The Mustache (as Grist.org has taken to calling Tom Friedman) had a column in the NY Times this week about Senator McCain’s failure to show up for all 8 of the votes in the Senate for a bill to renew the tax credits for wind and solar power. Due to strong Republican opposition to the bill, it has stalled, and we are now facing a situation where these tax credits will expire at the end of the year. If this happens, it will be a major setback for attempts to build a meaningful renewable energy industry in our country.
McCain, who has faced significant criticism this year for his voting record (or lack thereof) on the environment, continues to emphasize his green credentials, even showing majestic images of windmills in his campaign commercials running this week during the Olympics. However, as Friedman points out, not only did McCain not vote all eight times on this issue, but for one of them, “he was even in the Senate and wouldn’t leave his office to vote.”
With that said, Senator Obama has proved only slightly more genuine on this matter, having missed the most recent vote on July 30, but making the previous three. However, given how the candidates have been wasting their time bickering over tire pressure and off-shore drilling lately, it is funny (and sad) to see that not only are they not voting to support their positions, but their campaigns are using almost identical windmill footage to promote those “policies.”
The Mustache really puts it best by stating:
Without taxing fossil fuels so they become more expensive and giving subsidies to renewable fuels so they become more competitive – and changing regulations so more people and companies have an interest in energy efficiency – we will not get innovation in clean power at the scale we need.
That is what this election should be focusing on. Everything else is just bogus rhetoric designed by cynical candidates who think Americans are so stupid – so bloody stupid – that if you just show them wind turbines in your Olympics ad they’ll actually think you showed up and voted for such renewable power – when you didn’t.