09/16/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

McCain Lied or Was Confused: You Make the Call

John McCain spent part of this last Friday at the Aspen Institute speaking about energy issues, including a meeting with T. Boone Pickens. From an interview there

McCAIN: I have a long record of that support of alternate energy..... I've always been for all of those and I have not missed any crucial vote. But my citizens in Arizona know that when I'm running for the President of the United States I have to be out campaigning.

John McCain has missed vote, after vote, after vote in the US Senate.

John McCain has been Absent WithOut Leave (AWOL) for critical vote after critical vote on energy issues.

A Note On John's Voting Record

As reported at Think Progress, John McCain has been the Senator with the worst attendance record in the 110th Congress. As of last month, he had missed over 60 percent of votes. That is a worse attendance record than Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) who had a minor little issue: a brain hemorrhage. Now, to put things into perspective for those who might excuse his failure to do the work for which the American taxpayer pays him and (some of) the citizens of Arizona elected him as he strives for free housing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (as if Cindy doesn't already give him enough cribs to hang out at), throughout his campaigning, he has regularly spent weekends with family or otherwise on break from the campaign trail. (Politico: John McCain doesn't work weekends)

So, John is regularly AWOL, so what?

So what about energy?

Let us return to McCain's words for a moment.

I have a long record of that support of alternate energy. ... I've always been for all of those and I have not missed any crucial vote.

The audacity of these claims, the utter disdain for truth and accuracy, is simply astounding.

Let us just take a moment to consider two votes relevant to "alternate energy," from December 2007 and February 2008. Were these "crucial votes"?

On 13 December 2007, the Senate voted on a measure to provide $13 billion for renewable power over the coming five years. And, that bill had provisions to pay for this: recouping unjustified tax subsidies to the big five oil companies. The vote for cloture (to allow a simple majority vote on the measure) required 60 votes and failed with a vote of 59 for, 40 against, and 1 Senator absent. What is that "1″? John McCain, who couldn't be bothered to show up to vote on a measure critical for setting a path forward for "alternate energy". A crucial vote?

In early February, the Senate version of the Stimulus package had provisions for roughly $5 billion in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green jobs. That $5.7 billion package included:

  • 1-year extension of the Production Tax Credit-$3 billion
  • Solar, fuel cell, and micro turbine investment credits-$130 million
  • Clean Renewable Energy Bonds-$400 million
  • High-efficiency appliance credits-$323 million
  • Energy efficiency credits for new homes-$61 million
  • Energy efficiency credits for home retrofits-$1.5 billion
  • Energy efficiency credits for commercial buildings-$153 million

When the vote for cloture came up on the Stimulus Package including this funding for green technologies: 59-40-1. Do I need to tell you who was the one Senator Missing in Action and Absent WithOut Leave?

Thus, two times in a two month period, John McCain had a chance to be the deciding vote in favor of renewable energy and the planet was left wanting, with John McCain missing in action. Sadly, these aren't the only cases of an AWOL McCain when important issues were brought to the floor for a vote. While the absences aren't only related to energy, for production tax credits (PTCs) for renewable energy, McCain is batting 1.000. As per Thomas Friedman,

John McCain has a perfect record on this renewable energy legislation. He has missed all eight votes over the last year -- which effectively counts as a no vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn't leave his office to vote.

When it comes to energy, to "alternate energy," the production tax credit is crucial. The votes to extend it were crucial to literally billions of dollars of renewable energy projects. And, the continued uncertainty over whether there will be a PTC in coming years (come 1 January 2009) is causing tremendous disruption in wind, solar, and other US renewable energy projects.

McCAIN: I have a long record of that support of alternate energy. ... I've always been for all of those and I have not missed any crucial vote.

"Not missed any crucial vote."

You make the call. Lie or simply confusion about his own record? Either one isn't exactly a great refection on McCAIN.

McCain's Green Straight Talk Express: Sound, Not Substance

For good reason, many find John McCain's "Straight Talk Express" when it comes to Global Warming rather refreshing, considering that he comes from the Party of Denial and Delay. Yet, sadly, that "Straight Talk" has not been translated to straight action.

And, the Straight Talk Express on Global Warming might be soothingly deceptive, but as per the issue of "green technologies," it doesn't stand up to serious scrutiny.

And, the question before us: will the traditional media give it serious scrutiny or continue to greenwash McCain?

NOTE: Major hat tip to Think Progress.