As the boss and Larry Kudlow remind us, Maverick’s “third way” battle plan towards a greener planet sounds suspiciously like the Democrats’ own, which may be due to the fact that he’s never had a consistent comprehensive approach to environmentalism — a worrisome sign given that he’d be dealing as president with a deep blue Congress. How likely is it that he’d veto an emissions bill heavy on regulation and light on the sort of free-market solutions he claims to be such a fan of?

A more pressing question, per Karl and DrewM: Why on earth is he campaigning on this issue in the first place? His ad budget’s going to be tighter than Obama’s, needless to say, and this isn’t something voters care enough about vis-a-vis the economy and Iraq to warrant the expense. If anything, it’s going to lose him votes by alienating the base. Karl speculates that it’s his way of posturing as a Teddy Roosevelt for our time, an oddly self-indulgent thing to do given the lack of any obvious benefit to it, but I wonder if it isn’t just a cheap and easy means of distinguishing himself from Bush. Not that Dubya, who’s come to Jesus on climate change in the last few years himself, is much different in practical terms, but he’s considered sufficiently retrograde on this subject in the public imagination that McCain can use it as a point of contrast between them when the Dems’ “four more years” attacks start in earnest. He cares about the polar bears, man. He’s different. And at this point, as Bill Murray said in “Groundhog Day,” anything different is good.