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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bad Political Advice

Some guy I've never heard of, who for some reason writes for US News and World Report, has some unusually asinine suggestions for John McCain to "turn the issues of energy and the environment to his advantage in his race against Barack Obama." Let's take a look. (These are his words)
  1. Stop talking about global warming.
  2. Ban the color green
  3. Propose drilling in ANWR while standing in ANWR
  4. Accuse Obama of wanting to launch a pre-emptive war on the American economy
  5. Stop blaming Big Oil
  6. Go with a populist "cost of living" argument
  7. Advocate a cheap Manhattan Project
He fleshes them out a bit, by I'm not going to waste precious pixels here with nonsense. Several were too stupid to pass up, however.

For suggestion 3, "Propose drilling in ANWR while standing in ANWR," this Einstein says "And McCain could set the stage, as someone recently suggested, by visiting ANWR with Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin. Recall Ike's 1952 campaign pledge: 'I will go to Korea.' McCain could say, 'I will go to ANWR.'" Brilliant! Stand in a gorgeous national wildlife reserve and say "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down these trees!" Why in the world would McCain want that backdrop for a pandering flip-flop?

As for number 6, "Go with a populist "cost of living" argument," I really have to quote the whole thing for you to get a sense of the sheer stupidity.
"You can't expect McCain to abandon his plan to cap U.S. carbon emissions. But since his plan and Obama's similar approach would both raise energy prices for consumers, McCain could explicitly call for rebating money from the auctioning of carbon allowances—we are talking trillions of dollars over the coming decades—back to consumers in the form of lower taxes. It's a populist move that he could contrast with the Democratic plan to have the government keep that money and spend it on various "green" programs."
Except, not. It's true that prices would rise under both cap-and-trade proposals, but McCain doesn't auction the vast majority of his permits while Obama auctions 100% of his. Which is more; 100% or much much less than 100%? According to a the CBO, it would require merely 14% of auction revenue to compensate low-income Americans. Furthermore, Obama already proposes this. That's how McCain can win? Steal Obama's ideas and accuse him of trying to torpedo the economy? I think I know why I've never heard of this guy before...

Finally, number 7, "Advocate a cheap Manhattan Project." Again, we have comedy gold.
"Obama wants to spend something like $200 billion over 10 years on various energy schemes like a government-sponsored venture capital fund to invest in clean energy. A more modest approach comes from the group Set America Free. It wants American taxpayers to spend $12 billion over the next four years"
Incidently, the Iraq war now costs $12 billion per month. Is Mr. Pethokoukis familiar with the Manhattan project? It's very value as a metaphor is as project for which cost is not an issue, when whatever-it-takes is what it gets. I'd further submit that what this country needs is an actual Manhattan project for energy, you know, like Obama proposes and McCain has no policy on. And nothing says "Republican" these days like "Let's half ass this one."

So there you have it. The way to "turn the issues of energy and the environment to his advantage" is for McCain to botch a photo-op, copy Obama's ideas, and half-ass it.

My advice would be to propose a serious energy policy that would actually deal with our energy problems. But hey, nobody pays me to write about politics.