With record-high gas prices a hot issue for a lot of Americans, the demand for political action has been high during the 2008 presidential election cycle.
On April 15, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) proposed a federal gas tax holiday from Memorial Day through Labor Day to give consumers some relief from high gas prices. He encouraged Congress to suspend the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax and 24.4-cent diesel tax for the summer driving season.
But that’s a bad idea, according to Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, who talked with “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough on MSNBC April 21 about the presidential candidates and their proposed environmental policies. She was skeptical of McCain’s credentials on “green issues” because of his gas tax holiday proposal.
“Well, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have put forth some pretty ambitious plans for reducing greenhouse gases, and John McCain also acknowledges global warming, which is actually progress on the Republican side of the agenda,” Clift said.
“But, John McCain just a week ago introduced his energy plan where he called for a holiday from the federal gas tax during the peak driving season from May to September. It’s not going to happen because members of Congress are not that willing to abandon any environmental consciousness.”
Clift no doubt linked “environmental consciousness” to higher gas prices, not lower, as lower prices could encourage consumption and burning of fuel.
Global warming alarmists believe regulating gasoline consumption is an integral part of advancing their cause. The Web site for Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” claimed: “Since every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, every increase in fuel efficiency makes a difference!”
McCain’s rhetoric has been very accommodating to global warming alarmists – more so than any of his colleagues on the right side of the aisle in the Senate. McCain told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on the April 16 “Hardball” he would do more than the current president, George W. Bush, on the climate change issue.
“What's an area of disagreement?” McCain said, when asked to compare himself to Bush. “Climate change. Climate change. I believe that climate change is real. I think we have to act.”
But Clift maintained any “green” “credibility” McCain gained by pandering to the alarmists’ environmental movement was lost for wanting to lower gas taxes temporarily.
“[I] think, you know, Sen. McCain really did undermine his credibility as a green candidate by proposing that we lift the gas tax and, you know, politicians are never going to do it, but actually the environmentalists would like the gas tax raised,” Clift said.
Clift also said she favored the heavy-handed regulatory proposals from the Democratic candidates.
“[I] think the differences between the two parties are going to be the traditional differences – with the Republicans wanting, you know, voluntary steps, not willing to use government enforcement mechanisms and the Democrats, you know, wanting to use government to – as a method of enforcement.”