I've been trying to stay non-partisan on this blog but ever since the general election kicked in to gear it has become harder and harder to out of the fray since energy and environmental policy are two huge issues for this election. After last night's Republican National Convention, where Mayor Rudy Giuliani touted McCain's energy policy with shouts of "Drill drill drill!", I feel compelled to get off the sidelines. John McCain used to be the maverick of his party, as he believes that global warming and climate change are caused by man, and he says that energy independence would be a priority of his administration. However, his pandering to the oil industry and the base of his party, who think that lifting the ban on offshore drilling is the best way to ending our dependence on foreign oil, is just more of the same that we've seen throughout the Bush Cheney years - all talk and no action.
McCain's selection of Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin has definitely energized the conservative wing of the Republican party - but what does it say to independent and swing voters who think energy and environmental policy should be at the top of the nation's list of priorities? Sarah Palin is a total reversal of McCain's previous positions on energy and the environment. She believes in drilling in ANWR, she does not believe that climate change is man made. She even went as far as saying that polar bears should not be on the endangered species list because protecting them may "cripple oil and gas development" in parts of Alaska. Here is the full story from this past May; the following is the key snippet on her position:
The state of Alaska will sue to challenge the recent listing of polar bears as a threatened species, Gov. Sarah Palin announced Wednesday..
She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas development in prime polar bear habitat off the state's northern and northwestern coasts.
Palin argued that there is not enough evidence to support a listing. Polar bears are well-managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation, she said.
Climate models that predict continued loss of sea ice, the main habitat of polar bears, during summers are unreliable, said Palin, a Republican
Thomas Friedman wrote that John McCain's turnaround on environmental issues to appease his party's conservative base leads one to wonder how he can still claim to be the candidate who will put America on the path to energy independence.
With his choice of Sarah Palin — the Alaska governor who has advocated drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and does not believe mankind is playing any role in climate change — for vice president, John McCain has completed his makeover from the greenest Republican to run for president to just another representative of big oil.
When even George W. Bush has admitted that climate change is a result of human activity, the Republican party's claim that Sarah Palin is a reformer and an agent of change is about as believable as her claim to have been against the poster child of wasteful pork barrel spending, Alaska's "bridge to nowhere."