Politico's story "Huntsman on Cap and Trade: 'It hasn't worked'", opens :
"Jon Huntsman is backing away from his support for a cap-and-trade system for Western states that he once championed as Utah
'It hasn't worked,' the potential GOP presidential candidate told Time Magazine in his first extended interview since leaving his post as U.S. ambassador to China. 'And our economy's in a different place than five years ago.'
Until the economy recovers, Huntsman added, 'this isn't the moment' to implement it.
But, you said it hasn't worked.
So unfortunately, once again a Republican candidate's cap-n-trade jig appears somewhat sophisticated. Parsed, this one says:
It hasn't worked.
I supported it when the economy was in a good place.
This sort of economy makes supporting it now a bad idea.
When the economy's recovered things will be different. At that time, things that have proved not to work are ok.
I believe the above accurately reflects candidate Huntsman's position as articulated to Politico, but I invite readers to tell me where this might be unfair.
In checking for myself first, I dug around to pressure-test the sincerity of this -- for example, did Huntsman sell the climate shtick as a jobs/pro-economic growth measure at the time? If so, why is it now a bad idea? You say it's the economy. Is there a reason we should think it's not just the polls?
And even though Politico also wrote the following, oddly, I kept finding examples of Huntsman's history on the issue leading to web pages that are no longer available, or which redirected me to others:
"Like the others, Huntsman's views on climate legislation live on via the Internet. He partnered in 2007 with then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer in a nationally-televised Environmental Defense Fund commercial urging Congress to pass legislation capping greenhouse gases."
For example, the story which used to be found here: http://www.sltrib.com/News/ci_11034842
I see it teased on one site.
Guv carries climate message to White House
Energy policy » Western governors have a proposal
By Thomas Burr, Salt Lake Tribune, 11/21/08
Washington » Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer meet this morning with President-elect Barack Obama's top transition leader to deliver a bipartisan energy proposal from Western governors.
The plan, supported by 14 Western governors, includes what Huntsman labeled a "road map" for the new administration and includes a so-called cap-and-trade program, goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing renewable energies, and suggestions for weaning the country off foreign sources of oil.
But this story, like all sorts of others I encountered on a search, only to chase to a dead end, is just not to be found. Only the above blurb on this lefty activist news-aggregator site compiling relevant stories.
But it provides some insight. Notably, this was Huntsman's pitch to President Obama (which, his subsequent job indicates, impressed the President-elect). After the 2008 election, which itself was greatly impacted and ultimately defined by the economic downturn. That's not exactly 5 years ago. It is also not exactly when we were in flush economic times. Arguably, things were worse. Mr. Huntsman should ask his chief advisor, John Weaver. He was chief advisor to pro-cap-n-trade nominee John McCain back then.
But yet, we see Gov. Huntsman was pushing it as a model for the country then.
So what we see is another guy trying to be slick, to avoid saying "Bad idea. But, can I still have credit for the ask? I won't swear off it." Not mature. Trying to have it every way. Not trustworthy.
And, incidentally, this is not, as the press keeps spinning it, evidence of the perils of a changing sentiment in the Republican base. This represents the perils of candidates with no apparent center, terrible instincts, or simply terrible judgment seeking to woo the media and "the middle" that their consultants keep telling them is where the race is won.
It's won on principle.
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