Should he run, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential platform will likely be one built largely on flip flops. As so aptly illustrated by his whiplash-inducing flip on Libya, the motivating principle behind Gingrich’s positions seems to be whether or not President Obama supports them.
Last night at a Republican fundraiser in New Hampshire, Gingrich put this principle into action. After Gingrich offered that real estate mogul Donald Trump’s birther conspiracy theory presents a “fair question,” reporters pivoted to ask “if climate change is a problem government should address” — a problem President Obama just slammed Republicans in Congress for denying exists. Gingrich said evidence for climate change is “not nearly complete” and that he viewed a cap-and-trade program as a “massively expensive” plan based on “a theory”:
“I think we honestly don’t know,” he said. “I think the evidence is not nearly as complete as the computerized models, and I think that the understanding of climatology is a lot more incomplete than the global warming advocates would have you believe.”
Gingrich said he could see taking “prudent” and cost-effective steps to address climate change but would not support any form of a cap-and-trade program.
“I would not adopt massively expensive plans over a theory,” he said.
In detailing Gingrich’s full record of change on climate change, the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson pointed out that Gingrich actually called for a cap-and-trade system with tax incentives for clean energy in 2007, seeing “mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system” as a program “I would strongly support.” In a debate with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) that same year, Gingrich said “the evidence is sufficient” for Congress to act on climate change.
He even joined fellow former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — who he now views as “despicable,” “dishonest,” “vicious,” and “trivial” — in a commercial for former Vice President Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection to say “we do agree our country must take action to address climate change.” Watch it:
Just last year, Gingrich told Human Events that he would do this commercial again given the chance. “I’d do a commercial with Al Gore,” he said. As made clear by his record on climate change, it seems Gingrich will flip-flop on any of his former stances to fit the current political climate — including his belief that “you can’t flip-flop and be Commander-In-Chief.“