The National Review online’s Larry Kudlow reports on the basis of “deep background” from a “senior McCain advisor” that “Mac’s Off Cap-and-Trade.” The Atlantic.com says “McCain Sticks By Cap-N-Trade.” You be the judge. Kudlow:
After writing favorably about Sen. McCain’s recent economics speeches, where he clearly shifted toward the supply-side both on tax cuts and producing more energy, I went back last evening and carefully read his 15-page policy pamphlet called “Jobs for America.” Here’s what I found: There is no mention of cap-and-trade. None. Nada. There is a section about “Cheap, Clean, Secure Energy for America: The Lexington Project.” But that talks about expanded domestic production of oil and gas, as well as the need for more nuclear power and coal along with alternative sources. Then it has the $300 million battery and flex-fuel cars. But nope, no cap-and-trade.
So I picked up the phone and dialed a senior McCain official to make sure these old eyes hadn’t missed it. Sure enough, on deep background, this senior McCain advisor told me I was correct: no cap-and-trade. In other words, this central-planning, regulatory, tax-and-spend disaster, which did not appear in Mac’s two recent speeches, has been eradicated entirely — even from the detailed policy document that hardly anybody will ever read.
So then I asked this senior official if the campaign has taken cap-and-trade out behind the barn and shot it dead once and for all — buried it in history’s dustbin of bad ideas. The answer came back that they are interested in jobs right now — jobs for new energy production and jobs from lower taxes. At that point I became satisfied. Even though a McCain presidency might resurrect cap-and-trade, it will be a much different format. More important, the campaign is cognizant of the conservative rebellion against it.
That’s enough for me.
Now it’s true that McCain has waffled on mandatory caps (see “McCain opposes ‘mandatory’ carbon limits” and “McCain’s Double-Talk Express on Global Warming“). But I’m guessing this guy talked to one of the economic advisers who hates cap-n-trade as much as Kudlow and/or Kudlow was engaged in some wishful hearing. Marc Ambinder:
Jill Hazelbaker, McCain’s communications director, calls the notion that McCain is abandoning or minimizing his support for cap-n-trade “totally false.”
I think I can reconcile the two views: McCain’s talking about jobs this week, not cap-n-trade. When he talks about energy — as he did two weeks ago, he talks about cap-n-trade. Kudlow considers cap-n-trade to be a critical (and negative) part of McCain’s economic policy; McCain considers it part of his energy policy; in campaigns, these type of issues tend to sort themselves into silos, reasonably, and so it ought not surprise anyone that McCain’s focus on jobs and taxes doesn’t tilt too far into energy policy precincts.
Actually, I think McCain has three policy silos, not two: economy/jobs, energy, and environment. His climate concerns, including cap-n-trade are clearly separate from his energy policy — otherwise how could he possibly support offshore drilling?