Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 29, 2008
By: dday

BOLD, PRINCIPLED LEADERSHIP... Ask John McCain the one issue where he would separate himself from the President and he almost always answers "climate change." Rhetorically speaking, he has staked out a position that global warming is real and man-made and America must lead to come up with a solution. Only when faced with the opportunity to kick off that process, he's taking a pass on the vote:

Despite stressing the issue on the stump, McCain says he won’t be in the Senate to vote on a landmark bill imposing mandatory greenhouse gases limits.

“I have not been there for a number of votes. The same thing happened in the campaign of 2000. The people of Arizona understand I’m running for president.”

Now, Halperin is wrong. The Lieberman-Warner bill is not a landmark, in that it gives away carbon credits to polluters. The far better bill in the Congress is Ed Markey's Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act, which sets up a 100% cap and trade auction and invests that revenue into clean energy sources, setting a target for an 85% reduction in emissions by 2050. That's a legitimate approach to the problem.

But consider McCain, wanting desperately to be seen as mavericky maverick, yet too constrained by the needs of his base to ever step out of line. His reason for skipping the vote is that the bill doesn't reward the nuclear power industry enough, which is right in line with Bush Republicans nationwide. In fact, as Bill Scher demonstrates, McCain has a completely incoherent environmental policy, highlighted by this complaint that there aren't enough subsidies for the nuclear industry when he claims to oppose all subsidies.

Maybe one of his 2,876 lobbyists working on the campaign has a particular interest in getting the nuclear industry their welfare bucks. Whatever the reason, taking a walk on the vote is certainly the boldest leadership I've ever seen.

dday 6:06 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (14)

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You might recall that the Maverick was one of three senators (including Teddy Kennedy who is very ill) to miss the vote of Webb/Hegal. Somehow he just couldn't bring himself to vote against like a good little administration rat. He decided to raise money instead.

When the going gets tough for John McCain, his first option is to get going right out of Washington.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 29, 2008 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe one of his 2, 876 lobbyists working on the campaign...

Make that 2, 873 lobbyists. One just resigned because of the conflict of interest, another because he got busted pimping his nephew at Port Authority -- and it turns out they had to reduce their total count by still another on account of one of them signed himself on a second time with an alias. (They didn't fire him, since greed & dishonesty are virtues among Republicans, but the campaign simply can't afford to be paying double-dippers at this time -- especially since the returns on that Bush-McCain fundraiser didn't pan out so great.)

Posted by: junebug on May 29, 2008 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

I've seen the criticism made that Obama tends to miss important votes. I don't have an opinion about this in relation to the Dem nominating process, but hopefully someone, somewhere, is keeping tabs on the number of important votes that McShame has missed in case this turns into an issue in the General election.

Posted by: thersites on May 29, 2008 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Missed votes will become an issue. Both sides have enough poop to throw that the world will turn brown for a while.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 29, 2008 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Slightly OT, but related to McCain's vaunted leadership cred. I have a Let's Stump McCain idea. Ask the guy what he means when he uses the word honor. Seriously. It clearly means something deeply personal to him. More important perhaps, he appears to fly off the handle when his (definition unknown) honor is questioned.

But, listening to him, I have the notion that McCain doesn't have the words to describe this important and freighted word, which he often uses in connection with war, and the war in Iraq specifically. He should define his terms so voters can decide if they like his idea of honor, or not.

Posted by: paxr55 on May 29, 2008 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

paxr55,
It's simple. "Honor" means no sex with interns.
Lobbyists? Well, that's okay, as long as they're female lobbyists. (Assuming we're talking about a male candidate, of course.)

Posted by: thersites on May 29, 2008 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

"he has staked out a position that global warming is real and man-made and America must lead to come up with a solution"

This in no way differs from Bush's position.

Buy hey, you just go ahead and be reality-based if it makes you feel better.

Posted by: a on May 29, 2008 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

I thought we dispensed with the idea that the legislature can really invest properly. Why is this blogger now claiming, after all the mis-appropriated money in the last 40 years, now saying that the federal legislature is capable of doing anything about global warming but make it worse?

This blogger simply does not understand government.

Posted by: Matt on May 29, 2008 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

This in no way differs from Bush's position.

Like taxes. Like Iraq. Like Iran. Like North Korea. Wait a minute. McCain out-neocons Bush on that one. So on the environment, McCain, like Bush, recognizes -- belatedly -- that global warming is caused by human activity. Like Bush, he can't be bothered to do a single god damn thing about it -- not even vote for the position he "supports."

Once more with feeling -- McCain in no way differs from Bush.

Posted by: junebug on May 29, 2008 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

dday:

McCain has a completely incoherent policy on everything! Rachel Maddow on Air America Radio played a number of clips from McCain speeches where he directly contradicts himself on Iraq, gun control, abortion, fair trade and a host of other issues.

Anyone who votes for this confused old fool is doing so only out of blind fealty to the GOP and not because they respect his "positions" on the issues - since he doesn't really have any....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 29, 2008 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Matt wrote: "Why is this blogger now claiming, after all the mis-appropriated money in the last 40 years, now saying that the federal legislature is capable of doing anything about global warming but make it worse?"

Perhaps because there are numerous examples of legislative actions on environmental problems by the US Congress over the last forty years that have been enormously successful.

Of course, since you "understand government", such actual facts are unimportant to you.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on May 30, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

According to The Washington Post, McCain says that even if he did show up for this vote, he would not support the Lieberman-Warner bill because "I've been disappointed so far that there has not been a robust and serious addressing of the issue of nuclear power."

In fact, the Lieberman-Warner bill provides more than a half a trillion dollars in taxpayer handouts to the nuclear industry.

If a half a trillion dollars is an insufficiently "robust" bailout for the failed nuclear power industry, then what would satisfy McCain and the nuclear industry lobbyists that he answers to?

McCain says: "You're never going to really significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions unless nuclear power is a major component of it. I know that's not a popular position."

That's not an "unpopular position". That's a lie.

Nuclear power is neither necessary nor particularly effective for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Every dollar spent on the nuclear industry is a dollar wasted, a dollar which would be far more effectively spent on efficiency improvements and accelerating the deployment of wind and solar electrical generating capacity.

In this, as in all other issues, McCain is nothing but a bought-and-paid-for tool of whatever lobbyists will write him the biggest check. There is no one in the US Congress with a more sickening record of blatant corruption than John McCain.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on May 30, 2008 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Excuse me for stating the obvious!!!!!

If CO2 is the problem then nuclear power IS the solution.

I am in favor of a tax on carbon/energy/gasoline because I think it is a great way to raise revenue which can be used to fund the government or cut other taxes.

However, if you want to reduce CO2 then building nuclear power plants is the best way to do it, period.

Posted by: neil wilson on May 30, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

neil wilson wrote: "If CO2 is the problem then nuclear power IS the solution ... if you want to reduce CO2 then building nuclear power plants is the best way to do it, period."

That is completely false. Nuclear power is neither effective nor necessary for reducing CO2 emissions from electricity generation.

The notion that nuclear power is "THE" solution to global warming is a deliberate lie concocted by nuclear lobbyists, and their bought-and-paid-for shills in government like Lieberman and McCain, in order to justify hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts to the failed nuclear industry.

Efficiency improvements and clean renewable electricity from wind and solar can effectively reduce CO2 emissions from electricity generation much faster (which is crucial) and at much lower cost than nuclear power, with none of the grave dangers or toxic pollution of nuclear power.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on May 30, 2008 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK
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