T. Boone Pickens's Plan: Keep T. Boone Pickens Rich

His plan and its huge PR blitz are not simply the product of oilman altruism.


My friend Tim Carney is much like Sam Dealey—more often wrong than right but always an interesting, thought-provoking read. Tim's take on T. Boone Pickens's energy plan is one of the cases where he is both interesting and (more or less) correct.

Carney makes a good point about the glowing publicity Pickens has gotten as oilman-turned-cowboy environmentalist:

Would a major newspaper editorialize with surprise that "even Kraft Foods says we need to eat more macaroni and cheese"? Would guests on The McLaughlin Group get away with saying that "even Budweiser is lobbying for more beer consumption"?

Then why do talking heads and journalists exclaim with surprise that "even T. Boone Pickens" is lobbying for greater U.S. reliance on wind power? Don't they know he owns the largest wind farm in the world?

Pickens is smart. He's laid out a subtly redemptive story line that appeals to those who would be naturally skeptical of the an oil baron: He's seen the light and is going against type and trying to help the planet and the country.

One thing I've wondered—especially after a number of readers wrote in advocating for the Pickens plan after our pro/ con debate on energy independence—is how many people who buy into Pickens's plan would scoff at wild-eyed environmentalism if, say, Al Gore was featured in these ads?