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RUSH: Michael Gerson, who was the first head speechwriter for President George W. Bush, is now a columnist at the Washington Post — and a compassionate conservative. He is a compassionate conservative. An excerpt from Mr. Gerson’s article today: ‘In the general election, [McCain’s] ideological heresies will suddenly transform into strengths. Because of his immigration views, he is the only Republican candidate who can make a serious appeal to Hispanic voters. His positions on global warming and campaign finance reform will ease his outreach to independents. But McCain has at least one serious political drawback — and it is not the ‘temperament issue.’ I have yet to hear a serious argument for the proposition that a short fuse should be disqualifying for high office. The peaceful are not always polite — theologian Stanley Hauerwas says, ‘I’m a pacifist because I’m a violent son of a bitch’ — any more than the tightly coiled are always warlike. But those who know McCain report a general lack of interest in domestic policy compared with his engagement in foreign affairs.

”It’s sometimes unfairly argued that Bush is intellectually uncurious,’ says one former member of Congress, ‘but on domestic issues that is really true of McCain.’ McCain’s foresight on Iraq has carried him far. But eventually, he will need to engage Democrats on issues from health care to education to poverty. And being right on the war will not be enough.’ Now, let’s go back. ‘Because of his immigration views, he’s the only Republican candidate who can make a serious appeal to Hispanic voters.’ I told you. I told you. I told you that’s what this is. I told you — and it means they’re going to do what they have to do to get those Hispanic voters when we’re not looking. He’s the only Republican can do that. ‘His positions on global warming and campaign finance reform will ease his outreach to independents’? And my good friend Bill Bennett says that we are the Trotskyites? The Trotskyism exists on the McCain side. The Trotskyism exists there. They’re the ones urging us to purify with McCain. This is the summation, this paragraph. Michael Gerson, President Bush’s first speechwriter: ‘These are reasons recommending McCain’s election.’ He can reach out to Hispanics; bad thing because of the amnesty bill.

‘His position on global warming and campaign finance reform will ease his outreach to independents.’ Mr. Gerson, have you guys stopped to think what these very issues are doing to McCain’s base support? Have you stopped to think for a moment why it is he is not getting a majority of the conservative vote — and in certain key states, not even a majority of the Republican vote? Is it really that much more important to all of you on the McCain side of things to get independents and liberals voting for your candidate, or our candidate? Folks, what else can you conclude but than they’re really trying to run us out of the party? I went back and did a little research. On January 10th of this year there was a story at National Review Online by Roy Cordato. Roy Cordato is an economist. He’s VP for research and a resident scholar at the John Locke Foundation, a public policy think tank in North Carolina; and this bounces off Mr. Gerson’s praise of Mr. McCain’s global warming position, making it easier for outreach to independents. Well, what is McCain’s global warming policy?

Well, for one thing, it’s costly. ‘What do John McCain, Environmental Defense, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Pew Center on Climate Change have in common? They have united to support a massive new tax increase on energy — which will raise costs throughout the economy and threaten the vitality of, among others, the oil and automobile industries. I suspect that many who would be significantly harmed by McCain’s wrongheaded tax plan — say, blue-collar workers in Michigan — have never heard of it. The Arizona senator’s position on federal tax cuts is better known. Nearly all of his opponents in the presidential campaign have criticized him for voting against both of President Bush’s tax-reduction plans. What is not widely understood is that he is currently sponsoring legislation that, in the name of fighting global warming, would dramatically raise the tax on all carbon-based fuels, including gasoline, home heating oil, coal, and to a lesser extent, natural gas.

‘The proposed bill, co-sponsored with Joe Lieberman,’ a-hem, ‘mandates an energy-rationing scheme that all economists acknowledge is equivalent to a broad-based energy tax which is similar to Bill Clinton’s 1993 Btu tax proposal. Energy would be taxed through the back door by placing a cap on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that energy-producing companies can emit. It puts a legal limit on the amount of energy that can be drawn from conventional sources such as oil, coal, and natural gas. McCain’s energy tax would kick in whenever an energy-producing company wants to expand its output above the cap. If, for example, a utility company that is bumping up against its emissions cap wants to increase its production of electricity generated from coal, oil, or natural gas, it will have to buy permission to do so by purchasing unused permits from other companies. The same would be true of an oil refiner… The purchase price of the permits is a tax, and will have the same effects as a tax on the market; it would raise the price of the energy source, i.e. coal, oil, etc., and therefore, it would likewise raise the costs of all production that relies on those sources, as well as the price of all goods and services that’ are produced using these products. … ‘Over the next 100 years, the CO2 reductions from the tax will result in a temperature change that even its proponents concede, is so small,’ nobody will even notice, but a massive tax increase gets us.

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