Detroit — In front of a roomful of 500 General Motors employees — of all places – John McCain paraded his radical Green credentials this morning. McCain embraced California’s lawsuit against the EPA demanding that states be allowed to set their own auto mileage standards.
“I guess at the end of the day, I support the states being able to do that,” he said at the town hall meeting at GM’s Technical Center in Warren, Mich.
California’s policy is strongly opposed by the auto industry because of the nightmare patchwork of regulatory standards such a proposal would set. The industry prefers national standards – a position that McCain had supported until this morning. McCain’s flip-flop on the issue (assuming he meant what he said, and his campaign doesn’t quickly move to correct the gaffe) would put him at odds with the Bush administration and longstanding Republican policy.
“It’s hard for me to tell states that they can’t impose whatever standards are imposed,” McCain said. “I want to see (the industry) sit down with the governors and ask them what they need.”
It’s McCain that they will want to sit down. The senator’s statement is likely to bring a firestorm of criticism from the Big Three and further alienate McCain from Midwest manufacturing voters that are already suspicious of his embrace of Al Gore’s global warming agenda.
Michiganians were already lighting up a Detroit Free Press blog this morning in reaction to McCain’s new position:
“McCain wants to destroy our state. He has basically told the auto industry to drop dead,” wrote one reader.
“I don’t think he understands the insanity or the ramifications of such a comment. That would be very consumer unfriendly and frankly, very anti-business. It likely would be a bureaucrats delight however,” wrote another.
Of course, there is a simple way individual states can set there own mileage standards without massive new regulation: Jack up their gas taxes. Too bad McCain is too clueless on energy to point that out.