10/13/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The McCain Campaign's Dirty Record on Clean Energy

In part two of Sarah Palin's interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson, she gives lipstick-y lip service to the notion that human beings may, in fact, be contributing to climate change. What a difference a month (and a nomination) makes! 'Cause back in August, before John McCain singled Palin out as our nation's foremost expert on energy, Alaska's climate change denier-in-chief told that "I'm not one though who would attribute [global warming] to being man-made."

Hey, Sarah, great to see that you're not afraid to peel off the pumps and dip your toe into the reality-based community! If the reception seems a little chilly, well, chalk it up to your party's shrill Drill, Baby, Drill mantra, your God-endorsed pipeline project, your anti-polar bear agenda, and your work husband's lousy record when it comes to actually supporting alternative forms of energy.

The Straight Talk Express may have hit one pothole too many on the low road to the White House; are the wheels coming off the bus? The MSM, from Krugman to the AP, is finally exposing many of the McCain campaign's most egregious lies without mincing words.

But when it comes to dealing with climate change, McCain's still benefitting from the perception that he's been more progressive than the fossil fueled fossils that fill his party's ranks. Thanks to some sleuthing on the part of clean energy activist Susan Kraemer, though, we now have proof that when it comes to voting to support renewable energy, McCain's no better than James "Global Warming Is A Hoax" Inhofe.

Kraemer tallied up McCain's votes and found that McCain has "voted consistently against government support of solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy, ocean and any other clean energy, with the exception of being strongly for nuclear power." Hey, nuclear families, nuclear power, it's all good. Whatever.

Maybe it's kind of age-ist for us to expect a geezer like McCain to grasp the potential for new technologies to solve our energy woes; after all, as the latest ad from the Obama campaign notes, he has yet to master the art of the email. Feisty, Facebook-savvy Palin, on the other hand, is presumably up to speed on cutting edge solutions--after all, wasn't Senator Ted "Series of Tubes" Stevens a mentor of hers, back when the Bridge To Nowhere was her ticket to ride?

And yet, despite this energy hog's judicious application of lipstick, it's clear that "pitbull" Palin routinely pits economic growth against environmental preservation. The day before John McCain selected her as his veep, our gutsy Governor from Alaska penned a letter to fellow Governor Schwarzenegger strenuously protesting the Governator's proposal to impose a fee on the cargo containers that move more than 40% of the nation's goods through the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland.

According to the Los Angeles Times, "The fees would raise $400 million annually for such pollution-reduction projects as installing cleaner-burning truck and train engines and building roadways under or over railroad tracks to avoid long lines of idling vehicles."

State Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) sponsored the bill in the hopes of reducing the number of Californians killed by air pollution, estimated to be some 3,400 annually.

Palin objects to the proposal on the grounds that it will raise the cost of goods shipped to Alaska, where, as the Times notes, many communities "lack road access and depend entirely on goods shipped by container, something that has significantly increased in cost in recent years."

So I guess Palin's m.o. is to choose life, unless it's going to hit her constituents in the pocketbook. If you're unlucky enough to live near the ports of California, Palin's message seems to be "suck it up." A change of heart on climate change that we can believe in? If you buy that, I've got a bridge to nowhere to sell you.