T. Boone Pickens, Carl Pope and John Podesta walk into a big tent.
OK, OK, the "isn't it weird that these guys agree?" joke is getting a little tired, so I'll cut it here. But the best take I've heard so far came from the Sierra Club's Carl Pope himself at a panel with Pickens the oil man and Podesta from the Center for American Progress.
Pope said that the fact that the three of them were on the stage meant that something was wrong with the government -- that if there was anything that the three men with divergent views on nearly everything but energy could all agree upon, it should have been acted upon long ago.
The star of the panel was, of course, Pickens. He said he'd met with Obama, McCain, Gore, Bush and others about his plan to reduce American dependence on foreign oil, or as he put it -- to stop "the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind."
He said President Bush asked him who could lead the way -- and Pickens responded "George Patton."
The joke was lost on the crowd of bloggers -- or maybe just not well-received, as Podesta, a former Bill Clinton chief of staff, pointed out that some in the crowd may have been skeptical of Pickens and his donations four years ago to the Swift Boat Veterans who slammed John Kerry. Patton, a World War II general, is of course dead. But the point Pickens was trying to make was that the government needed a "general" -- someone who would be able to take orders from the president and get things done.
"Tell 'em, 'There's the hill; take the hill,'" he said.
Pickens' TV ads have been running far and wide, but he said that NBC refused to run a recent ad that said Iran was switching cars to natural gas in order to sell more expensive oil to the U.S., and that the U.S. was doing nothing about it. According to Pickens, NBC wouldn't run the ad because Pickens couldn't provide proof that the U.S. was doing nothing.
Here's the ad that didn't run on TV:
A couple of other Pickens highlights from the panel:
Pickens on offshore drilling: "This isn't about the oil industry wanting to drill offshore -- they don't think anything's there, just look at what they did and didn't lease when the western gulf tracts were offered up."
Pickens on Obama's plan to put one million hybrid cars on the road: "One million plug-in hybrids is nothing. We've got to get a hundred million."
Pickens on global warming: "Global warming is on page two for me." He elaborated, saying that first the idea was to reduce the dependence on foreign energy here in the U.S.
Pickens on people telling him his plan sounds so simple they can't believe it hasn't already been done: "Nothing is simple when you get to Washington."