In Time magazine’s online edition today, Joe Klein calls for a “National Defense Nuclear Power Act.” This is a must read:
A Bipartisan Energy Solution: Nuclear Power
A few weeks ago, a group of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans descended on NASCAR’s Kansas City Sprint Cup race with a mission. They were members of Operation Free, a group that wants to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and they arrived with some pretty cool swag for the race crowd: camouflage T-shirts, key chains and drink holders, each emblazoned with a military-style crest featuring stars, wind turbines and solar panels. They also sponsored a car in the less prominent ARCA race, with wind- and solar-power decorations. “We wanted to deliver the message that we’re sending [$700 million] a day overseas for oil,” said Jonathan Murray, the group’s director and a Marine Corps veteran. “Our message wasn’t about climate change. It was about national security. It was about not being dependent on countries like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. We figured we were the most credible people to deliver that message, since we’re the ones who are sent to fight in those places — and lots of people, more than 3,000 race fans who usually don’t think about alternative energy, signed up to support us.”
There is, in Operation Free’s strategy, a lesson for the President of the United States. Barack Obama has spent the past two years doing the things he thinks are right for the country, with little regard for immediate political consequences (and even less regard for telling the public, in ways it can understand, what he has done). It’s been an eat-your-peas presidency. Most people I’ve spoken with in the middle of the country respect him for the effort — except for the irreconcilable minority who see him as the Antichrist — but they are confused and disappointed by the results.(Read about how Barack Obama became Mr. Unpopular.)
Now, 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. It is entirely possible that the Republicans will continue to do what worked for them in the recent past: just say no to any new initiatives and try to roll back some old ones like health care and financial regulatory reform. But it’s also possible that some of the smarter Republicans will understand that the public hates gridlock and screaming and is looking for purposeful cooperation. Beyond the haggles to come about tax cuts and Social Security reform (which is likely to be the headline proposal of the President’s deficit-reduction commission), there is a need to regain the public’s attention, to propose something big that more than 60 Senators can support, to unite the nation in a national crusade as John F. Kennedy once did with the moon program.(See a special on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.)
Read the rest here.
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