McCain to Skip Climate Vote

In the Washington Post, Julia Eilperin today covered John McCain's announcement that he will miss next week's key vote on Lieberman-Warner climate change legislation. This is the same John McCain who has been giving speeches and running ads for the last month about climate change and has been attempting to draw distinctions between himself and President Bush on this issue (since he is out of other issues - from immigration to Iraq).

From "The Trail," check out John McCain's reasons for missing the next week's vote:

In a press conference late Wednesday afternoon, McCain said he did not support the bill sponsored by two of his closest allies, Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.) because it doesn't offer enough aid to the nuclear industry, and he would not come to the floor to vote on it.

"I have not been there for a number of votes. The same thing happened in the campaign of 2000," he said. "The people of Arizona understand I'm running for president."

Some problems with his reasons for opposing and failing to vote on the bill:

  1. The nuclear industry has received and continues to receive some of the most generous subsidies in the history of energy subsidies. Aside from that fact, additional legislation, similar in form to the energy bill passed last year, is a more than capable venue for further subsidizing nuclear energy. The point of this bill is to put a price on carbon emissions, which, by making fossil fuels relatively more expensive, would help nuclear. This objection to the legislation is manufactured and asinine.
  2. Lieberman and Warner are two of McCain's biggest supporters. Lieberman goes on the road with McCain quite a bit. Do they disagree on this vastly important issue that McCain has chosen to make a centerpiece of his campaign?
  3. McCain claims that the "people of Arizona understand" he is running for President. John McCain is running for President of the United States. His actions in the United States Senate, just over seven months before he would be President, should represent the best interests of every state, not just the 6 million people of Arizona. This attitude is un-Presidential, to say the least.

Time and time again, the wheels have fallen of the Straight Talk Express. This time, it is on the last issue McCain had to distinguish himself from an incredibly unpopular President. By failing to vote for this legislation, McCain should no longer have the latitude to claim confronting climate change as central piece of his platform, and the media's "maverick" tag for the Republican nominee should probably be put to rest.