Trump’s prospective new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a drastic improvement on his predecessor.
For a start, being a skeptic, Pompeo is far less likely to undermine his president’s position on energy and climate change.
You get a good idea of Pompeo the man, his style, and his principles from this 2013 C-Span interview.
Pompeo was Representative for Kansas at the time and sat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
What he was saying back then about President Obama’s disastrous climate and energy policies could have come straight out of one of Trump’s campaign trail speeches:
What it’s [Obama’s war on fossil fuels] done is to drive up the cost of energy for folks who can least afford it. And it’s going to do nothing to solve one of the most enormous problems facing our country today which is jobs. It’ll put folks out of work. It’ll drive manufacturing to other places.
He went on to accuse Obama of “unilateral economic disarmament,” saying:
The United States is going to put these burdens on our companies, our small businesses and our consumers who are trying to figure out how to heat their homes in winter and cool them in summer.
Pompeo comes across in that interview as likeable, straight-talking, and well-briefed. When asked, for example, about whether the U.S. should be taking a lead on climate action he cleverly turns the question into one about energy efficiency.
Of course, the U.S. should be trying to cut energy costs, he argues, because it makes sense for the bottom line:
Companies have a vested interest to reduce their costs by reducing their total energy consumption. Listen I ran a manufacturing company for a decade and a half before I came to Congress. We were every day trying to figure out how to run our machines fewer hours, make a part more quickly.
Not just another career politican, then, but a man with hinterland who can identify with the needs and aspirations of Middle America.
In the same interview, on climate change, he said:
There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.
He signed the No Climate Tax pledge organized by Americans for Prosperity.
In Congress he heavily opposed Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Even more promisingly and unusually, he’s an ardent opponent of bat-chomping, bird-slicing, eco-crucifixes.
Here he is in 2012, explaining why money spent on wind turbine tax credits is money wasted:
The wind PTC [Production Tax Credit] is an enormous government handout, and it is wrong to borrow money from future generations to give away corporate favors to those who promise jobs but—as we can see now in Kansas—who cannot deliver on that promise without continued reliance on other taxpayers.
Most important, the wind PTC does not work. Proof of this is that the wind PTC has been in effect for two decades and, still, wind-generated electricity is multiples more expensive than other sources of electrical power. After all this federal assistance, the profit model for these companies is to take government handouts, not to produce affordable energy.
This is your principled, regular guy who couldn’t be further removed from the sleek, smooth, plutocratic globalist and corporatist Rex Tillerson.
Tillerson, like so many Big Oil men, has bought heavily into the climate alarmist narrative. Perhaps it’s cynicism: part of the “greenwashing” strategy companies like Exxon, Shell, and BP used to try to buy off their environmentalist critics. Perhaps it’s commercial sense: multinational corporations like Exxon are much better placed to cope with expensive, intrusive environmental regulation than their smaller competitors.
Tillerson, in other words, embodies the crony capitalist mentality of the swamp Trump promised to drain. He was never a good pick—as he demonstrated by opposing Trump’s perfectly sensible plan to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.
Pompeo, we can be sure, is the right man for the job.