Max Schulz in the D.C. Examiner suggests that Obama has a bad read on Nevada voters’ position on Yucca Mountain.
Obama is gambling that his anti-Yucca stance will put Nevada in his column. Conventional wisdom holds that Obama has taken the safer bet. Yet it’s actually a risky strategy, based on the highly questionable assumption that Nevada voters oppose Yucca Mountain as fervently as do the state’s elected officials. The last two presidential elections suggest they don’t.
In 2000, Yucca supporter Bush took the state with more votes than opponents Gore and Ralph Nader combined. Those five electoral votes were the difference between victory and defeat.
Shortly after taking office, Bush pushed Yucca Mountain legislation through Congress, sparking fresh outrage from Nevada’s political leaders. It didn’t matter. In the 2004 presidential election, Bush again won the Silver State. Incredibly, he tallied nearly 39 percent more votes than four years before.
A big problem with Obama’s reflexive Democratic opposition to Yucca Mountain is that he proposes no viable alternatives at a time when Washington is on the hook for an answer to the nuclear waste question.
Failure to come up with a workable solution throws a wrench into plans to revive nuclear power’s fortunes just when voters are increasingly worried about climate change and over-reliance on foreign energy sources.
Without an alternative proposal, Obama’s pro-nuclear comments are merely lip service. That could have ramifications in states other than Nevada. All signs point to a public and an investment climate increasingly supportive of nuclear power.
Obama is a savvy politician who for two years has run a nearly flawless campaign for the White House. He is also known to be a pretty good poker player. But with his opposition to Yucca Mountain, as with his dissembling on offshore drilling, he looks to have played the energy card all wrong. It just might cost him a big pot on November 4.
A northern liberal equating elite opinion with public opinion? Nah . . . never happens.