My new Townhall.com column on John McCain’s denunciation of exploration in ANWR is posted.
Here’s an old Jonah Goldberg column on the beauties of ANWR. Surprise: ANWR ain’t the Grand Canyon.
Here’s what Bill Kristol said about McCain and ANWR yesterday (transcript here):
I’m better disposed to John McCain than you are, I think, and than probably most conservatives are. But there are times when he, he doesn’t make it easy for conservatives to support him. And you know, on something like ANWR, it’s probably at this point an academic discussion. You know, we had a Republican president and a Republican Congress, and ANWR wasn’t drilled, we didn’t open up ANWR for drilling. We’re not going to have a Republican Congress probably, unfortunately, in the next couple of years. We’re certainly not going to have the majorities Republicans had in 2005-2006. And so in some respects, one’s position on drilling in ANWR is not a central part of the presidential campaign. Why John McCain thinks that it’s a good idea, therefore, to sort of indulge in a certain kind of high-flown rhetoric that appeals to lots of liberals, and lots in the media, but just annoys conservatives, it’s gratuitous, you know?
Part of his appeal, and I do believe there is an appeal in this, is that straight talk. Now it did not work all that well in New Hampshire, but his whole line is that he’s going to tell people what they don’t want to hear, that sometimes, that’s what a president requires. Now when it is an issue that the base of the party is so against you on, like ANWR, or I’ll give you, I think, more of a hot button issue, illegal immigration, McCain, I think, is in dangerous territory. If illegal immigration and his work on a comprehensive bill becomes a major issue in South Carolina, that is going to remind people in the base of that party why they didn’t trust or didn’t like or didn’t vote for him in 2000. And again, straight talk is well and good, but you also have to win. I mean, that’s what I always get down to, is you know, you can run the greatest campaign ever, but in the end, if you don’t win, you don’t win.
JG: Yeah, and it’s one of those things where he was…the question came from Mike Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard, and it was, it wasn’t a hostile answer, but there was something in it that just kind of presumed that if you want to drill in ANWR, you want to drill in the Grand Canyon. To me, they’re two separate things, and I don’t think you can say oh, one pretty part of the country is as good as another. I think that the, you can say ANWR is an important part of our energy plan to encourage exploration, and still say there are other parts of the country you would rule off. Another thing is in an earlier conversation, he had said that he is a federalist, and so he is okay with drilling off the coast of Louisiana, because people want it there. I could be wrong, because I haven’t seen polling on this in a while, but I’m pretty sure Alaskans want drilling in ANWR.
HH: Oh, they do.
JG: I think they see it as an economic boon, so…
HH: You see, this is a little bit of the moral preening that is always part of John McCain. It’s not enough…it also suggests he’ll never change his mind on it, right? Because we’re never going to drill in the Grand Canyon. But it’s that kind of certainty and absolutism that I think drives Republicans further and further away from him. Your thoughts?
JG: Yeah, and if the question had been, is this an issue we can discuss further, or is this a no-surrender issue, and McCain said well, we could always discuss it further, but, and then he went into this whole comparison into drilling in the Everglades, et cetera. And it just…you know, it’s one of those things where if that’s where your mind goes…look, McCain had a rough night. He lost Michigan…
JG: Maybe he’s not at the top of his game, and he’s a little shorter of temper than he ordinarily…again, this wasn’t an angry response, but it was a fighting response. This was not a soft-spoken response from him. And again, I don’t see why…this must be one of those things where he believes in the principle, because it’s not going to help him at all amongst Republicans.