Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Republicans Stepping Out of Character to Support Cap & Trade

First Scott McLellan, now Mike Gerson??

In a "man bites dog" story, Michael Gerson, who was George W. Bush's most trusted speechwriter, hails the courage of the eight Republicans who voted for cap and trade last week.

Gerson points out that "the eight Republicans who supported it were bound to feel some rapid political warming. Conservative Internet and radio accused them of single-handedly passing President Obama's "cap-and-tax" legislation..."

But, he calls this a "myth," noting that Speaker Pelosi would have marshalled the necessary votes come hell or high water and this was a fait accompli in the House. More importantly, Gerson argues that, as patently bad as the bill was (is)-- he describes it as "a riot of loopholes, concessions and offsets -- legislative sausage-making with an excess of offal"-- it likely was the best of our bad options.

An overnight switch to carbon-free energy production isn't going to happen. A straight carbon tax would disproportionately punish American industries already under intense pressure to compete internationally (think cement, steel, paper). So cap and trade is a stop-gap, transitional solution, albeit a flawed one.

Gerson argues that our solution to the carbon problem is technological and that in order to spur innovation, we need to pile on still more incentives. In his words, "putting a price on carbon would make the development of cleaner energy technologies more profitable."

All of this from W's guy...

Cap and Traitors [Washington Post]

p.s., We got our waiver yesterday-- but you probably knew that already.