If John McCain's double standard on clean fuel -- opposing government support that "picks winners" among to renewable fuels, but favoring aid for clean coal -- seems familiar, that may be because it's been embraced by the current occupant of the Oval Office.

In April, President Bush announced an extremely modest proposal "to stop the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025." There is, he said, "a wrong way and a right way to approach reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

The wrong way is to jeopardize our energy and economic security by abandoning nuclear power and our nation's huge reserves of coal. The right way is to promote more emission-free nuclear power and encourage the investments necessary to produce electricity from coal without releasing carbon into the air.

On the other hand, "the incentive should be technology-neutral because the government should not be picking winners and losers in this emerging market."

As Bradford Plumer wrote that day in The Vine, the New Republic's energy and environment blog: "So the government shouldn't pick winners and losers, so long as coal and nuclear are winners. Nice."

Nice, indeed.