Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Change of Fools

Dave Barry had a funny column yesterday on presidential candidates all being for "change." Of course, he left out that all of them (well almost all of them) are against one kind of change- Climate Change. By their nature as politicians (poll probing, wind sniffing seekers of the center), they are also against another kind of change- Radical Change. And Radical Change is probably the only way that governments are going to have an impact on Climate Change.

While I claim to be an unrepentant optimist, sometimes politicians give me a few twinges of pessimism. Unfortunately, the energy policies of these candidates (to the extent you can find any details in them) suggest pretty minor changes. A political paradox- they are for change, but don't want to change anything enough to actually address the change that they are against.

If you want to look for yourself:

Hillary Clinton "Powering America's Future" (ambitious targets, not much on what she'd do in short term)
Barack Obama "Energy and Environment" (best of the bunch in terms of detail, but his actual record of involvment in these issues seems sparse)
John McCain "Stewards of Our Nation's Rich Natural Heritage" (straight talk? how about generic talk?)
Mike Huckabee "Energy Independence" (no mention of the environment in this one)
Mitt Romney "Ending Energy Dependence" (Ditto, this is version flipflop.14)

Compare these with the suggestions of IPCC or, if you are of a more conservative persuasion, The Economist's report. Perhaps the candidates should say "I am against climate change because I want your vote, but am unwilling to do much about it if elected." Oh wait, that would apply to most of the issues.

Huckabee and Romney would get points for integrity, in terms of saying the issue isn't climate change, but energy independence (a reasonable position, if more complicated than their websites would suggest). But their programs fall short on specifics for how they would accomplish this.

To paraphrase Aretha: "Change change change... change of fools." Anyone hear fiddles?


Lee Devlin said...

Great post, Paul.

I think that Mitt Romney would lose some points for his position on Cape Wind. It's one thing to talk about an "Energy Revolution initiative on par with the Apollo program," but his previous decision of opposing Cape Wind in light of popular support speaks much louder than his over-the-top campaign rhetoric on energy.

Bopreneur said...

Well, as of today (2/8), my failure to include Mitt's position on climate change looks prescient! My guess is that until Republican Convention is done, John McCain will hew to a pretty conservative tone on this issue, and basically concede it to the Democrats. Too bad. It would be a chance to "change" the perception of the Republican party from one of protecting "Business as Usual" to one of supporting the engine of innovation and assuming global leadership. We will see.