Exactly how bad has it gotten for the Republican Party? Well, 100 days into the Obama regime, the GOP has accomplished the ultimate act of surrender: Not only does the latest GOP response to the president implicitly suggest a belief in global warming, it also turns to France for policy inspiration!
Yes, France -- the same European nation that so infuriated Republicans during the early days of the Iraq War that Congress changed the name of the fried potatoes served in the Capitol cafeteria to Freedom fries. Yes, France -- the nation that is inevitably the punchline for any number of conservative-themed jokes. National Review writer Jonah Goldberg infamously popularized the phrase, "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" for the French.
But now, out of desperation, GOP legislators are urging that the US adopt a certain policy because, well, you know -- the French do it.
And the policy in question? Go nuclear -- go green!
Yep, it's true. There was Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee on Saturday advocating for the expansion of nuclear power plants.
"Now the debate in Congress is shifting to the size of your electric and gasoline bills and to climate change. So guess who has one of the lowest electric rates in Western Europe and the second lowest carbon emissions in the entire European Union.
"It’s France again.
"And what’s more, they’re doing it with a technology we invented and have been reluctant to use: nuclear power.
"Thirty years ago, the contrary French became reliant on nuclear power when others wouldn’t. Today, nuclear plants provide 80 percent of their electricity. They even sell electricity to Germany, whose politicians built windmills and solar panels and promised not to build nuclear plants."
So many ironies abound. The very energy source that is seen as a dangerous option if those darn Iranians continue trying to develop it, is seen as an option that the U.S. should pursue because it's such a clean energy -- and, look at all those low carbon emissions coming out of France!
In Alexander's defense, he's not a complete hypocrite: He does cop to Americans (not "Republicans") having a "love-hate relationship with the French."
But, the real example of the GOP surrender (no monkey seen) is not merely the boosting of the nuclear plant option. It's also the belief in the need for "low carbon emissions" and "renewable energy." That's usually the language of those on the left -- like Al Gore -- warning about the evils of global warming.
The Republicans going full-on green and lauding the French?! What's next -- increasing money for the UN?
Well, maybe not.
But this is progress of a sort.
Heck, the fact that the GOP happens to be right on the merits of nuclear power may actually get the some points with the public.
Robert A. George is a New York writer. He blogs at Ragged Thots.