No Country for Old Mavericks

The last couple weeks have seen copious coverage of John McCain's inconsistency on energy policy. These discrepancies have been noted with some curiousity, but with a series of ads on energy security, McCain is clearly attempting to assume the energy security mantle in this campaign, and perhaps it is worth taking greater notice of them. After all, climate change is his signature "maverick" issue - the main issue that he claims not to follow President Bush on.

The problem is that his biggest maverick endorsers - those that he can use to paint himself as bipartisan (or as putting "Country First," his new slogan) - don't really agree with him on his maverick issue. Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the most progressive executives in the country on energy issues and a McCain endorser, criticized McCain's offshore drilling plan as "blowing smoke." From the Los Angeles Times:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a veiled swipe at Republican presidential hopeful John McCain on Thursday when he said at a climate conference here that anyone suggesting offshore oil drilling could bring down gas prices was "blowing smoke."

The remark was also a dig at his host, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who riled environmentalists, tourism promoters and the state's political leaders on both sides of the aisle last week when he voiced support for McCain's proposal to lift bans on exploring for oil off the coasts of California, Florida and the Eastern Seaboard.

From his podium at the conference, Schwarzenegger said, "Politicians have been throwing around all kinds of ideas in response to the skyrocketing energy prices, from the rethinking of nuclear power to pushing biofuels and more renewables and ending the ban on offshore drilling," Schwarzenegger said. "But anyone who tells you this would bring down gas prices any time soon is blowing smoke."

Another issue McCain faces is that Joe Lieberman, sponsor of the leading climate change legislation in the Senate this year, supports McCain, but John McCain's climate change goals are far more modest than Lieberman's legislation. In fact, McCain skipped the Senate vote on the issue, and indicated that he did not support the legislation.

So, if McCain is a maverick on energy, why don't his two signature maverick endorsers - both leaders on his signature maverick issue - agree with him on fundamental aspects of that very issue?