Just in case you thought conservatives might be warming up to climate action and clean energy with the impending nomination of John McCain as the GOP a standardbearer, uber-conservative columnist Bob Novak explains otherwise in a column titled, “How Not to Run for Vice President.”
As a non-conservative, I know I can’t do justice to Novak’s “logic” by summarizing it, and I suspect many readers would think I was taking his argument out of context, since it seems so … well … judge for yourself. I’ll just reprint most of it in total:
Minnesota’s Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, carefully prepared his plan for controlling greenhouse gas emissions to present it at the annual winter meeting of governors in Washington. That effort coincided with Pawlenty’s fast-rising prospects to become Sen. John McCain’s choice for vice president. But behind closed doors, governors from energy-producing states complained so vigorously that Pawlenty’s proposal was buried.
Pawlenty’s position as chairman of the National Governors Association may prove to be his undoing. While party insiders sing his praises as ideal to be McCain’s running mate, leading conservative Republican governors have been less than pleased with him. Pawlenty has collaborated with the association’s Democratic vice chairman, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, on a fat economic stimulus package as well as the energy proposal.
Hours after Pawlenty’s energy plan was derailed, McCain himself was privately urged by GOP governors not to appear to be anti-coal or anti-oil. The upshot of a busy Saturday at the J.W. Marriott Hotel downtown was that Pawlenty came across as somebody considerably different from what McCain needs to calm conservatives. He left the nation’s capital as a less attractive vice presidential possibility than he was when he arrived.
And they say progressives have litmus tests!! Apparently if you support strong government policies to save the next 50 generations from a ruined climate, that’s a non-starter. No doubt that’s why McCain continues to soft-pedal his climate rhetoric, repeatedly (and absurdly) claiming a cap-and-trade system is not a “mandate” — a word as verboten for conservatives as “evolution.” To the rest of the world, Pawlenty is a rock-solid conservative in a key swing state:
Pawlenty, 47, has long been talked about as a good fit for the 71-year-old McCain. He is the most conservative Minnesota governor since Theodore “Tightwad Ted” Christianson in the 1920s. Elected to two terms (albeit narrowly) in a slightly blue state, Pawlenty is seen by supporters as a plus for McCain in the Democratic Upper Midwest if added to the ticket.
He gets high grades from conservative fanciers of Republican horse flesh, such as Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman and Pawlenty’s fellow Minnesotan, Vin Weber. Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist approves of Pawlenty’s record, save for one hike in cigarette taxes.
But he has committed two apparently unpardonable conservative sins — he believes humans are changing the climate, and he won’t shill for coal and oil interests: