T. Boone Pickens is making the rounds these days—he met separately over the weekend with Senator Obama and Senator McCain—talking up The Pickens Plan, a Manhattan Project-style push to reduce dependence on foreign oil by harvesting wind energy in the great corridor of America from Texas to the Dakotas.
Hard to argue about something that would bring fresh economic propulsion and jobs to the heartland. Yet we reserve judgement, take a farmer's wait-and-see attitude, because we remember T. Boone. We recall him four years ago, the skunk at the picnic, using his wealth and power to enable the Swiftboating of a true American hero, mocking his service, bein' part of the good ol' Purple-bandaid folks who played by their own rules. Call it "cheat to win and bluff if they catch us."
That's been workin' pretty well for some time now. Not much honor in it though.
Maybe that's why Pickens this time around is saying he's not going to choose sides. Maybe even for the ol' football fanatic the cheatin' just got too much. Or maybe he sees a way to keep makin' a big buck for himself.
Whatever his motivation, whatever feelings you and I may have about him, though, we'd do well to take a page out of Obama's book and be willing to listen. Unlike McCain who jumps through the hoops of Big Oil...a little chorus of "drill, drill, drill..." anyone? And damn the reality.
T. Boone is stirrin' the pot, no doubt about it. On CNN this morning, Kiran Chetry's first question was: what about those Democrats and environmentalists who oppose your plan? Pickens response was, essentially, who? Audubon Society and Sierra Club are both on board...
But when you're lookin' for alliances and oppositions these days, it would do well to keep in mind the cozy advertiser-media alliances...like ExxonMobile and CNN...and keep a healthy supply of skepticism in mind when you contemplate not only the players on the field but the referees and the color commentary from the sidelines. Who are the reporters...and who are the cheerleaders?
We've seen the mockery of "Inconvenient Truth" by the predicable naysayers before...will it ratchet up as Pickens drives the conversation? After all, who has the most to lose from a re-prioritizing of energy policy [and tax breaks and subsidies and...] than Pickens' good buddies in the oil industry?
And who has the most to win?
I'll be mindful of that this week, because T. Boone is coming to Fargo to discuss his plan, and even though he was a skunk four years ago, the current energy-economic-security mess we have on our hands is no picnic. And everyone's going to have to pitch in with new ideas and fresh personal energy.
Just as long as they bring clean hands.
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