Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 17, 2010

GEORGIA SENATORS FORGET THE PRESIDENT'S NAME.... Reasonable people can disagree on whether to expand nuclear power in the United States. The Monthly has been more than a little skeptical about the idea, but support for and opposition to the idea do not necessarily fall along clear ideological or partisan lines.

President Obama, for example, has long expressed a willingness to consider domestic nuclear expansion, and yesterday took a big step in that direction.

President Obama seized a key Republican energy initiative as his own Tuesday, promising $8.33 billion in federal loan guarantees for a pair of Georgia reactors that he said would give new life to the U.S. nuclear power industry and create a surge of high-skill jobs.

By helping to finance the construction of the reactors -- the first new U.S. nuclear power units in more than 30 years -- Obama is hoping to jump-start his efforts to pass comprehensive climate-change legislation, which has stalled in Congress in the face of GOP opposition.

I'm happy to let energy policy experts weigh the merits of the loan guarantees. What I found interesting, though, was the reaction from Georgia's right-wing Republican senators, who are thrilled to see their state benefit -- the Obama administration's proposal is likely help create thousands of jobs in Georgia -- but can't quite bring themselves to even use the president's name.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jay Bookman noted yesterday, for example, that Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) issued a seven-paragraph, 392-word joint statement, lauding the new nuclear initiative. Number of times Isakson and Chambliss used the words "president," "Obama," and/or "White House"? Zero. Even though the senators were delighted to hear the president's announcement, as Bookman concluded, the two "just couldn't bring themselves" to agree with Obama by name.

The president suggested yesterday that an initiative like this one could help bolster bipartisanship, with a Democratic administration finding common ground with GOP policymakers. But the fact that Republican senators don't even want to mention the president, even when they're thrilled with one of his decisions, only reinforces the fact that Republicans just aren't interested.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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I've only had one cup of coffee, but please tell me that this post was penned with not a little irony. You are rubbing their nose in something of which Chambliss and Isaacson are very proud. They will never mention that "boy" in the White House.

Posted by: scott F. on February 17, 2010 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

The president suggested yesterday that an initiative like this one could help bolster bipartisanship, with a Democratic administration finding common ground with GOP policymakers.

Give it up. Lucy is never going to let Charlie Brown kick that football.

Maybe if the Democrats can evolve enough to develop courage and convictions, then after a few election cycles they'll have an opposition party that's SANE, and ready to be bipartisan.


Posted by: SteveT on February 17, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans are only interested in one thing: themselves. Acknowledging the very existence of Obama is detrimental to their success in remaining/attaining power.

Question: IF nuclear power is safe, and a profitable source of revenue for power companies, WHY do they need federal loan guarantees?

Posted by: DAY on February 17, 2010 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Now that the knuckle-dragging opposition party is thrilled and on record, move this and similar projects to a state represented by Obama supporters and whose educational standards qualify for these high-skilled jobs. Message: Listen to what your mama taught you; say thank you to the nice man.

Posted by: Chopin on February 17, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Well, you know we are factually challenged down here.

Charles
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted by: Charles on February 17, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

In an alternate reality someone--one for Democrats, I mean, not Republicans, who already live in one--Obama and the Democrats are on the offensive, taking it to the Republicans, not giving an inch, and loudly and repeatedly calling them out on their many hypocrisies. I wished we lived in that reality.

Posted by: terraformer on February 17, 2010 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

It's one of those "like-if-we-like-ignore-him-long-enough-he'll-like-go-away" moments.

Paging Dr. Darwin. Dr. Darwin? Your missing evolutionary links are running amok in the hallways again....

Posted by: S. Waybright on February 17, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

"only reinforces the fact that Republicans just aren't interested."

Is that all it does?

These stories about the anti-American, hateful, lying, ignorant, racist bug filth in the Republican Party are increasingly like finding out Abraham Lincoln felt a little sad and depressed about the Civil War so he shrugged his shoulders, had a ham sandwich, and let the South know that, really, a little attitude change on their part would lead to sweetness and light.

Something more along the lines of Quentin Tarnentino's "Inglorious Bastards" would be better, more just reading wherein the enemies are awoken in their beds at night by a bayonet plunging through their fascist windpipes.

Scalping would be nice.

Carry on.

Posted by: John Thullen on February 17, 2010 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK
...the enemies are awoken in their beds at night by a bayonet plunging through their fascist windpipes.

You have lost perspective in a major way. Get help.

Posted by: Rathskeller on February 17, 2010 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe it was cold, and Isakson and Chambliss were wearing gloves, so they couldn't read his name on their palms.

Posted by: eeyore on February 17, 2010 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

"Perspective" is a Luntzian concept.

Posted by: John Thullen on February 17, 2010 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Lots of people in Georgia never wanted these nuclear power plants. Fact is, the Southern Company did. The equipment manufacturers and construction companies did. They think it's 1996 and the housing boom is just over the horizon down here and they're going to need all this power to light all those as of yet unbuilt and unsold homes. Factually challenged, like Charles in Atlanta said.

A statewide energy conservation push would save many more megawatts than these plants can ever produce.

Blame me, I voted for Obama.

Posted by: anomaly on February 17, 2010 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

You have lost perspective in a major way. Get help.

You may want to revisit that little piece of advice in 2013 when President Palin swears in and our four year long nightmare of national recovery finally comes to an end.

Posted by: oh well on February 17, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

I'm having my first serious doubts about this administration.

With a $8.3 billion "loan guarantee" you could purchase 2,380 installed commercial wind turbines at a cost of $3,500 p/KW. They're completely clean with low operating costs. Compare that to nuclear power with $2,000 p/KW installed and extremely high waste, operation, and security costs. And the $2,000 figure is generous as it's an industry figure. Most independents peg the installed costs at between $3,600 - $8,000 p/KW for new nuclear plants.

But let's reward GOP assholes with lucrative state loans and recommit ourselves to "bipartisanship".

Posted by: oh well on February 17, 2010 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

It's so petty and childish. It looks like playground politics.

Posted by: g on February 17, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK
You may want to revisit that little piece of advice in 2013 when President Palin swears in and our four year long nightmare of national recovery finally comes to an end.

That's silly, and no excuse for detailed, murderous fantasies. Palin will continue to appeal to her fraction of the U.S., and will continue to torment us with her continued presence; but she will never be elected again to any office. Politicians don't recover from negative numbers like the ones she has.

I wouldn't mind if Obama was a bit more aggressive, but he is ultimately playing the long game. He is being reasonable, reaching out his hands again and again, and that is what appeals to the apolitical middle.

And a lot of what Obama has to do is just wait and let the voters change with time. Look at the age demographics on the Daily Kos poll that targeted Republicans. The GOP has lost a generation of voters, and it is likely that they will never get them back. There is no way that they can combine their xenophobic, anti-immigration voters with all the Hispanics they'd like to have vote for them.

The anti-Obama tactics are fueled with this knowledge. Literally their only hope is to paint the president as a failed radical ASAP. That's why they're so intransigent, that's why their propaganda has been amped to the max. They're desperate.

Posted by: Rathskeller on February 17, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

You mean that the Southern Company wouldn't have considered relocating those projects to a state with more Democratic representation, say Missouri or Arkansas or somewhere else?

It worries me that the Obama administration is still playing softball. After all, as we heard so often during the campaign, Obama is a hard-knuckled product of the Chicago political machine (along with being a messianic prophet and a pliable protege of obscure left-fringe thinkers, making his plate very full). But if this is "hard-knuckled politics", Chicago must be a pretty warm and fuzzy place. Would Richard Daley Sr. have located a valuable city-funded plant in the district of a dissident councilman?

Posted by: PQuincy on February 17, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

It's OK, President Obama has the opportunity to completely co-opt and take credit for this. As often as scheduling allows, he can make stopovers in the heart of Dixie and check up on the progress; visit with the heads of the D. of Energy, and the EPA. Chambliss and Isakson can watch from their hidey holes where they won't be accidentally photographed with the guy who's more and more saving everybody's ass singlehandedly.

Posted by: bcinaz on February 17, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

It's still a bad idea to use ANY nuclear power until it is figured out what to do with the radioactive waste. Sorry ... really bad idea, regardless of press, Georgia and politics....

Posted by: BigRenman on February 17, 2010 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

In the 2008 campaign, it was McCain and Palin who put forward an "energy plan" based on building new nuclear power plants, investing in the "clean coal" hoax, and expanding offshore oil drilling.

Now that's what Obama is pushing -- albeit with more hypocritical lip service to wind and solar than McCain and Palin would have given.

I didn't vote for Obama to get the McCain-Palin energy plan.

And I will not support a president or a party that squanders precious public resources on nuclear power and fossil fuels, as Obama is doing.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 17, 2010 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

If Harry Ried is defeated, maybe we can go back to the idea of shipping the radioactive waste to Nevada.

Not really fair to compare Nukes to Wind Mills on a kw to kw basis. Nukes have a lot higher duty cycle than windmills. Wind power will always require a large degree of backup until we invent an efficient was to store energy.

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on February 17, 2010 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

@ Rathskeller
Chill, my friend.
Our friend Thullen doesn't need any defending from me, but to those of us who know and love him (principally as a regular commenter at Obsidian Wings) he is the bloggy version of a combination of Jonathan Swift and Lenny Bruce. Although I have to admit this wasn't one of his best efforts; usually when John puts fingers to keyboard he steals the thread outright.

Posted by: efgoldman on February 17, 2010 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

There would be hell to pay for these two from the Republican base if they said nice things about the President. Just one more bit of evidence that it's the mob controlling the GOP not its elected officials. These people are prisoners of the angry mob they created and now they can't get free of it even if they wanted to.

Posted by: Ted Frier on February 17, 2010 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

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