According to Mike Huckabee, he has never supported a cap-and-trade approach to limiting carbon emissions. As he puts it point-blank on his website:
“In a recent internet post, a contributor makes the claim that I supported cap-and-trade in late 2007 while running for President.
To put it simply, that’s just not true.
If companies chose to participate voluntarily as part of their corporate policy, then fine. But I was clear that we could not force U.S. businesses to do what their Chinese counterparts refused to – and doing so would have been a serious job killer.
I understand this issue well, and I realize the potential damage that would occur if it passes because I was the chair of the 37 state-member Oil and Gas Compact Commission for 2 years. In fact, I led the state or Arkansas through the process of developing the Fayetteville Shale play of natural gas.
This kind of mandatory energy policy would have a horrible impact on this nation’s job market. I never did support and never would support it – period.”
However, there’s overwhelming video evidence to the contrary. On Oct. 13, 2007, at the Global Warming and Energy Solutions Conference in the critical primary state of New Hampshire, Huckabee acknowledged the challenge of climate change. “We all have a responsibility to recognize that climate change is here, it’s real, and that what we have to do is quit pointing fingers as to who’s at fault and who’s responsibility it is to fix it, and recognize that it’s all of our fault and we all have responsibility to fix it.”
At the 2:00 minute mark in the video, Huckabee goes on to make his stance on cap and trade as explicit as possible. He says:
“I also support cap-and-trade of carbon emissions and I was disappointed when the Senate rejected a carbon counting system to measure the sources of emissions because that would have been the first and most important step in implementing true cap-and-trade.”
I know, I know. A politician who flip flops. Yawn. Newt Gingrich has made the same transition, from an ardent advocate of cap and trade — “I think if you have mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system, much like we did with sulfur, and if you have a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions, that there’s a package there that’s very, very good. And frankly, it’s something I would strongly support” — to an implacable foe of a proposal that he now considers part of a secular-socialist plot to destroy America.
But Steve Benen at Washington Monthly makes a larger point:
“It wasn’t too long ago — within the last decade — that there was a basic spectrum of policy positions Republicans accepted on a range of national issues. Not every candidate agreed across the board with every position, but the GOP’s general approach was fairly easy to identify.
On health care, for example, the Republican mainstream envisioned a system involving an individual mandate. On arms control, the Republican mainstream embraced policies along the lines of the original START treaty.
And on energy policy, the Republican mainstream loved cap and trade. Indeed, just two years ago, the ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin vowed to establish “a cap-and-trade system that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions” and pursue “alternatives to carbon-based fuels.”
The point, of course, isn’t just that the Republican mainstream has shifted sharply to the right, it’s that the mainstream has fallen off a right-wing cliff with surprising speed. Positions that were widely accepted by Republicans just a few years ago are now considered communist plots to destroy the American way of life.”
It does make you wonder who’s driving the Republican train, leaving people such as Huckabee and Gingrich scrambling to keep up.
– Jay Bookman