Rudy Guiliani speech is starting to lay out his vision for the presidency. It’s nuclear!

Summing up U.S. energy policy since the 1970s, he was blunt: “We haven’t done anything.” We haven’t drilled in Alaska. We haven’t built oil refineries. We haven’t ordered a nuclear power plant since 1978.

We need to start doing these things, he said, to diversify. Energy independence, he said, is simply the “wrong paradigm,” despite the idea’s popularity in quarters of both the Left and the Right. Instead, in a global economy, “We have to diversify, that’s our strength . . . You can be independent by being diversified.”

And there’s room to reach out to the Left on building more nuclear plants now. The technology has grown safer – and nuclear use could reduce emissions that lead to global warming. Giuliani cited support for the idea from the liberal New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore (though, to be fair, Moore has been something of a pariah on the enviro Left since he left that group in 1986).

He’s more right that wrong about all this. The fact is–lefties, especially should note–if you want to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, you have to either a) find oil elsewhere; b) buy it from other existing sources; c) produce more oil from known US sources; or d) use something other than oil. The left seems content to block oil exploration anywhere in the US including the otherwise useless and less than picturesque ANWR, doesn’t want us drilling offshore in California or anywhere else where we already know there’s oil to be had, and doesn’t want us using nuclear power. That leaves using some magical alternative energy source that doesn’t yet exist (or ramping up ethanol, I guess–lefties, have a problem with that too? I can’t keep all your objections to everything straight this early in the morning.) or buying oil from other than ME sources–like Venezuela and Russia. Great. Let’s prop up a whole other set of dictators with oil money.

So let’s cowboy up and build some nuke plants. I used to scuba dive right next to the Comanche Peak nuke plant in Texas. I only glowed for an hour or two; otherwise–no problem! Seriously, nuke energy is cleaner and safer and cheaper than ever.

Guiliani also laid out a solid vision for school choice, which he sees as a civil right. All to the good. I like his thinking on that issue.

He still has some New York cleaning up to do on immigration and guns, though, before he can possibly win a GOP primary in a red state. Abortion and some other social issues too, for that matter. But if he really wants to run for the White House in 08, there’s time to change his tune on those issues. Then again, being Rudy, he may be too stubborn to see the light.

Update: The Bush Admin is pushing through the first couple of six nuke plants to be built–the first in 30 years in the US. Details here, including a pro-nuke cameo by Ted Turner.