If you think Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is a straight-talking courageous politician on the issue of global warming, watch this jaw-dropping clip from last night’s Republican presidential debate:
The transcript is online, so we can go through McCain’s entire Orwellian answer to moderator Tim Russert [Note: This was following a question to Giuliani about the global warming threat to Florida and his opposition to mandatory caps, which I'll briefly discuss at the end.]. Russert said, correctly:
Senator McCain, you are in favor of mandatory caps.
And, as you’ve seen, McCain immediately answers –
No, I’m in favor of cap-and-trade. And Joe Lieberman and I, one of my favorite Democrats and I, have proposed that — and we did the same thing with acid rain.
And all we are saying is, “Look, if you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, you earn a credit. If somebody else is going to increase theirs, you can sell it to them.” And, meanwhile, we have a gradual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
As a great American once said — you cannot be serious! My jaw dropped (yes, I was watching, and yes, I’m a hardcore political junkie). I know McCain was beaten up in Michigan by Romney for supporting CAFE standards to deal with global warming, and I know “mandates” are as popular with conservatives as taxes are, but this is Romney-esque doubletalk. Europe has a mandate. We dealt with acid rain with a mandate. And McCain’s own climate bill with Lieberman is a mandate.
A straight talker would not use those two wishy-washy “can’s.” Nothing mandatory or threatening to conservatives about “can.” What a wonderful world McCain is imagining: If “somebody else” increases their emissions — not you, of course, you’ll be the one reducing emissions cheaply and getting rich with all the credits — “you can sell it to them.” Well, that is double double-talk.
First, a straight talker would note that the person who increases their emissions must buy a credit (though obviously not necessarily from you). Second, a straight talker would not imply that the point of a cap-and-trade is to allow someone who decreases their emissions to sell credits to someone who increases them — the point is to set the cap well below current levels (as McCain’s own bill does) so that everyone decreases their emissions, but allowing those who can achieve very deep reductions cost-effectively to sell to those who can’t.
If John “Straight Talk” McCain can’t tell conservatives the truth about what this country will need to do to stop catastrophic global warming, who can? Buck up, John — A real man says “mandate.”
The rest of his answer is equally unsettling: