Mitt Romney is certainly no stranger to the art of the flip-flop, so perhaps it should be no great surprise that before he pandered to the Republican vote by suggesting that the government’s response to high gas prices should be to “[increase] drilling in the Gulf, open up drilling in ANWR. Open up drilling in the outer continental shelf, drill in North Dakota, drill in Oklahoma and Texas,” he thought we should instead deal with high foreign gas prices by making more fuel-efficient vehicles and tapping into alternative energy sources, including solar and wind power.
Audio has surfaced from a town hall meeting in 2007 which adds to a mounting quantity of embarrassing evidence that Romney might not be as big a fan of big oil as he likes to claim. In the scratchy recording posted to Buzzfeed, Romney states “I’m hopeful that with $3 gasoline being charged by Hugo Chavez and Ahmadinejad and Putin and others that you’re going to see Americans slowly but surely move to vehicles that are more fuel-efficient.” Romney, who recently described the Chevy Volt as an “idea whose time has not yet come,” thought only five years ago that “I sure hope that you’re going to see more and more hybrids and better fuel economy. It’s a must. I’d love to see us really get to 50 miles per gallon,” and even that “plug-in cars may be a way of reducing our emissions.”
And it gets better. The candidate who now believes that we can stimulate the economy and the job market with increased domestic energy production thought that the U.S. could benefit from a “joint public-private partnership to invest in new technologies related to fuel efficiency as well as new sources of energy.” And before he wanted to drill into large chunks of the USA he was open to utilizing “all of the renewable sources; ethanol and biodiesel… wind power, solar power, we have a lot of resources we can tap into.”
This audio is certainly not the first evidence of Romney’s inconsistency on emissions, automobiles and energy sources. His record as Governor of Massachusetts included the introduction in 2004 of a sweeping “Climate Protection Plan which included, among many other things, calls for more car-pooling, public transit and tax breaks for motorists who bought hybrid vehicles,” according to The National Review, who also found that in 2006, Romney maintained “I don’t think that now is the time, and I’m not sure there will be the right time, for us to encourage the use of more gasoline.”
So to take stock, Republican Candidates are bashing Obama for impeding Domestic Oil Production at a time when he has announced that he will fast track the Southern Section of the Keystone XL and rates of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico are at higher levels than at the time of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Meanwhile Romney, as a frontrunner, joins the chorus to call for more drilling as he stands in front of a seemingly impressive record of — and certainly vocal support for — clean energy measures. And while flip-flopping inconsistencies may be standard practice at this point in Romney’s campaign, it’s a dire reinforcement of current Republican ideals – apparently, for a candidate to be viable, they cannot be seen to support responsible alternative energy measures.