Take No Prisoners

McCain’s environmentalism is inspiring, but is it believable?

The politically disgruntled and critical are often criticized as being negative and cynical, so for this week, I’ve decided to take a (semi)-positive look at the presidential election cycle – in particular, a glance at McCain’s environmentalism, however sporadically it may manifest itself. A true testament to the failed policies of past conservatives like Bush Sr. and Jr. is the sudden concern of Sen. John McCain on global climate change. In case you have not heard, McCain has for some time marketed himself as an environmental protector and an advocate for reducing carbon emissions in the United States.

It’s a great day in the United States when we’ve become liberal enough that a candidate from our conservative wing concerns himself with environmentalism, rather than the tired debate against environmentalists. Sure, I’ve got my problems with McCain – anyone who says he’ll stay in a war for the next two centuries has a few screws that need tightening – but it is inspiring to liberals to hear a conservative candidate for the presidency pledge to protect the environment, perhaps as much so as it is to have the first legitimate minority candidate nominated to represent the Democrats.

The Conservative Response

That being said, conservatives don’t seem to feel the same way. The purveyor of Republican propaganda, Rush Limbaugh, has gone on frequent tirades about the insanity of environmentalism. Conservative talk-show hosts have described climate change as a hoax and environmentalism as a mental disorder. Even the liberals are critical of his statements. After all, it’s hard to believe a candidate speaking in favor of environmentalism when that same candidate has a terrible 24 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters. Which brings me to my next point…

The Problem: Politics or Conviction?

Unfortunately, as inspiring as it may be, it’s pure politics. Let’s keep in mind what McCain is trying to do here: be elected President. We should take his promises to protect the environment with a grain of salt. As George W. Bush focused on education, and southern Democrats are pro-life and vote to protect the Second Amendment, politicians have begun to realize they must attach themselves to at least one of the other side’s issues to be elected. How else would a candidate dupe the moderate Democrats into voting for a Republican this time around?

So, ye of the moderately liberal leaning, keep this in mind when you cast your ballots in November. Sure, McCain may institute his cap-and-trade policy to reduce carbon emissions, but when it really comes down to it, with whom will he side? If you want a history lesson, look at McCain in the mid-90s, when he sided with conservatives in undercutting the Environmental Protection Agency. If our next President is the esteemed Arizona Senator, don’t be surprised when he sides with big business over the Sierra Club.