Monday, October 27, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah

John McCain has begun to repeat the nuclear power song and dance he gave during the last debate. The song goes like this:
" We talked about nuclear power. Well, it has to be safe, environment, blah blah blah."
The word environment is a Pavlovian stimulus to Republicans and of course McCain is preaching only to the dogs at this point. "Enviros" are a favorite bogeyman because of course, "gimmie-gimmie, I want it for free" Republicans don't want to talk about the dangers inherent in nuclear power plants at all. They don't want to talk about the huge amount of time they take to build and to make them as safe as they are. When dogs, children and Republicans want something, they want it now, now, now and lying politicians like John McCain are always there to dangle it in from of them.

So what is McCain saying; the hell with safety? I want cheap energy no matter what the risk? I don't give a damn if New York or Chicago become the next Chernobyl? Yes, he is. That's just what he's saying and he's saying it in full knowledge that having it in the near future is out of the question.
"we've been sailing Navy ships around the world for 50 years with nuclear power plants on them."
Aye, aye Captain, but they're small, extraordinarily expensive and aren't spending most of their time parked in Phoenix or Denver or Little Rock. Unlike the expense of building and maintaining a Nimitz class carrier, the public sees the cost of electricity every month. New power plants are going to appear on your electric bill long before one Watt gets generated. To replace the oil we import today, we will need far more plants costing far more billions than High Roller John is willing to discuss.

Indeed there may have been accidents on Navy ships, despite what Mr. McCain says. Of course Three Mile Island comes to mind too. But hey - the hell with safety - we want nukes. We don't want to think about what to do with radioactive waste or what to do with obsolete plants after they have been shut down. Screw safety - Now, now, now!
"I have news for Senator Obama, nuclear power is safe, we ought to do it now."
So far it's been relatively safe but with nukes it's not only about odds, it's about the unbelievable consequences of an accident. A bad accident or terrorist incident can render large areas unlivable for thousands of years. That's why building them takes a lot of time and money. That's why we can't "do it now." McCain will likely be dead before nuclear power makes a dent in our importation of oil and he certainly won't have to worry about the long term consequences of his blah, blah, blah, arguments, will he?

Of course the cornerstone of this argument is essentially false. As with the offshore drilling argument and indeed most of the negative tirades we're hearing about Obama, it's based on what they say Obama said, and not necessarily what Obama actually said or meant. The arguments are so noisy just for this reason: to drown out reason, to obscure the facts. The fact is that to say we need to be careful when playing with dangerous things is not to oppose nuclear power. John is putting words in Barak's mouth only because he wants to win and doesn't care how much he lies to do it or how much his lies would cost you.


d nova said...

i think what u'r talkin bout is called a straw man:

"The straw man fallacy is when you misrepresent someone else's position so that it can be attacked more easily, knock down that misrepresented position, then conclude that the original position has been demolished. It's a fallacy because it fails to deal with the actual arguments that have been made."

Capt. Fogg said...

I've mentioned straw man arguments so often I embarrass myself, but this campaign is starting to look like a bad remake of The Wizard of Oz with extra scarecrows.

Need I compare Sarah with the Wicked Witch?