up, McCain has maintained his uncompromising opposition to corn ethanol — but nothing else. In the past few weeks, McCain has unveiled proposals that belie his “straight talk” about energy subsidies, mandates, big-government debacles, tax breaks, and industry handouts.
McCain’s energy plan now calls for a complex array of federal subsidies for nuclear power, coal, offshore oil drilling, low-emission vehicles, wind, hydro and solar power — a sorry parody of progressive policies. The plan calls for government-subsidized experimental coal plants, fuel mandates, and special tax breaks. The plan calls for massive new federal spending initiatives and new commissions to allocate emissions permits worth billions of dollars. In short, it’s exactly the kind of plan he told the voters of Ames, Iowa he would never, ever propose — and exactly the kind of plan he has no record of ever having worked to craft in his twenty-six years in Congress.