Ambinder says of John McCain's flip-flop in favor of offshore drilling:

Criticizing the policy is an appropriate way to approach it if you're an Obama supporter, but why begrudge the man for changing his mind as conditions (our general awareness of climate change, the Iraq war, gas prices, etc) have changed? Perhaps he changed his mind for the wrong reason... but that's an argument that one has to make, not just assume.



The point I would make is that McCain's new view undermines an important larger argument he's trying to make. His latest ad features the idea that he broke with the president over climate change -- i.e., he wants to do something about it. Specifically, McCain says he wants to reduce carbon emissions. But you just can't reduce carbon emissions without burning less oil by, in effect, making it more expensive. Offshore drilling is a way to get more oil in order to make oil cheaper. If McCain wants to say that high gas prices have made him abandon his previous views on climate change, fine. But what he wants to do right now is simultaneously get credit for standing up to Bush on climate, while also agreeing with Bush about the particulars.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.