It was stuff like this that inspired us to start this blog four years ago. From the All-Around Gold Medalist in Sophistry, George Will:
Barack Obama has made his economic thinking excruciatingly clear, so it also is clear that his running mate should be Rumpelstiltskin. He spun straw into gold, a skill an Obama administration will need to fulfill its fairy-tale promises.
Obama recently said that he would "require that 10 percent of our energy comes from renewable sources by the end of my first term — more than double what we have now." Note the verb "require" and the adjective "renewable."
By 2012 he would "require" the economy's huge energy sector to — here things become comic — supply half as much energy from renewable sources as already is being supplied by just one potentially renewable source. About 20 percent of America's energy comes from nuclear energy produced using fuel rods, which, when spent, can be reprocessed into fresh fuel.
Obama is (this is part of liberalism's catechism) leery of nuclear power. He also says — and might say so even if Nevada were not a swing state — that he distrusts the safety of Nevada's Yucca Mountain for storage of radioactive waste. Evidently he prefers today's situation — nuclear waste stored at 126 inherently insecure above-ground sites in 39 states, within 75 miles of where more than 161 million Americans live.
By any ordinary definition, nuclear power might be an extremely efficient resource, but, as the problem of nuclear waste makes painfully clear, it is not entirely renewable–nor is it without potential environmental cost. To claim otherwise stretches the definition of "renewable."
So much of sophistry, so it seems to me, consists in this kind of overreaching–there's nothing wrong with claiming that Obama's energy project leaves out very efficient, safe and clean energy resources (if that's the case), there's just no need to claim he's somehow involved in a laughable contradiction. Besides, the man who wrote "The Case for Bush" ought to be more circumspect when he says this:
In 1996, Bob Dole, citing the Clinton campaign's scabrous fundraising, exclaimed: "Where's the outrage?" In this year's campaign, soggy with environmental messianism, deranged self-importance and delusional economics, the question is: Where is the derisive laughter?
Oh it's there alright.