Monday, November 07, 2005

santos? vinick? big oil!

NBC invited us to vote for the winner of the live “debate” that was last night’s West Wing episode. In my opinion, the winner was neither Santos nor Vinick, but Big Oil.

Alan Alda’s character, Senator Vinick, for whom we are expected to have some respect and appreciation, said he did not believe in global climate change; that he’d open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling because no tourists visit there anyway; and likened a war for oil to (an equally implausible, in his view) war for sugar.

For the record, global climate change is now an accepted fact; our most important natural resources are not defined by the money (or photos) they generate; and the current war in Iraq has killed over 12,000 human beings because of the petroleum underneath that abused nation’s soil.

I’ve heard it said that the makers of The West Wing set out to depict the best possible Liberal administration in Jed Bartlett’s White House, and now they are also depicting a dream Conservative candidate in Arnie Vinick. Well, any dream candidate ought to recognize scientific facts.

For a show that many liberals love, to present Vinick’s arguments without any real challenge is indefensible. Maybe they’re hoping that the viewing populace will get the irony behind a fictional candidate comparing a “war for oil” to a “war for sugar” while we in the real world are enmeshed in a real war for oil, but that isn’t very satisfying. And it doesn’t address the other two concerns. If there were as good a candidate as Jimmy Smits’ character, Matt Santos, he would have a better retort against drilling ANWR, and he would certainly have the global warming statistics as readily available as the education and health statistics he presented.

For example, here is what a real environmental candidate says about global climate change.


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