Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cap-and-Trade “Minimizing”

Yesterday I wrote that the McCain campaign is distancing itself and moving away from cap-and-trade. This is clear from the fact that the senator’s recent speeches do not mention cap-and-trade, and that the 15-page policy pamphlet issued by the campaign also makes no mention of cap-and-trade.

After several responses to my piece shot thru the blogosphere yesterday, Jill Hazelbaker, McCain’s communications director, issued a statement saying that any notion that the senator is abandoning or minimizing his support for cap-and-trade is “totally false.”

Well, as far as abandoning, that’s not what I said. I wrote that a McCain presidency might resurrect cap-and-trade, although it will be a much different format. But the key point is that several campaign advisors told me that the issue now is jobs and the economy, and of course $4 gas at the pump and $140 oil in the world market. Since cap-and-trade would not only establish the biggest government regulatory plan in history, and also would substantially raise gas and other fuel prices, the idea is a loser right now as every opinion-poll survey clearly shows.

Hence, the senator is being smart to move away from cap-and-trade and instead support drill, drill, drill for more energy supplies to reduce gas prices, as well as tax-cut plans to spur economic growth and jobs.

Mr. McCain is also correct to link drill, drill, drill with new energy-related job creation. In my formulation of this, nuclear power and clean coal are part of drill, drill, drill, as are natural gas and even alternative fuels. Last night former-Sen. Phil Gramm, who is ostensibly McCain’s most senior economic advisor, said as much on our program.

So while Ms. Hazelbaker may say that minimizing cap-and-trade support is totally false, she is engaging in a certain degree of cognitive dissonance on this subject. And let me note that the intent of my piece yesterday was to praise Mr. McCain on this topic, not to bury him.