ROUTE 101, N.H., 8:32 a.m. — In the last season of The West Wing, Republican presidential candidate Arnold Vinick saw his campaign crash and burn after a nuclear power plant he pushed to build in his home state came close to a meltdown. His opponent, Democratic Congressman Matthew Santos, soared in the polls as Vinick was assailed for his support of dangerous, scary nuclear power.
Apparently some clever real-life politico thought that a pretty nifty idea. I caught an ad on the radio this morning from a 527 group that urged voters to spurn any presidential candidate who supports nuclear power.
You see, there’s a big nuclear power plant in Seabrook, N.H. — my hotel lists it as the No. 2 top attraction in the town — and there’s apparently been some talk about adding a second reactor to that plant. The advertisement, with fear-inducing music, warned voters that nuclear power plants will be attacked by terrorists, melt down, etc. and kill you and your children.
I don’t know the candidates’ positions on nuclear power, and I don’t care enough to look them up. But, in The West Wing, at least, Representative Santos won the election.
— Thomas Kaplan