Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wasn't this the plot of Naked Gun 2 1/2?

Yesterday, John McCain and I were within a few miles of each other, as he came to Springfield to a 350-seat-strong throng of supporters and protesters and whatnot. It didn't quite bring the chill that Dick Cheney would when he would speak at the City Club five blocks from my house in Louisiana, but the air was a little cooler yesterday. Made for a nice, brisk walk with the iPod.

Speech-wise, McCain fared much better than he did back in Kenner on Barack Obama's big night. Not that that's saying much - or anything at all, really - but McCain seemed more at ease among friends in a county likely to go for him in November. If nothing else, he at least figured out that an American flag makes a much more flattering background than radioactive green.

As for the substance of McCain's speech, well, see the title of this post. In a nutshell, he made a very Obama-esque call for a clean, independent energy policy - naturally, by upping our domestic production of "clean coal" and going nuts with nuclear power plants. It's refreshing to hear a Republican presidential candidate pronounce "nuclear" with the correct vowels for once; however, McCain's emphasis on fossil fuels and potential Chernobyl franchises shows a certain disregard for the realities of renewable resources and environmental impact. And how convenient is it that his energy plan would be a huge boon for power companies? After all, Big Oil and Big Nuke aren't exactly interested in considering thinking about the possibility that the sun and wind could help in any capacity. Nah, solar energy was Jimmy Carter's pipe dream, but he had a hostage crisis, so obviously he was wrong about saving the planet.

All lobbying aside, McCain's energy policy ignores a basic geologic consensus: that drilling every inch of North American soil would still not nearly equate to the vast petroleum resources in the Middle East. And even if it did, such a policy does nothing to address alarming environmental concerns and essentially punts the problem to future generations, for whom it may be too late to make a smooth transition.

As for building more nuclear power plants, I'm reminded of the current prescription for crime: build more prisons. It might help in the short run, but really it only shows how widespread our problems are and how reluctant we are to face them with innovative solutions. Meanwhile, the danger increases because of the spread of these toxic, concentrated environments.

McCain deserves credit for being consistent in his approach to issues. Unfortunately, that approach is consistently from the 1970s. It's not the 20th century anymore, Gray Fox. As the Clintons reminded us (on purpose in 1992 and accidentally in 2008), yesterday's gone. Don't stop thinking about tomorrow.

1 comment:

pudding-monkey said...

So wait, protesters were actually ALLOWED to show their faces? Maybe they're only kicked out if the speaker is already the president.

There have been T.V. ads up here extolling the virtues of nuclear power and how "clean" it is. I just don't know who they're trying to fool (other than themselves). Nuclear power creates nuclear waste, and that stuff's gotta go somewhere.