On the heels of Sen. John McCain's big speech about global warming, the Republican presidential nominee has launched his own organic clothing line.
Or, sort of.
Team McCain (also known as "the campaign" or the folks that schedule, advise, defend and, don't forget, raise money for the candidate) is selling T-shirts ($25) and polo shirts ($50) made from "biodegradable fabric." Also on the shelf: baseball caps or visors ($15) and canvas bags ($20) made from organic cotton. The money goes toward the effort to install McCain in the Oval Office, but the effort means much more than that, both in the world of spin, and to the political dialog. ...
In the parlance of a campaign, that means McCain is promoting his "long-term commitment to providing market-based solutions to climate change and highlighting ways we can all protect our environment."
Each of the new items reusable mug ($15) and notebook ($8) included feature a recycling logo.
Democrats, who have been painting McCain as someone who will "recycle" President Bush's unpopular war and economic policies, will no doubt tee up that softball and swing hard. But McCain's new green theme is designed to do exactly the opposite: Distinguish himself from Bush on a key issue that until now has received scant attention on the campaign trail: global warming.
Both Democrats, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, have outlined far-reaching, substantive policies centered on a cap-and-trade regulation for carbon dioxide that promise to transform American energy policy and reduce greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050. McCain's plan, which he has championed in the Senate for years, also employs a cap-and-trade regulation with the goal of reducing emissions 60% by 2050.
Despite the substantial policies the candidates have outlined, the issue hasn't been high on the list of concerns for voters. Pundits and TV anchors don't talk about it. It doesn't come up much in debates. McCain's focus on the issue, seeing as how global warming had become largely a Democratic issue in the face of Bush Administration policies seen as too weak, could bring enough attention to change the dynamics of the campaign. It could bring American's up to speed on the complex details of the issue, and the differences between the candidates' approaches.
Global warming has huge implications not only for the environment and the economy, but for the nation's health and security.
And, not for nothing, it means the man with the biggest right-wing bully pulpit this season is talking about the need to do something about it.
"Our campaign believes we can each do our part to protect the environment," McCain told supporters in an e-mail. "You can take action today by visiting the eco-friendly section of our store."
If protecting the environment is your chief aim, of course, there are other charitable donations you might consider.
An organic visor doesn't even hint at that complexity of the issue, but having candidates from both major parties focusing on promoting individual actions, as well as sweeping governmental policies, to solve the global warming problem, raises the level of debate after eight years during which Bush kept the bar extraordinarily low. That might not convince everyone to pull on a Team McCain polo, but it is a welcome difference from the wool Bush tried to pull over our eyes.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.