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Sierra Club
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet
RAW: Uncooked Truth, Beyond Belief

Issue #256
May 30, 2008
It’s About the Votes, McCain
Dave Willett

It's no secret that Senator McCain has been trying to separate himself from President Bush. And a few weeks ago, Senator McCain spent not one, not two, but three days speechifying about how global warming was a priority for him. It's certainly a story a lot of folks have fallen in love with -- that a major difference between President Bush and McCain is their stance on global warming.

Funny though, I wonder if McCain remembers that back in 2000 Candidate Bush pledged to regulate greenhouse gasses too.

While we can't know for sure whether he'd go back on his word as President, we can look at what he's up to right now as a Senator, because, you know, they still have a little bit of power left to try to do something about global warming (we forgive you if you're surprised, it's easy to forget that the Senator can actually do things if they set their mind to it).

So, let's see, big global warming votes coming up in the Senate next week. McCain says Global Warming is a priority for him. Surely he's going to be there, right?

Well, as you probably have heard by now. McCain has preemptively announced he is going to SKIP the whole thing. According to the Washington Post blog, McCain explained, "First of all, I have not been there for a number of votes. The same thing happened in the campaign of 2000. The people of Arizona understand I'm running for president of the United States. Second of all, as I have said, I'm very deeply committed to the nuclear component of any legislation that will have a significant effect on greenhouse gas emissions. And I've been disappointed so far that there has not been a robust and serious addressing of the issue of nuclear power...You're never going to really significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions unless nuclear power is a major component of it. I know that's not a popular position."

So, to recap. McCain says global warming is a priority, but when the one chance this year to debate the issue in the Senate comes up, he's going to pass, and even if he didn't, the bill doesn't have enough subsidies for nuclear power so he's just going to take his ball and go home.

To be fair, campaigning takes a lot of time, and neither Obama or Clinton has committed to being there for the first procedural vote Monday night, they may be there for amendment votes later in the week, unlike McCain. And both of them have said they are working on amendments to make the bill stronger -- and as a member of the relevant committee Clinton did so in earlier stages of the bill as well.

Last year McCain skipped the energy bill vote. Earlier this year he skipped the vote to give incentives to solar and wind power that would have created thousands of jobs. And now he's passing on global warming too. Senator McCain needs to start taking the votes that match the priorities he claims to have.

 
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