The conventional wisdom among corporate pundits has long been that Democrats have to move to the right in order to win. You’re likely to hear a lot of this after Tuesday, but there’s already plenty of advice being offered in advance of the Democrats’ likely midterm defeat.
Time‘s Joe Klein has his take in the new issue of the magazine (11/8/10). He writes that “with the prospect of a Congress tilted toward the right, Obama will have to figure out new ways to sell his wares, if he can sell them at all.” Klein urges Obama to think big–and to think nuclear:
If Obama wants to get a major stimulus program through the next Congress, he should propose the National Defense Nuclear Power Act. And make it big: a plan to blast past the current financing and licensing quagmires and break ground on 25 new nuclear plants between now and 2015.
Some environmentalists still see nuclear power as unclean, though their argument has been wilting over time as France and Japan, among others, have proved the safety and efficacy of such power and climate change has emerged as our most pressing environmental problem. There will be those who argue, correctly, that given the current abundance of natural gas, nuclear power is too expensive–but it won’t be in the future, and the price can be dramatically reduced if the government provides direct, no-interest construction loans rather than loan guarantees.
It’s worth recalling that Obama has already made one substantial step in the pro-nuclear direction this year, providing billions in loan guarantees fora new nuclearplant in Georgia(a move some in the media embraced).
The objection fromanti-nuclear environmentalists is not that it’s merely “unclean”–though that isa serious concern. Despite massive amounts of government assistance, the industry hasn’t convinced Wall Street investors thatnuclear power isa profitable business. Klein’s answer seems to be more corporate welfareto prop upan industry already long dependent on substantial government support.
It goes without saying that the progressive base of the Democratic party is where you’re most likely to find opposition to nuclear power–which is probably a big part of what makes calling for Obama to embrace it seem so appealing to bash-your-base pundits like Joe Klein.