John McCain Claims to Be ‘Mr. Renewable Energy’ in New Ad – Sierra Club Calls BS

  • Published on August 7th, 2008

Huh? I don’t get it.

That’s what I was left saying to myself after watching the latest logically bereft John McCain ad. This one continues on with the ‘Obama-is-a-celebrity-therefore-he’s-unfit-to-lead’ theme by asking if he is “ready to help your family?” The narrator goes on to say, “The real Obama promises higher taxes, more government spending – so, fewer jobs.”

Wait, what?

The ad then goes on to flash the iconic images of wind turbines and John McCain at some sort of manufacturing plant and the narrator says: “Renewable energy to transform our economy, create jobs and energy independence. That’s John McCain.”

Now you understand why I was dumbfounded, right? Here, watch it for yourself. Please, if you can help me understand it, I invite your comments. [youtube=]

Cathy Duval, the Sierra Club’s political director was quick to pounce on the ad:

“John McCain could’ve been the deciding vote on this issue twice — something that would’ve truly helped America’s workers and moved us toward energy independence — but he was the only Senator who didn’t even bother to show up and vote. And just last week, John McCain’s allies in the Senate blocked extending these energy incentives twice because they were determined to hold Congress hostage in order to push the Bush-McCain-Big Oil energy agenda at all costs.”

The Sierra Club also released a fact-check of the new McCain. Here are the highlights:

John McCain Offers Nothing More Than Empty Rhetoric on Renewable Energy

  • John McCain opposes a Renewable Electricity Standard and has consistently voted against such a standard in the past. (Sources: 2005 Senate Vote #141, 6/16/2005; 2002 Senate Vote #50, 3/14/2002; 2002 Senate Vote #55, 3/21/2002; 2002 Senate Vote #59, 3/21/2002)
  • John McCain believes the renewable energy industry is “doing fine” and doesn’t need any incentives.  While he offered a $300 million gimmick on electric cars, he has voted against $290 million for clean energy. Meanwhile, John McCain favors billions in new and existing subsidies for dirty, dangerous, and distracting nuclear power. (Sources: Grist, 10/1/07; 2006 Senate Vote #42, 3/14/2006)
  • If key clean energy incentives that are in danger of expiring soon are not renewed, it could cost more than 116,000 hardworking Americans in the wind and solar industries alone their jobs and sacrifice $19 billion in economic growth.  Twice, when every single other Senator voted and measures to renew these critical incentives lost by just a single vote, John McCain didn’t even show up to vote when he could have made the difference. (Sources:  Navigant Consulting study, 02/04/2008,; 2007 Senate Vote #425, 2008 Senate Vote #8)

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About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.


  • to mr. Hurst, You are not corect in analizing the

    statement."you don't get nothing for free", I read

    this as you get everything for free.

    jim C.SR,

  • John McCain doesn’t live under a rock. The REPUBLICANS HAVE GOTTEN THE MESSAGE! What they’re saying now is how we need to work on getting a number of energy scources going because this is a very big country and each area/state has to solve their unique energy situation with an answer that fits their resources and works for them financilly. If you read McCain’s website he is for bringing on alturnatives. He’s for cap and trade, etc. But he also realizes that American citizens can’t all go out and buy all new cars, heating systems, and appliances by the year 2012. We have family budgets that are stretched to the max now just trying to put enough gas in the tank to get to work, and we are gravely worried about our heating bills come this winter. When you think about the financial realities switching to alturnatives will cause; families will have to replace all the energy related items they own, all the transportation companies will have to buy all new vehicles, governmnets the same, businesses having to buy new fleets, auto companies retooling, gas stations adding new pumps, etc., etc. etc. You must realize that this transition will take time. All of us are struggling now. So we will need oil and gas till all of us can make all those changes.

    At this point, there are very few people who do not realize that alturnative energy sources wouldn’t do us all good. It’s just that we can’t do it as fast as many advocates would like. None of us want to be dependant on our enemies for the oil and gas we still need, since we will still need it till we all can eplace all of our vehicles. So Republicans have been calling for more drilling in the US so that our lack of oil can’t be used against us. There are many countries who would do such a thing. We’d all love to snap our figures to make the change happen overnight….but the changes are a budgetary item that needs to be gradually dealt with or people will go bust!

    So be patient. The high gas prices and dual-party participation has worked to turn the tide toward alturnate energy sources. But the transition must be worked into the family budgets of all Americans, the federal,state and local government budgets, the business’ budgets…etc. Many people are facing forclosures right now, there has been a slump in the business economy… people and businesses are hurting. Be patient! Or people will turn you off as their eyes roll back in their heads thinking you’re some kind of spend-thrifts who don’t know what a budget is.

  • Sarah-

    There is a difference between Republicans getting the message (or saying they get it) and actually doing something about it.

    John McCain has recorded an absent vote 8 times this year alone on extending the renewable energy tax credits.

    People are not buying into the rhetorical position he has taken by saying he supports renewable energy yet doing nothing to promote it. This is a fooolish tack on the part of the McCain strategists that simply does not fly.

    I agree with you that we cannot conduct a complete shift to a clean energy economy overnight. Incrementalism – love it or hate it – has become THE way in American government. But even incrementalism requires some movement forward. McCain's actions as a Senator and his rhetoric over the last year and a half do not suggest any such movement. If he cared and or believed in RE so much, one would think he'd show up to vote on it at least once.

  • Yeah–I have the same issue you do. No reasonable explanation for the Obama part (conclusions drawn without providing logical reasons why) and then a "John McCain will be better" ending. It's frustrating that people buy into this!!!! And anybody can trump with the "green" card…..

  • Michael- thanks for jumping-in on this, even if it's a little off-topic.

    Believe it or not, I'm somewhat agnostic about ANWR drilling. I lean towards opposing it on most days of the week, because I feel like more investment could be made in developing our alternatives including: a stronger public transportation infrastructure, livable cities and neighborhoods, more efficient vehicles (plug-in hybrids, electric) alternative fuels, and even good old conservation.

    Sure we are dependent on oil now, and until we develop ways to move away from petroleum, we will continue to be. But why wait? Doesn't opening up ANWR just prolong that transition?

    Gas prices are hurting Americans because the economy has tanked, the dollar has dropped to historical lows, and real wages have have been stagnant for far too long. I plan on expanding on this theme in a post or two here at Red, Green, and Blue as soon as time permits.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  • Mr. Hurst… this is not and will not be a flame by any means… but you should take an honest and better look at the Arctic drilling. Find comparable drilling projects and look at how long it takes to bring such a project to production levels. Also it is important to look at production quantity and how those resources can be refined for use. You will come out with a turning impression that shows that we need to move away from such thoughts when the end result is negligible.

  • Beth-

    Thanks for your comments – I think. In you're wide-ranging rant above, you still don't address the logical gaps that I put into question. I want someone to elaborate on this allegation made in the ad:

    higher taxes = more government spending = fewer jobs

    And I also would like someone to explain to me how McCain can claim he supports renewable energy. What has he done, and what is in his current platform to expand renewables that enables his campaign to make that advertisement with a straight face?

    Finally, I suggest the next time you kick off your comment by touting education you:

    A) Make use of the spacebar.

    B) Avoid sentences like: "You don't get nothing for free." Because when you think about it, you always get nothing for free. In fact, I think it's actually pretty standard.

  • I see what he means clearly. I guess you have to be a little educated to understand. Obama IS higher taxes,how do you think he's going to even start to pay for his Marxist fairytale America. We can barely afford gas right now,hence the drilling in ANWR is sorely needed.We need to break the Mid-Eastern stranglehold on us. The reason they want us out of Iraq so badly is because Iran plans to move in,take over the Strait of Hormuz, & cut off all oil to the west.They plan to take Israel out,& I'm sure if they are still enriching uranium,they will one day soon have a big surprise for the U.S. We never should have invaded Iraq, but now we have to deal with it.And we better take out Irans nuclear sites very soon. I hope it's done before Bush leaves office.The Republicans have been the only group to hold this country together.The Dumbmocrats have never done anything constructive.They are wusses.Obama is a walking, talking B.S. DREAM!!You have to work. You don't get nothing for free.Pretty soon we will be living the Gulag life,if we elect more dumbocrats!

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