Friday, August 8, 2008

McCain's Energy Plan

From Paul Krugman's column
So the G.O.P. has found its issue for the 2008 election. For the next three months the party plans to keep chanting: “Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now! Four legs good, two legs bad!” O.K., I added that last part.
And the debate on energy policy has helped me find the words for something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid.
...
In the case of oil, this takes the form of pretending that more drilling would produce fast relief at the gas pump. In fact, earlier this week Republicans in Congress actually claimed credit for the recent fall in oil prices: “The market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Representative John Shadegg.
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Sad to say, the current drill-and-burn campaign is getting some political traction. According to one recent poll, 69 percent of Americans now favor expanded offshore drilling — and 51 percent of them believe that removing restrictions on drilling would reduce gas prices within a year.

As Krugman points out, what is really remarkable is how shallow the discussion of energy policy has been by the Republicans and the McCain campaign.
This is not merely the silly, silly drilling dodge. There's more nonsense too McCain's plan than that.
If you recall, McCain voiced support for the creation of 45 new nuclear power plants.
Nuclear power is highly problematic, but it probably the best way to wean us off of fossil fuels. What's the problem with McCain's pitch? Nuclear power plants are built privately in the US, which is precisely why no one want to build them: to much liability. In Europe, the governments are generally responsible for building nuclear power plants, and accepts liability.
Is McCain proposing nationalization of the construction of nuclear power plants? No. His nuclear plan is therefore merely hot air.

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