Posts Tagged 'huckabee'

Happy Super Fat Tuesday

This is the first time in years that I’ve been excited in a good way about politics, so let’s ride this wave.  Now, even though we’ve all got pet issues (guess what mine is!), hopefully we’re all making voting decisions based on an array of candidate stances.  The candidates’ plans and views on energy and/or the environment are highly indicative of how they’ll handle issues like national security and the economy, so they deserve a second look, no matter your pet issue.

First off, quick overviews are available at the League of Conservation Voters and at Grist (LCV advocates certain specific environmental stances, and Grist is just full of lots of hippies, so their rubrics differ some).  Grist also has a more detailed review of each candidate still in the race, and an article specifically on the differences between Clinton and Obama’s plans.  I imagine they’d have compared Republican plans directly, but none of the Republicans have specific plans- they have some interesting talking points, but no numbers or enumerated ways to reach their goals.  This is not a swipe at Republicans, it’s just the truth.

Beyond the quick reviews by hippies, though, check out the candidates at their own websites- it’s more revealing to see the way they talk about their plans/visions (I’ll use visions for Republicans- again, no plans).  As a quick rundown, Environment/Energy (labelled as such) make the top 3 or 4 issues on the lists for Obama and ClintonMcCain lists an Environment issue toward the bottom of his issue list, Romney lists “Ending Energy Dependence” toward the middle (after “Latin American Allies” and way before “Education”), and Huckabee lists “Energy Independence” toward the middle (after “Faith and Politics”, “Marriage”, and before “National Security”).

The plan that makes me personally the happiest is, well, Clinton and Obama’s- specifically, the part where they both want to invest $150 billion dollars over 10 years in clean technology, which would build robust American infrastructure, create jobs, reduce energy dependence, inspire investment by private businesses…you know, my dreamworld.  If you feel like that’s too much, remember, we spend $500 billion a year buying oil.  Also, Bush just found $150 billion he wants to mail to us over the next couple months, so.  $150 billion over 10 years to generate real economic growth?  Ahhhhh, back in my happy place.

Romney and Huckabee both say a lot about how renewables are a good idea, and say they have plans to make it happen, but don’t get as far as saying what the plans are.  McCain features a video and a short blurb on conservation and Teddy Roosevelt, even though he’s sponsored energy bills and gets the best ratings from Grist and LCV in the Republican field.  I am aware that Ron Paul is also still a candidate, and I’m not purposefully leaving him out- but his plan is, he has no plan.  That’s hardcore libertarians for you.

But Huckabee’s issue brief also ranks on my personal happiness factor.  He sounds so excited about his plan!  A section:

The first thing I will do as President is send Congress my comprehensive plan for energy independence. I’ll use the bully pulpit to inform you about the plan and ask for your support. I’ll use the bully conference table to meet with members of Congress until I have the votes. The plan will get underway during my first term, and we will achieve energy independence by the end of my second term…

We think of globalization as primarily an economic issue and the war on terror as primarily a military issue. Yet the same key unlocks the door to success in both, and that key is energy independence.

None of us would write a check to Osama bin Laden, slip it in a Hallmark card and send it off to him. But that’s what we’re doing every time we pull into a gas station. We’re paying for both sides in the war on terror – our side with our tax dollars, the terrorists’ side with our gas dollars.

Our dependence on foreign oil has forced us to support repressive regimes, to conduct our foreign policy with one hand tied behind our back. It’s time, it’s past time, to untie that hand and reach out to moderate Muslims with both hands. Oil has not just shaped our foreign policy, it has deformed it. When I make foreign policy, I want to treat Saudi Arabia the same way I treat Sweden, and that requires us to be energy independent. These folks have had us over a barrel – literally – for way too long.

Energy independence will ease the effects of globalization because the future energy demands of countries like India and China, as their middle class grows, are going to be tremendous. Even if Middle East supplies remain stable – a huge if – that increased demand will drive prices up dramatically, which will hurt our economy by making everything more expensive here. But if we are energy independent, we will be able not just to take care of our own needs and protect our economy, we will also create jobs and grow our economy by developing technologies that we can sell to the rest of the world to meet their needs.

Huck’s thought it through, and he’s dead on- it’s the best summation on any website of how the energy problem ties in with all of our other issues, and Republicans and Democrats can appreciate it (can’t you?).  But goodness, I wish he’d tell me what his plan was, and that it turned out to be a good plan, and that he didn’t espouse other positions such that I would never, ever, vote for him.  But hey, as long as he’s got the gist of it, more power (though not necessarily more delegates) to him.

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Sunday Special: On Earth, Religion, and Politics

This is not quite the topic, but it gets us there: a Discovery News article details the League of Conservation Voters rubric rating the 2008 presidential candidates on environmental policies. The LCV is an independent group with stated policy opinions, and rates the candidates as to how they stack up against an “ideal” (ie, do you support this percent change in this by this year?). Even if you don’t agree with LCV goals, the rubric illuminates stark divides between the candidates and parties. Prepare for a slightly annoying interface, but do go ahead and “Chart the Candidates” at their site– you can also see more nuanced stands by individual candidates, with excerpts from speeches, responses to a questionnaire the LCV gave them all (not for the Republicans, though- McCain is the only one who filled it out and returned it on their side), and an analysis of voting records.

Discovery ends the article with a note that while McCain scored highest on the Republican sides for various data collection reasons, Huckabee comes in second, given the way he addresses conservation issues (which appears to substitute for terms like “climate change” and “global warming” in Republican-speak). Huckabee comes in second because he talks about God.

Ah, now we come to the point. Huckabee, as you might have heard in any of several billion campaign reports, is a pastor. He has lead large Baptist congregations, and speaks of the environment in terms of man’s responsibility to protect God’s creation- stewardship. This religious man, and representative of his faith, would have us care for the world because God wishes it. He is less clear on how he, as President, would enact God’s will in environmental legislation, but he’s pro-emission caps.

The Pope has increasingly made stewardship on the environment a part of his message to his flock. I mentioned it earlier, but the Vatican has solar panels (with more on the way!) and carbon credits now. In his Christmas address a couple weeks ago, Benedict XVI reminded his faithful explicitly of their duty to Creation.

He cited St. Anselm of Canterbury, who in the Middle Ages “in an almost prophetic way, once described a vision of what we witness today in a polluted world whose future is at risk: ‘Everything was as if dead, and had lost its dignity.'” Likewise, he said, Gregory of Nyssa, a theologian of the fourth century, saw the place of Christ’s birth, a rundown stable, as the symbol of an “ill-treated world.” “What would he say if he could see the state of the world today, through the abuse of energy and its selfish and reckless exploitation?” the pope said. Christ “came to restore beauty and dignity to creation, to the universe,” he said, and in this sense “Christmas is a feast of restored creation.”

The head of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, also included a message on God’s plan for sustainability in his end of the year address, which is, of course, available on YouTube.

“Despite constant talk about recycling and thinking ‘green’, we’re still a society that produces fantastic quantities of waste,” he says. “Look at the number of plastic bags flapping around by the roadside, in town and country alike and you see what I mean”…In the message, filmed partly in Canterbury Cathedral and at a local recycling centre, Williams says God is involved in building to last. “He doesn’t give up on the material of human lives. He doesn’t throw it all away and start again. And he asks us to approach one another and our physical world with the same commitment,” he says. “God doesn’t do waste.”…

I’m not Catholic or Anglican, but I do believe in god, and The Pope and the Archbishop are an excellent reminder for me that that sustainability and living wisely with nature begin personally and internally, and must be tied to all those other things that guide our moral values if they’re going to be expressed in our actions. Good on them, and their efforts to reconnect people with the meaning behind their actions, and to realign the green bandwagon.

The way Huckabee politicizes his faith gives this another twist. The Pope and Archbishop are rarely directly political (especially since they’ve stopped crowning Europe’s kings)- and these messages on the environment and sustainability are non-political. They do intend that their followers internalize and act on these messages, though- including while voting, and running for office, and any other political what-have-you. Huckabee is just bringing his faith straight into office, and using his word of God as justification for his positions, or non-positions. Even without commentary on the separation of church and state that’s eroding so quickly in our country, it bothers (scares, annoys) me that this man is a contender, and finds no contradiction in his wish to guide us politically and spiritually. I want policies from politicians, without religious overtones, and I want the religious leaders to stick to moral guidance.


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