Politico reported yesterday that presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty is still on the cap-and-trade apology leg of his tour. This is admirable and necessary for "T-Paw" to be a viable candidate in 2012, but not an especially difficult decision considering that not even many Senate Democrats could bring themselves to support the policy last year. It's a no-brainer.
Pawlenty has actually been running away from cap-and-trade for a while now. From Politico:
"Everybody in the race, at least the big names in the race, embraced climate change or cap-and-trade at one point or another, every one of us, so there's no one who has been in executive position whose name is being bantered in a first or second-tier way who hasn't embraced it in some way," the former Minnesota governor said on the "Laura Ingraham Show."
"The question is in my case, I've said, 'Look, I've made a mistake.' I think cap-and-trade would be a ham-fisted, unhelpful, damaging thing to the economy," Pawlenty added. "It's misguided. I made the mistake. I admit it. I'm not trying to be cute about it. I just come out and tell you it was a mistake."
The "everybody did it" defense is not exactly true -- Haley Barbour didn't go along, which Politico notes. But what conservatives need to do with Pawlenty is dig a little deeper on the climate change and energy policy issues, since there are a lot of costly, anti-freedom things he did as governor of Minnesota, like renewables mandates. And he had the opportunity to withdraw his state from the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord even after he started dissing cap-and-trade, but he failed to do so.
One troubling view that Pawlenty held, even as he disavowed himself of cap-and-trade, was that he apparently considered carbon dioxide a pollutant, as shown in this interview when he visited New Hampshire in December 2009:
And only a year prior to that he participated in a global warming alarmist video, in which he said:
I don't think many people would disagree with the fact that what we're doing is unsustainable -- environmentally, economically, and from a national security standpoint. But we have a chance to try to make a difference, and to do good. (Emphasis Pawlenty's)
Here is that video:
Does Pawlenty still believe these things about carbon dioxide and pollution? If so, it can lead to a lot of bad policy if he is elected, such as carbon taxes, national renewables mandates, and EPA regulations.
Update 4:55 p.m.: Forgot to mention that I could not find any signs of repentance on his campaign Web site.