When Not Drooling Wins and the Environment Loses

11/03/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Jeff Schweitzer Scientist and former White House Senior Policy Analyst; Ph.D. in neurophysiology

So many outrages, so little space.

Watching the debate tonight confirmed that not all of us live in the same dimension of space. Pat Buchanan said Sarah Palin was "spectacular" in her debate with Joe Biden, and that conclusion could only be possible through a wormhole of insanity.

The next generation of Americans, if we are to survive as a superpower, will witness the transformation of our economy from fossil fuel dependency to hydrogen power. But Palin said the solution is not renewable energies, but to "drill baby drill" because of the "small footprint" of new oil rigs and new safety features designed to minimize spills. Just as she is an expert in foreign policy because Russia is close by, she is now a marine engineer because she once saw an oil rig. She probably never saw the Exxon Valdez.

She again agitated to drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. The most optimistic estimates put peak production at 780,000 barrels per day from ANWR; the United States consumes 21 million barrels per day. So even at maximum output, ANWR would supply less than 4 percent of our daily consumption. And that peak would quickly fall to under 700,000 barrels per day. For that she wants to destroy millions of unspoiled acres. Drilling in ANWR solves no problems, but creates an ecological nightmare for nothing but a small short-term gain. We enter that alternative universe again when Palin suggests that such drilling will bring down the price of gasoline.

Sarah Palin's nomination is an affront to reason. Her nomination is an insult to this great country. But not just citizens of the United States are affected. The global environment will suffer as she argues that climate change is not the result of human activity, but only natural background variation. She is now a climatologist. She suddenly knows more than 2500 scientists from 166 countries. Climatology is another expertise we can add to marine engineer and foreign policy specialist. As Senator Biden said, we can't develop a solution to a problem if we ignore the cause.

String Theory holds that the universe actually is comprised of multiple dimensions, as many as 26. Palin and her supporters occupy something beyond our familiar three, plus time. In the universe of normal dimensions, facts matter. In dimension 24, fantasy substitutes for reality, a 35-year Washington insider is a "maverick" and being a mother is adequate qualification for the presidency of our nation. Unless of course your name is Hillary Clinton, who is certainly a mom. Ask Chelsea. In dimension 24, motherhood is enough, but only if it is not.

In dimension 24, an uncut, uncensored interview with Katie Couric, who offered nothing but softball questions, somehow interferes with Palin's ability to speak to the American people because of the filter of a biased media. The entire interview is widely available, with no editing by the media. Yet that, in this new dimension, is media bias.

On November 4, we will find out what dimension squeezes through the worm hole.