Willard Mitt Romney these days could not be more explicit about abandoning President Barack Obama's carbon-dioxide restrictions
"Irresponsibly," Romney wrote in an Aug. 28 op-ed for Foster's Daily Democrat in New Hampshire, the Environmental Protection Agency "declared carbon dioxide, the same carbon dioxide that humans exhale, to be a 'pollutant' that poses risks to human health."
He also observed: "Congress had the good sense not to compound our economic challenges by imposing cap-and-trade's extraordinary costs on the American people."
Romney's website offers this carbon-friendly promise: "Mitt Romney will eliminate the regulations promulgated in pursuit of the Obama administration's costly and ineffective anti-carbon agenda."
Well, surprise, surprise! Unlike this conservative aria, Romney sang a totally different tune as Massachusetts' liberal Republican governor.
A recently exposed, online dossier believed by some to be from the 2008 John McCain campaign, offers 200 pages of Romney's self-contradictions, vacillations and head scratchers. His views on so-called global warming are just the tip of this nonmelting iceberg of confusion.
The dossier includes Ryan Sager's New York Sun story of April 20, 2007, in which Romney embraces a 1940s fuel source. "Liquefied coal, gosh," Romney said. "Hitler during the Second World War — I guess because he was concerned about losing his oil — liquefied coal. That technology is still there."
Less bizarre were Romney's 2003 comments to religious leaders. According to the Los Angeles Times on March 25, 2007, Romney said he was "terrified" about "warming" and found it "quite alarming."
In July 2003, Romney wrote then-Gov. George Elmer Pataki of New York, from one RINO (Republican in name only) to another. "Now is the time to take action toward climate protection," Romney declared. He advocated a "regional cap-and-trade system" for New York and Massachusetts.
In 2004, Romney launched the Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan, "a coordinated statewide response to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the climate," as his office described it.
In a press release dated Dec. 7, 2005, Romney announced that "strict state limitations on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants" would take effect Jan. 1, 2006.
"These carbon emission limits will provide real and immediate progress in the battle to improve our environment," the communique quoted Romney. This red tape, it noted, is "designed to lower emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury from power plant smokestacks." Furthermore, the experts with whom Romney consulted "include John Holden (sic) . . . at Harvard University."
John Holdren now is Obama's science adviser. S. Fred Singer, a University of Virginia professor emeritus of physics and environmental science, and founding father of America's weather satellite system, calls him "a rabid environmentalist and collaborator of the notorious Paul Ehrlich."
Singer says Holdren misled Romney or his staff: "They consider CO2 a pollutant and mention it along with sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury — all real pollutants, injurious to human health. Clearly, they had no clue about the science."
"No one would choose such a green course, enlist such advisers, and then suddenly reverse himself," says Cato Institute environmental scholar Patrick Michaels. "As president, Romney will revert to his more familiar green self."
"Romney's press release should be compared to more recent statements in which he has changed his views on climate change," suggests the Reason Foundation's Julian Morris. "The optimistic conclusion would be that he changes his mind in response to better evidence. The pessimistic conclusion would be that he changes his mind in response to the advice of pollsters."
Americans who thirst for leadership driven by principles rather than polls should go see "The Iron Lady." Meryl Streep, the finest actress in recorded history, masterfully portrays former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
In the film, Her Majesty's head of government dominates the United Kingdom, steady in her conservative convictions and convincing as she communicates them. As America drifts among the waves like a faded Champagne cork, these memories of Thatcher's rule trigger goose bumps.
America now ponders someone who is flexible on virtually everything — even the air we breathe. Clearly no Iron Lady, Romney is the Man of Foil.
Deroy Murdock is a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. E-mail him at deroy.Murdock@gmail.com.
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