Pressing for Landslide: Electric Rail as a Spoil of Victory

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

You have to be hiding under a rock to be unaware that at this point in the race, Senator Obama is leading.

What I cannot for the life of me understand, though, is complacency as a result of seeing, say, that FiveThirtyEight.com has a projection of a 94.9% chance for Obama versus 5.1% chance for McCain. Because the same site says that there’s less than a 50% chance of a Landslide win by Obama.

We gotta think about victory like Republicans (even as we refrain from acting like Republicans in pursuit of victory). After bare victory, with the substantial public good that John McCain is not President and had not right to come near to the “Nuclear Football”, comes a strong enough victory to be seen as claiming a mandate, and after that comes a landslide, driving the Republicans into a likely circular firing squad.

Consider the possible fruits of victory. Then go out there and fight for the landslide that we need.

Rail Electrification Is National Security

We import a majority of our oil. With or without “drill baby drill”, with or without a nuke in every backyard, we have an oil-fired transport system.

But we can defend ourselves, by double-tracking and electrifying our Strategic Rail Network … as described in Multiple Birds – One Silver BB: A synergistic set of solutions to multiple issues focused on Electrified Railroads (TOD version).

To electrify roughly 36,000 miles of the Strategic Rail Corridor Network, if treated as a project of Highest Commercial Urgency, and double track it to take maximum advantage of the new infrastructure, would take about 6 years, and cost about $250b. In a high-price oil environment, that could take about 66% of current truck freight. For another $200b, we could upgrade enough of that to semi-High-Speed Rail (roughly 110mph container freight) to shift 85%+ of current truck freight to rail. For another $15b, put an HVDC trunk electric grid to connect renewable sustainable resource areas to consuming areas.

All up, $465b, $78b/year.

Oh Noes! That’s Expensive

Now, the proposal by Alan Drake, written before the Panic of 2008 hit, focused on all sorts of tricks and gimmicks to get the “incentives” in place to push rail operators into doing it. And we would be in that kind of scenario with a narrow victory later this fortnight … looking for gimmicks and tricks and leverage from maybe $1b annual subsidy.

Now, think about a landslide. And put yourself in the shoes of the following Republican Senators with terms coming to an end in 2010:

  • Mel Martinez of Florida
  • Johnny Isakson of Georgia
  • Chuck Grassley of Iowa
  • Jim Bunning of Kentucky
  • Kit Bond of Missouri
  • Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
  • Richard Burr of North Carolina
  • George Voinovich of Ohio
  • Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania

Suppose that the Democrats have around 56-58 Senators. How hard would it be for some Senator facing election in 2010 to oppose a program to bring jobs in their home state, and guarantee that the US Armed Forces can mobilize even in the event of a major disaster in oil supply?

OK, suppose that the double tracking is done by the railway to qualify for a public authority to build the electrical infrastructure … operated on a publicly financed, self-funding basis, leaving maybe $60b/year borrowing for six years.

$60b a year borrowing authority, for a permanent improvement in our transport system, National Security, thumbing our noses at OPEC, a massive step toward energy independence, and jobs, jobs, jobs.

Against someone who, just say, carried your state. And who claims that this is part of his electoral mandate that received landslide support. Who notes that if there is a filibuster, he might just have a speech scheduled in a main population center in your state on how important this is for National Defense and Energy Independence and Bequeathing a Living Planet to Our Lovely Grandchildren, and Etcetera.

And Jobs Jobs Jobs for your home state.

And a mailing list to an energized Democratic base on who just might all give $20 each to a challenger on his say so.

Do you really want to pick that particular issue for your big filibuster fight? Hmmm … maybe not.

Give Obama a Big Ol’ Club

Every state counts. Its not just 270 and a sigh of relief … every single electoral vote counts. The one or two Electoral Votes that are long shot pick-ups chances for Obama in Nebraska count. North Dakota counts. Here in Ohio would be great, and I’ll be working to get out the vote to increase the pro-Energy Independence Democratic caucus in the Ohio House delegation … but after 270 is 300, and after 300 is 330, and after 330 is 370.

Our country has thrown away eight years of opportunity to work for the future … and for many of the most important tasks ahead, its still an uphill fight.

So there is no such thing as “enough” in 2008. Fight to get it all.

Every state won is another nail hammered into a big ol’ filibuster smashing bill club. There is no such thing as a victory too big … every state counts.

4 comments

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    • BruceMcF on October 27, 2008 at 12:38 am
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    … also posted on Progressive Blue

    • RiaD on October 27, 2008 at 3:56 am
  1. every state but the popular vote totals nationally too. I live in OR and want him to win big here. I want it for the mandate and it will insure that the cheating at the polls does not cost us another election. A landslide would also shut up the stupid pundits and there nasty assessments of what an American is. Nah they will still be clueless idiots with faulty demographics backed by nonsensical myths they make up.  

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