August 5, 2008

Lead, Follow, or Be Part of the Problem

By Brady Bonk

If they polled on it, they’d probably find that 40 percent of Americans believe that Tom “We’ll leave the light on for ya” Bodett is offering to fix the nation’s energy crunch. If this thing from funnyman T. Boone Pickens—like Bodett, a low-voiced, soft-talkin’ southern fella—catches on, don’t kid yourself. That’s why.

We liberals tend to want to swat at Pickens’ plan, though there is a compelling argument for supporting it. A wealthy conservative appears to have had a come-to-Jebus moment, offering his own resources to be grist for this vital mill. Why not open the big tent for him? Why not pull out a chair for him? Why not call your congressman on this and tell him to give that nice Motel 6 man what he wants?

Because T. Boone Pickens is part of the problem and has been for the bulk of his illustrious career, that’s why, and because it doesn’t take much to see that the “Pickens Plan” just reeks of disaster capitalism.

One reason we swat at the plan is because he funded the Swift Vote Betterans for Lies and Casual Sex with Sheep. And while that’s certainly a good reason for liberal blood to boil, some say it’s time to forget 2004, to lay down political considerations, and to give Pickens’ plan full and fair consideration. However, this argument assumes that Pickens’ political shenanigans of 2004 and our present energy woes are mutually exclusive. They’re not.

Pickens is largely responsible for a second White House term for two oil men and probably for the Big Oil chump Congress as well—the same assclowns who are regularly performing bad improv theater on the House floor in recent weeks. Largely because of Pickens’ support of political sniping, the Untied States had another four years to endure of domestic and international policies hostile to alternative energy, hostile to conservation, hostile to anything but drill-more use-more use-more drill-more. Thanks in part to Pickens, the Enron Loophole is still on the books despite that the rampant speculation it allows is to blame for the mess we’re in. (For the record, the senator who has proposed eliminating the Loophole? Barack Obama.)

But Pickens’ support of the Swift Vote Betterans for Lies and Casual Sex with Sheep is not the full extent of his complicity. For years, Pickens was a corporate vulture. The result of his job was the forced consolidation of energy companies, which created a lot of complacent fat happy fat cats, a breed not likely to welcome innovation when “what we’ve always done” allows them to wipe their asses with fifties. In a grossly consolidated market, which corporation feels the burn to embark on awesome R&D programs? Why pursue anything but marketing vehicles that sink an eighth of an inch into the road when they idle?

Worse yet, it’s clear that Pickens’ gambit seeks to capitalize grandly on this disaster, on this new flash of worry over a reliance on foreign oil—which, by the way, will return to the backburner in the fall when gas prices sink to their new standard of $3.80. Americans do not believe in energy policy. Americans believe in energy feast or famine and panic. We’ve known since at least as far back as 1973 that we were relying heavily on nations for our oil who were extremely hostile politically. The only time the issue is ever discussed is when the pump is pinching. If Pickens—a lifelong energy industry dude—is so concerned for America’s energy infrastructure, where was he to fight the Enron Loophole? And was he out there in 2000 calling for Ken Lay’s head? Where’s he been lately to speak out against risky energy speculation?

No, no, no, Pickens is seeing the perfect storm of the chronic anxiety pitch the current administration has been able to maintain regarding terrorism and the shock and awe over towering gas prices, and he’s decided that it’s now time to make his move, to profit most headily from the emerging fuel crisis. And, if in the process he convinces Congress to allow more offshore drilling leases despite that Big Oil isn’t using the ones it has, well, even better.

If your natural inclination is to assume that T. Boone Pickens is full of shit, you are absolutely correct. Besides, the fucker welched on a bet. How can the Untied States of America trust a guy to manage our transistion to domestic, sustainable fuels who puts up a wager and then balks on it?

I want to see T. Boone Pickens make good on his wager, first of all, before I will give him any benefit of any doubt. Pay up, slim. One million dollars to the Paralyzed Veterans of America and a public handshake with one John Forbes Kerry. It is the least you could do considering it was your political sniping that’s helped to lead us down this road. Another sign of good faith, Mr. Pickens: Go to the Congress and tell them everything you know about Cheney’s secret energy task force. Everything, everything. Names. Dates. And when, exactly, you assholes decided to invade Iraq. That would help.

I’m not saying it’s not heartening that a fellow like T. Boone Pickens sees potential in windmills and claims to see a way toward sustainable domestic energy. Somehow, though, it feels like someone shooting his friend in the foot and then borrowing his car to drive him to the ER.

We’ll leave the light on for ya.

This post was green-lit at The Smirking Chimp.

Filed Under: Running On Empty