Friday, June 05, 2009

Sen. Voinovich on Getting It

Voinovich-090706-18280 0051 "Mr. President, the American people get it. The manufacturing industry gets it. Organized labor gets it. And the international community, who are committed to reducing greenhouse gasses, certainly gets it.

And what do all these parties get?

"It's time that President Obama and this Congress get it, and we get on with launching the nuclear renaissance in this country. We just can't get there from here without nuclear."

This comes from Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio), whose ringing support for nuclear energy came through clear as can be on the floor of the Senate. (Ohio has two units, at Davis-Besse and Perry.)

While he’s an all-of-the-above energy advocate, he recognizes the unique combination of properties nuclear energy brings forth.

"Don't get me wrong. I do support expanding the use of renewables like solar and wind energy. My point is that, realistically, we are not yet in a position to be able to rely upon them for base-load power generation, perhaps for the next several decades. They are too expensive and inefficient. And this is despite already receiving massive government subsidies."

And:

“{Nuclear’s] the best source that we have available to serve our energy needs while also curbing greenhouse gas emissions."

Now, Sen. Voinovich is talking about specific legislation that he feels has slighted nuclear energy issues, but that’s almost a secondary point. The primary point is that the polls no longer show nuclear energy as a fearsome beast of the imagination and can be recognized for what it is: a specific solution to specific problems facing the nation. In the words of Sen. Voinovich, he gets it.

Himself.

10 comments:

Marcel F. Williams said...

Any serious move towards reducing global warming and achieving energy independence and economic prosperity requires a dramatic increase in nuclear energy production.

Let's hope that pro-nuclear Republicans will reach out their hands to pro-nuclear Democrats in order to foster the political will to dramatically increase our nuclear capacity in the US.

Joffan said...

Mark, maybe you can surprise me with your next article and not spend all your time with politicians from the losing party.

It really doesn't matter whether they are in favor of nuclear or not. Their party has fallen far enough behind that their positive opinions are marginal at best, and counter-productive at worst.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to nuclear energy, the politicians from the "losing party" are in line with moderate Democrats and the majority of Americans.

Shifting away from the being the losing party involves aligning with mainstream U.S. beliefs. To date, President Obama has refused to use the words "nuclear energy" unless prompted by questions.

So congratulations to the Republicans for being responsive to the majority position on energy technology.

Likewise, it's too bad for the U.S. that the Democratic base includes the minority of recalcitrant anti-nuclear activists who consider opposition of modern nuclear energy to be a litmus test for base support of Democratic politicians.

Obama is clearly pragmatic about not overtly offending his anti-nuclear base (he lets Steve Chu be his pragmatic surrogate to say positive things about nuclear energy), so it's up to Republicans to do the heavy lifting needed to support real expansion of nuclear energy.

It's well know that nuclear is already over 70% of all non-fossil electricity generation, and that it provides the most practical approach to further expand non-fossil energy production.

So Republicans are on the correct track here, while Democrats are positioning themselves to appear as the obstructionist and antiquated party with respect to the largest current and future source of clean energy.

perdajz said...

Joffan,

I disagree with you here. You seem to be taken in the by all the hopium and talk of change. Obama deserves to be pilloried for his anti-nuclear stance, but I know that the fawning mainstream media will never come near doing that. Likewise, Republicans, especially McCain, deserve praise here for sticking with the empiricism and the laws of probability, rather than political expediency and the feel good but meaningless dogma that nuclear power is anathema.

You speak as though Bam won by a landslide. He did not. Roughly 50% of the country did not vote for him. Indeed, his stance on nuclear power is one main reason Obama did not get my vote.

This is a long battle, and the tide will turn at some point, especially if Bam throws billions at "renewable" energies to no avail. Nuclear power plants will be built in states with Republican governors and/or senators, or in locales that are predominantly Republican. Smart Republicans will use nuclear power to say that they are the party of science and economic progress, and the Democrats are the ones clinging to worn out ideas.

Brian Mays said...

Sorry, Joffan, you should take a lesson from history.

"Losing party" you say? Well, you could have said the same thing about the Republican party in 1993, after their incumbent candidate for president lost to a relative unknown from Arkansas who ran on a platform of "change."

Do you recall the results of the 1994 election? It wasn't pretty for the Democrats.

Energy is a huge issue today, and it appears that the Republican party is using this to their advantage by pulling a flanking maneuver. They have found an issue that they can use to bash the current administration, since Obama's pandering to the more extreme wing of his party has left him vulnerable.

As currently stated, Obama's energy plan is a recipe for disaster, the likes of which have not been seen since the Carter administration. If Obama and Chu don't get their collective act together, then the Republicans have grabbed on to an issue that will hit pay dirt in the long run, and it will be Obama's own fault.

Whatever the ultimate outcome, however, this is a newsworthy topic, and I'm glad that Mark is keeping us up to date about it.

Anonymous said...

Talk of the demise of any political party is usually greatly exaggerated. I'm old enough to remember the 1964 election, and the talk then was of the "demise" of the Republican Party after the Goldwater debacle. Four years later, Richard Nixon was in the White House. Similarly, after the Watergate fiasco, the Repubs were doomed because they could not re-elect a sitting "President" (really a placeholder) in 1976. Four years later, Ronald Reagan slaughtered an incumbent Democrat President but there was no talk in the media about the "demise" of the Democrat Party because they could not re-elect a sitting President (who wasn't a placeholder).

Fact is, the issue of energy supply pays no mind of political affiliation. We will either deal with it effectively or not, no matter who is in office. Right now, we are not dealing with it effectively, and that will cause harm in the long run.

Jason Ribeiro said...

I agree with the last Anon comment that energy like health care pays no mind to what the politics of the day are. That said, this is really a time where we need to see bipartisanship cooperation. We are in this same boat together, we had better steer it straight.

Anonymous said...

I think we can get that cooperation. Obama is not pro-nuclear in his words because he is beholden to anti-nuclear special interest groups for his base political support. But there are pro-nuclear Dems in Congress who are not. Repubs should work with them and craft legislation and, if necessary, override any executive veto.

George Voinovich is my Senator and I am certainly grateful for his help and support. But there are two problems. First, he is retiring when his term is up and the way the political winds are blowing I don't have a lot of hope that his replacement will be anywhere near as supportive. The other is that I read somewhere that Voinovich was ranked something like the 97th most influential Senator among the 100 now serving. Better than 98th, 99th, or 100th, and certainly better than being opposed, but, still, overall, not a strong position.

Joffan said...

Anon/perdajz/Brian

I don't have a problem with this article in isolation; but I have to go through a lot of highlighted Republicans in the archive articles before we get to the last time Mark featured a Democrat. My admittedly provocative characterization of the "losing party" was meant to highlight that it is foolish to ignore the (current) winners and opinion leaders. Whatever Obama's vote, current public opinion of the Republican party is indeed very low, even if reports of its demise would be wildly premature.

Anonymous said...

Joffan, yes, the polling data is bad for the Repubs at this point. That makes it imperative that they craft a record of constructive opposition, and one way to do that is to propose practical and realistic solutions to problems, and one is a secure and stable energy supply. Working with pro-nuclear Dems can achieve that. Polling data indicates public support for use of nuclear as a component of energy supply, so advocating increased use is a low-risk, high-reward political strategy.