First things first: If you missed Willard’s visit to an Iowa cafe, and the owner’s, erm, disenchanted reaction to it, please read this now.
Now on to more Etchscapades. Did you know that Romney’s gubernatorial record on the environment “has little in common with his positions in the presidential race”? Surprise! Imagine that. People who knew him in Massachusetts say he pulled yet another switcheroo that nearly gave them whiplash.
So what else is new?
Douglas Foy, Romney’s former “supersecretary” who oversaw environmental, energy, transportation and housing policy, was appointed by Mitt to the delight of environmentalists, because he was the chief executive of the Conservation Law Foundation and was known for his intolerance of polluters.
But true to form, Mitt flip flopped faster than Half Gov Barbie McLipschmutz quits jobs.
Foy’s team crafted the 2004 Climate Action Plan, and with Romney’s blessing led the effort to draft the country’s first interstate compact to reduce greenhouse gases, called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI.
But by late 2005, when the compact awaited his signature, Romney decided Massachusetts would not participate. Romney determined that RGGI’s cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could be onerously expensive for state businesses, Cass said.
Massachusetts did later join RGGI when Deval Patrick succeeded Romney as governor, and it went on to create 16,000 regional jobs and pump $1.6 billion into the economy, according to a November 2011 report by the Analysis Group, a Boston consultancy.
So much for GOP arguments that regulating polluters would cause unemployment and/or hurt the economy.
A week after his RGGI decision, Romney’s administration adopted a provision that let power plants pay a low fee for emitting harmful toxins like mercury, rather than cleaning them up. Both decisions occurred just as Romney announced he would not seek a second term and began preparations for the 2008 presidential race.
“It was almost as if a switch was flipped in December 2005,” said Rob Sargent, Boston-based energy program director for Environment America. “We always suspected he might have higher aspirations, and that’s when his constituents started saying he must be trying to appeal to people other than Massachusetts voters.“
David Jenkins, vice president of ConservAmerica, a Republican environmental group, said, “We have heard a lot of campaign trail stuff. We have heard whatever a particular group wants to hear from him, and when you do that, you get yourself into what I call the panderers’ box.“
The panderers’ box. Love it. But why does it sound so familiar?
The moral of the story: