The Gore-publicans

During recent primary campaigning, John McCain came out of the global warming closet, so to speak, into which it seemed he had gone to hide his passion for the Left’s new signature issue. Alert voters must have been wondering, where’s the John McCain who promised to ride this issue to further “maverick” glory, the man who not so long ago whispered in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s ear “Campaign finance reform took us seven years. This may take longer, but we’ll stay at it”?

First we restrict speech, then we ration energy. It just makes sense.

Whatever the reason for this silence on “the greatest threat facing mankind”, we now know that the new, emboldened John McCain is back to bang the alarmist drum, if relatively slowly. Smelling victory in New Hampshire, he finally let cross his lips that “we have to address the issue of greenhouse gas emissions.” His colleagues politely let that one go. Which is what Republican candidates generally do, being genetically fearful it seems of the enviro-sobriety whose name shall not be spoken.

After all, who could withstand the ostracism that comes with acknowledging that the atmosphere hasn’t warmed in a decade, that last December was the coldest month — and 2007 the coldest year — this century, with 2008 slated to be the fourth straight year of (very slight) global cooling? Wouldn’t that be impolite, what with GE, BP, and a bunch of other Enron successors lobbying hard for this agenda, so they can cash in on the subsidy-and-mandate goodies at your expense?

Indeed, outside of two aberrant comments from former Sen. Fred Thompson it looked as if only alarmism were permissible. Following his “hands down” performance at the Iowa debate an apparently outraged Hawkeye asked the Tennessee Gentleman what he would do to solve “the global warming crisis” (Iowans know an excuse for more ethanol subsidies when they see one, even a very bad excuse like global warming).

Thompson replied that the first thing he’d do is find out if it was as the man described. Emboldened by this sanity, someone later asked “I, and I think a lot of other people, are waiting for someone who has the spine to stand up to Al Gore and the environmental left on global warming, and so that is that a stand as our President, are you going to do anything about it? Are you going to be that guy?”

We know who isn’t going to be that guy. At his New Hampshire victory celebration McCain grasped a supporter’s “Stop Global Warming” placard — someone tell this kid the fight was won in 1998, when warming peaked — which the Senator waved about until his judgment recovered.

Two days later, McCain revealed in the South Carolina debate how he plans to reconcile his heartfelt ardor with his instincts to clam up about this moonbattery, by volunteering the limp-wristed “Climate change, in my view, is probably real”. Well, yeah, it probably is, given that the one constant with climate is constant change — the one undeniable thing in this debate, that gets you labeled as a “denier” if you speak it.

That’s quite a walk back, Senator, from sign-waving alarmism and the bizarre insistence in that “Schoolmarm” debate that Man controls the weather. In the cross-talk that followed Thompson’s refusal to play the show-of-hands game, McCain admonished another candidate for daring to suggest that Man is merely contributing to warming: “More than contributing, my friend”. Although it might not be real. Gotcha.

McCain is not alone in his pursuit of the alarmist agenda. Another candidate has decided that the way to handle the issue is to follow safely in the senator’s wake. Mike Huckabee also now supports Kyoto-style energy rationing. He was against it before he was for it, however, correctly noting not too long ago that it sounds “a bit like buying indulgences from the ancient church”. In the same interview Huckabee announced he opposes an alternative, the carbon tax, because it “sounds too much like a tax.” Gotta get up pretty early to slip one by ol’ Huck.

Unfortunately, the Congressional Budget Office says the same thing about McHuckabee cap-and-trade rationing; in fact, it’s several times more expensive than a simple energy tax due to its inefficiencies, while also being less transparent. Distilled, the scheme he embraces is worse for you, better for him. Can’t say you weren’t warned about those boys from Hope, Arkansas.

So, that lonely questioner from Iowa continues to await an answer, who is going to be that guy who will note, for example, how no one disputes that the dangerous, feckless gesture of McHuckabee rationing would have zero detectable impact on climate but, as the biggest outsourcing program in history, would greatly assist our economic competitors?

Who will be the candidate to note that such schemes are intrinsically a promise to go the distance, all the way and soon to the demanded 80% reduction of CO2 emissions in order to possibly impact climate — you know it as deindustrialization? Or, if that’s not really the objective of this exercise, to simply admit instead that this is all mere pandering?

Now seems a good time to find out which it is, before we commit ourselves to too many expensive gestures in the name of avoiding potentially uncomfortable discussion.