Politicians need a host of skills, but there was one that the old John McCain was proud not to possess: the ability to talk out of both sides of his mouth.Oops! That statement from McCain's straight-talking days contradicts what Representatives McCotter (R-MI), Walberg (R-MI), Hoekstra (R-MI), etc., have been saying.
On Tuesday, while perched on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, McCain proved that he's mastered that trick.
"It is time for America to get serious about energy independence, and that means we need to start drilling offshore at advanced oil rigs like this,'' McCain said, from the giant, 10,000-barrel-per-day structure owned by Chevron and Exxon Mobil. Barack Obama has said that offshore drilling "won't solve our problem. . . . He's wrong, and the American people know it," McCain said.
Unfortunately, although many Americans believe that offshore drilling will provide real relief from high energy prices, it's the new McCain who's wrong. Before he switched positions, McCain opposed lifting the ban on offshore drilling and had this to say: "Those resources, which would take years to develop, would only postpone or temporarily relieve our dependency on fossil fuels." That's still true.
So how green is McCain? Not very according to the Concord Monitor who judged his Senate career.
Last year McCain received a zero rating from the League of Conservation Voters - an organization whose members aren't given to chaining themselves to trees. His lifetime score from the group is just 24 percent. That's less than one-third the ratings given to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.Big oil is spending more than $2 million dollars a day to influence public policy and opinion - including $12.2 million dollars spent in the past six months by Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions for Winning the Future “Drill Here, Drill Now” campaign - and McCain received nearly $1 million dollars since he announced his support for offshore drilling. It appears McCain had an incentive that helped him change his mind. It's amazing what one million dollars can buy.
Earlier this summer, McCain backed a gas tax holiday. That's another bad idea. It would have helped to keep demand high and deprived the nation of money needed to repair collapsing roads and bridges. He has opposed moves to eliminate subsidies for oil companies and, until recently, opposed tax incentives to stimulate production of alternative energy sources.
In an issue that will hit home hard in New Hampshire this winter, McCain has also opposed additional funding for the national low-income fuel assistance program because he didn't like how its cost would be borne. Now, however, he says he will support "whatever is necessary to help people meet literally incredible challenges this winter." But what about next year?