SO HOW WILL AMERICAN RIGHT-WINGERS EXPLOIT THE DISASTER IN JAPAN?
You know that the American right is going to try to exploit this somehow -- American righties exploit everything they possibly can. The only question is how.
My first thought was that they might express a sudden, newfound concern for the safety of nuclear power, in light of the fact that a core meltdown is possible at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, so that they could stress the need to drill, baby, drill! But that would contradict their long-held belief, routinely addressed to dirty hippies (quite regularly a generation ago), that nuclear power is perfectly safe (and, yes, our Democratic president has always made it clear that he agrees). The wingers are certainly not going to get to the left of the mainstream press -- here's The New York Times informing us that even a core meltdown would release less radiation than was released at Chernobyl, and here's MSNBC reporting that core meltdowns don't affect people in that big a radius or with that much radiation. So I think the right is going to limit itself to playing the energy-supply-disruption card -- this on top of Libya, we'll be told, demonstrates how unconscionable it is for the Obama administration not to allow drilling in every conceivable part of America and in all of America's coastal waters. (The right just got a big assist on this from Bill Clinton, who talked at a conference yesterday of "ridiculous delays in permitting." Thanks loads, Big Dog.)
I do see the likes of Drudge and Fox Nation trying to portray the nuclear reactor situation in extremely dire terms -- but that just means that if what happens is merely awful rather than cataclysmic, nuclear power advocates can declare (after a decent interval) that "the system worked" and there's no reason to be afraid to build more nuke plants in America.
I was momentarily surprised that Fox Nation isn't pointing out who designed the Fukushima reactor -- the Times notes that it was General Electric (about 40 years ago). Fox Nation usually doesn't miss an opportunity to take a shot at GE, a holdover from the pre-Comcast days at hated rival NBC. But I think Fox is going to go light on anything that might not fit into the upcoming "system worked" narrative on nukes.
So: chaos, followed by "system worked," followed by "Obama sucks."