Apologize

by Marita Noon on May 26, 2011

in Blog

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The hit song “Apologize” could become the theme song of the 2012 Republican Presidential campaign.

Mitt Romney won’t shed his “Romney-care” baggage through a simple apology. Instead he is embracing his controversial plan, claiming that he is no “flip-flopper.” While he is pulling strong poll numbers, pundits believe this one issue will make it tough for him to garner the support of conservatives and may cost him the nomination.

Likewise, Gingrich was thought to be a strong candidate with layers of people and policy carefully in place. Instead of catapulting to the top, as he likely expected with his May 11 announcement, he has been in the forefront of the news with his apology to Paul Ryan for his Sunday morning gaffe regarding the Ryan Plan. He has made several fumbled attempts to recover from this violation of Ronald Reagan’s famed “eleventh commandment,” but most cannot forgive him for sitting on the sofa with Nancy Pelosi and agreeing with her that “our country must take action to address climate change.” No worry. He has not asked for forgiveness and, in fact, refuses to apologize. As recently as a year ago, Gingrich claimed that he would still do a commercial, only this time with the spin that both conservatives and liberals should be prepared to stand on the same stage.

Adding to the “apologize” theme, Tim Pawlenty, who entered the race on May 24, differs from Gingrich. He has apologized for his climate-change support. As governor of Minnesota, he supported cap-and-trade legislation and agreed to participate in the multi-state Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord—both aimed at reducing the hydrocarbon use then believed to cause global warming. Like Gingrich, back in 2008, Pawlenty was also featured in advertising from an environmental group supporting government involvement in stopping climate change. He urged Congress to “get moving” on the issue. Unlike Romney and Gingrich, he has apologized for decisions that seemed right at the time, but have become politically toxic among Republicans.  Now, he says, it was wrong. “It was a mistake, and I’m sorry.”

Setting himself apart even further, his formal announcement speech on Tuesday earned him the high praise of “downright amazing” from the Wall Street Journal. He pledged to phase out subsidies on ethanol—which was popularized to combat climate change.  WSJ political columnist John Fund said: “One of the immutable laws of modern American politics is that no candidate who wants to win the Iowa Presidential Caucuses can afford to oppose subsidies for ethanol. … By opposing ethanol despite the political risks, Mr. Pawlenty will also gain credibility to tackle other energy subsidies that drain the federal fisc to little good effect.”

It was a different political era in the mid-2000s. As TIME defines it, “Carbon regulation was not so verboten in the GOP just a few years ago.” Policies were drafted based on the then-accepted idea of man-made climate change. Apology accepted.

But T-Paw needs to do more than apologize for his climate-change stance. He needs to renounce man-made global warming and government-imposed solutions. In doing so, he needs to apologize for the wake of his actions. In Minnesota, they are now trying to meet energy standards of 25% renewable energy by 2025 with un-economic wind turbines designed to provide clean, green, and free energy—which is really expensive (not to mention it destroys the serene and beautiful farming communities, property values, and lives).

Without a total renunciation, voters are left with the assumption that Pawlenty would force the same policies, Senator Bingaman has been promoting, on all of America. Such behavior is expected of green-beholden Democrats like President Obama, but to fare well in the GOP primaries, Pawlenty needs to assure voters of a true change-of-heart. In New Mexico, the major utility company is fighting the numbers to try to provide reliable and affordable electricity that meets the mandates passed under former Governor Richardson. No matter how they run the scenarios, the mandate-meeting modeling shows increased costs for ratepayers.

Like Richardson, Pawlenty has moved on. Today, neither has direct policy impact in their individual states; each has saddled ratepayers with higher energy costs. Richardson has been replaced by a governor, who is doing her best to reverse his policies. Pawlenty’s successor will likely continue to punish Minnesotans with the Next Generation Act of 2007 foisted on the people.

Minnesota and New Mexico are just two states with renewable energy standards. Many have realized the error of their ways and are working on reversing the hidden-tax mandates that raise energy costs and hurt all ratepayers, including the broken-budget cities and counties.

Mr. Pawlenty, Americans are forgiving people—but you have to ask. We know you can say: “I’m sorry.” Can you renounce the man-made climate-change scheme, apologize for the policies you put in place that are hurting the people of Minnesota, and assure your potential voters that as President, you will not pick and choose—through mandates and subsidies—which energy sources we the people can use? It’s not “too late to apologize.”

Known as the voice for energy, Marita Noon is the Executive Director at Energy Makes America Great Inc. the advocacy arm of the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy—working to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom and the American way of life. She is a popular speaker, a frequent guest on television and radio, her commentaries have been published in newspapers, blogs and websites nationwide. For more information, visit www.EnergyMakesAmericaGreat.org.

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