Nuclear safety is for wusses

NUCLEAR SAFETY IS FOR WUSSES…. For months, John McCain has blasted Barack Obama for his reluctance to support expanded nuclear power plants. Obama has pushed back, noting that he supports nuclear as part of a comprehensive energy strategy, but before an expansion, he wants to resolve lingering questions about the security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation.

Campaigning in Iowa yesterday, McCain responded with the kind of intellectual rigor and seriousness of thought we’ve come to expect of the Republican nominee.

“You know, the other night in the debate with Senator Obama, I said his eloquence is admirable, but pay attention to his words,” McCain said. “We talk about offshore drilling and he said he would quote, consider, offshore drilling. We talked about nuclear power, well it has to be safe, environment, blah, blah, blah.”

Now, the Republican activists on hand for the speech found “blah, blah, blah” to be absolutely hilarious. I haven’t the foggiest idea why.

But it does raise a question about McCain’s approach to the issue. Obama has clear concerns about safeguards for nuclear power; McCain believes these safeguards are not only irrelevant, but worthy of mockery.

I’m curious: which concerns, specifically, does McCain dismiss as trivia? The security of spent fuel, storing nuclear waste, or nuclear proliferation?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.