As he competes for the Republican nomination for president, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) will have to reconcile why he was for cap-and-trade before he was against it. On her radio show yesterday, host Laura Ingraham asked Pawlenty about this flip-flop, playing an ad Pawlenty made in 2008 supporting cap-and-trade legislation with then-Arizona governor Janet Napolitano. Pawlenty called his past belief in the science of climate change “stupid” and a “clunker,” and noted that he is not alone in flip-flopping on global warming among the 2012 GOP field:
PAWLENTY: Well, anybody who’s going to run for this office who’s been in an executive position, or may run, has got some clunkers in their record. Laura, mine I think are fewer and less severe than most. As to climate change, or more specifically cap-and-trade, I’ve just come out and admitted it — look, it was a mistake, it was stupid. […]
Everybody in the race, well at least the big names in the race, embraced climate change or cap-and-trade at one point or another. Every one of us.
Indeed, from Pawlenty to Mitt Romney to Newt Gingrich to Mike Huckabee to Mitch Danlies to Sarah Palin, many of the leading contenders for the 2012 presidential nomination have reversed themselves on climate change to pander to their hard-right base over the past few years.
Pawlenty seems to be candidly acknowledging the weakness of the entire GOP field, implying that they’re all lacking credibility but that he’s the least bad because his “clunkers” are “fewer and less severe” than those of the rest.