Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Clear and Present Danger

Bruce's commenting on Hillary's 3 AM red telephone campaign ad reminds me of a little nugget I've been meaning to post for some time. It's a riff on that ad in Climate Progress, a project of The Center for American Progress Action Fund, edited by Joseph Romm. Romm was acting assistant secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy during the Clinton Administration, and I think is having a much better time doing what he's doing now.

So, this version of the Three AM Phone Call, The Clear and Present Danger is Calling, begins just like the real ad, but when the forty-fourth president answers the phone and asks if the "situation" is terrorists, she/he hears this: No, it’s the climate again. Another series of tornadoes has struck Manhattan. There’s massive damage and loss of life and a complete power outage." When the president suggests calling the Cabinet together, the voice on the other end of the line answers:

That’s going to be a problem, too, Mr(s) President. The Secretary of Energy is in Atlanta trying to figure out how to get power restored in the southeast, now that there’s too little water to cool the region’s nuclear reactors. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is in Florida, working with the Governor on the malaria outbreak. It’s the latest epidemic since the disease vectors began moving in
The Secretary of Agriculture is in Africa working with the United Nations on the famine and the Secretary of Defense is overseeing the defense of our military bases. At last report, they’re still managing to hold off the climate refugees trying to overrun our bases for food and water.
The script continues in that vein, and is actually far more chilling than the original ad, in which, as Romm points out,
we never heard what the crisis was. Second, since we didn’t know the nature of the crisis, we couldn’t judge whether any of the three viable presidential candidates is qualified to respond. There’s a good chance that in the years ahead, that 3 a.m. phone call will alert the President to a national security threat unlike those of the past — a clear and present danger linked to global climate change.
And if this sounds like Chicken Little to you, do be sure to read the quotes Romm provides at the end of the "ad" text.

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posted at 12:29:00 PM by marigolds2

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