Today, the right wing — enthusiastically joined by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) — attacked Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for advocating in a January interview a cap and trade plan that would mandate new coal plants to be built with carbon capture technology. McCain said he wanted to control emissions, but insisted, “I’m not going to let our coal industry go bankrupt.” Palin said Obama has been “talking about bankrupting the coal industry,” and pledged, “John McCain and I, we will not let that happen to the coal industry.”
Now former governor Mitt Romney is using McCain’s attacks against Obama to attack McCain himself. On Glenn Beck’s radio show today, he denounced McCain’s cap and trade program, saying it would “kill jobs” in the U.S. and that he would “endeavor to convince” McCain to change his plans:
BECK: How would you address the cap and trade on the day when everyone’s paying attention to coal?
ROMNEY: Well as you know, there were a number of places in the primary campaign where I disagreed with John McCain, and his cap and trade proposal was one of them. … If you want to negotiate with someone and you feel it’s important to bring down global CO2 emissions then China has to be part of the picture. And if we go out there and put a burden on our own industry and they don’t put a burden on theirs, why you’ll just kill jobs here.
Both McCain and Obama support the development of carbon sequestration technologies; in fact, in the same interview conservatives are now hyperventilating over, Obama said, “This idea of no coal, I think, is an illusion.” What’s more, a green energy-based economy built through an aggressive cap-and-trade program would create millions of jobs and generate billions of dollars for investment into clean energy, as John McCain himself noted just six months ago:
As never before, the market would reward any person or company that seeks to invent, improve, or acquire alternatives to carbon-based energy. … A cap-and-trade policy will send a signal that will be heard and welcomed all across the American economy. Those who want clean coal technology, more wind and solar, nuclear power, biomass and bio-fuels will have their opportunity through a new market that rewards those and other innovations in clean energy.
It can’t be a good sign for McCain that one of his top surrogates has turned McCain’s own campaign lines back against him — on the day before the election, no less.