Vilsack's Not All Bad

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THE PLANK FEBRUARY 22, 2007

Vilsack's Not All Bad

Like Scott Lemieux, I wonder who gave Tom Vilsack the idea that the key to electoral success lay in proposing deep cuts to Social Security. A bit of an odd campaign strategy. On the other hand, after poking around the Vilsack '08 website, trying to find something nice to say about the guy, I should mention that he does have, hands down, the most ambitious energy and climate-change plan of any candidate in the field thus far.

Not only is Vilsack proposing a 75 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gases by 2050 (which is in the ballpark of cuts recommended by both the UN and the Climate Action Partnership), but he'd require all new power plants to be carbon-free by 2020. That latter proposal is staggering--even if possible, it would be an extremely expensive thing to do, at least in the short term. That said, any president elected on this sort of platform could reasonably claim a mandate for drastic changes to U.S. energy policy. So for whatever it's worth, Vilsack's the leader on this score.

--Bradford Plumer

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