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Mr. Edwards and the Global Warming McMansion

Today’s hypocrisy award goes to … John Edwards for his new 28,000 square foot home (McMansion), it’s energy usage and the corresponding excessive carbon output (global warming, don’t you know). While he wants to cap the carbon output for everyone else, it’s acceptable for him because he’s purchasing “carbon offsets”. In other words, if you’re rich enough, it doesn’t matter how you live (or how much you contribute to global warming) provided you use a small part of your wealth to “offset” the damage you do to the planet.

Oh, the evils of unrestrained greed, combined with the (desired) political power to set rules while exempting yourself.

Call it “Dancing with the Stars”: Global Warming Edition. Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards showed his best dance moves trying to avoid questions about how energy efficient his 28,000-square-foot mansion really is and how much the power bill costs each month.

The March 20 edition of CNN’s “American Morning” showed Edwards hyping global warming, promoting his energy plan that mandates carbon caps and claiming that his new mega-McMansion was actually being operated in a “carbon-neutral way.” He has recently declared his campaign “carbon neutral.”

Edwards also avoided how he holds himself to one standard but wants to hold businesses to another. As anchor Miles O’Brien put it: “One of the keys to your plan is the so-called cap plan which would institute, as it suggests, caps on the amount of carbon dioxide industry can put into the environment.”

But when it comes to Edwards’ own life, he doesn’t cap his carbon efforts, preferring instead carbon offsets. “We have committed to operate this house in a carbon-neutral way, which means in addition to using energy saving devices in the house itself, to the extent that doesn’t cover it, we’re going to purchase carbon credits on the market,” said Edwards. [Read the whole article]

On Tuesday, he called again for caps (not offsets like he uses for his own house).

Labeling global warming an international emergency, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards called Tuesday for a cap on greenhouse gas pollution and stricter auto emissions standards.

Edward traveled to a biomass energy conversion center to spell out his policies for dealing with global warming, saying the nation must act urgently.

“This is not a threat about the future. This is a crisis today,” said Edwards, Democrats’ 2004 presidential runningmate.

It’s a crisis … as long as it doesn’t affect my 28,000 square foot house.

If it’s such an emergency, why doesn’t he do as he says? If it’s such a priority, shouldn’t his own newly built house be compliant to his own policies? Well, no. He wants caps for everyone else, but for his own house the rules don’t apply. We don’t know if Edwards doesn’t really belive global warming is a priority, or he should be exempted from the urgency because … well, we don’t really know why he should be exempted.

We don’t begrudge Mr. Edwards his wealth — unlike others who want to levy oppressive taxes, “windfall profits taxes” or socialist income redistribution. By all accounts Mr. Edwards obtained his wealth by honest hard work. As such, we feel he should be free to spend his wealth any (legal) way he wishes. If he wants to live in a 28,000 square foot house, fine.

The American dream says if you work hard enough you can accomplish anything. So if he’s worked hard and wants to spend the efforts of his labor on a mansion, we have no problem with it. That’s the dream of America, and why so many people want to come.

But to advocate restrictions on the nation, while knowing you won’t follow them is unethical and wrong. If Mr. Edwards really wants to be an example for this urgent national crisis, he should avoid the carbon offsets and instead insist the house he lives in meets the standards he sets forth for the nation, even if it means sacrificing and perhaps living in only 10,000 square feet (His sacrifice for living in such austere accommodations will be noted).

But as long as he proposes restrictions but includes loopholes so he won’t have to follow the rules, he’s disqualified for running the country as President. It’s not the amount of money you have (or the size of your house) that’s the problem Mr. Edwards, it’s the idea that because of it you don’t feel you have to follow the rules you desire to set forth for everyone else.

If global warming is real, and if urgent changes are required, and if it’s a crisis now, everyone must share in the sacrifice. By exempting himself he not only endangers the planet he claims he’s trying to protect, he displays his true colors — the rules don’t apply to special people. Perhaps you’re right Mr. Edwards, there are “two Americas”, the common class, and the elites (of which you’re a member), with the rules and sacrifice not applying to the elites.

The problem isn’t wealth, it’s elitism. All men may be equal, but Mr. Edwards acts as if some are more equal than others.

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