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Why is T. Boone Pickens all over my internet?

By See-Dubya  •  July 23, 2008 01:25 AM

I basically get a good vibe from T. Boone Pickens–he’s a Republican oilman, and he backed up the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth with a million-dollar pledge to anyone who could prove them wrong (he hasn’t paid out yet.)

But all of a sudden he’s everywhere talking about how we can’t drill our way out of this energy shortage and we need to hook up a wind power grid pronto.

I suppose it’s an attractive man-bites-dog news hook: here’s an oil guy advocating wind and natural gas. Yet I’m really surprised at the degree of media saturation Pickens has achieved. I’m not very knowledgeable of such matters but I strongly suspect the operation of a PR firm getting all these op-eds placed in major publications and all this airtime.

Frankly it seems more than a little heavy-handed. I think the goal of a PR firm is to be subtle enough to where you don’t start wondering “who is getting this guy into every media outlet I read this week? Is he just buying this time to lobby me?”

I’m kind of agnostic on wind power; if it’s really a good thing, some entrepreneur like T. Boone Pickens ought to step up and build a wind farm. (I would support federal legislation requiring all such new wind farm construction to be sited so that it ruins the view of some prominent liberal.) I’m mainly puzzled as to why John Q. Public is suddenly being lobbied about how great this wind power thing is. Whaddaya want, a subsidy or something?

Anyway, it’s quite possible Pickens is being civic-minded and just really believes in this cause and wants to step up and use his money to change public opinion. Nothing wrong with that, and if you’re curious his website is here. There’s also some criticism of the “Pickens plan” at Townhall here–but their editors lose points for not incorporating “Boone-doggle” into the column title.

Of course, the other rather chilling aspect of the Pickens media blitz is this: here’s a prominent conservative who put up money and got personally involved on the Republican side in the 2004 election, who’s now not putting his time and money into getting Republicans elected this cycle but instead is advocating for a single issue. He’s not even pushing that issue from a partisan standpoint. That’s got to lead to an uptick in Maalox consumption at RNC HQ.

{Post by See-Dubya, in case Mr. Pickens’ PR firm was wondering whom to make the check out to.}

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