The Scriblerianne

September 4, 2008

Big Oil’s Long, Long Tea Party

Filed under: books,politics — scriblerienne @ 4:12 pm
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I have just picked up Laton Mccartney’s The Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country.  So far, it’s very engaging–well-written, clear, pithy, and it makes a dry old topic come alive as a political thriller.  Adulterous trysts in the White House, shootings, double deals, money laundering–this book has it. I’ll be commenting on it more as I digest it.

As I’ve been reading, I’ve realized that the Republican Party has been in bed with Big Oil for a long time.  Now that Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, has become the GOP candidate for Vice-President, we should be looking at her record on drilling, conservation and connections to Big Oil.  Right now, she’s being pushed by the Republicans as a reformer, but is she really?  According to some journalists, we should be careful before we buy that characterization of her.  For example, the Canadian National Newspaper, an admittedly progressive paper, recently published an article about Palin’s connection to Big Oil.  According to its author, Will Yong, McCain was initially against drilling in national reserves, but things have changed:

U.S. oil firms have given John McCain three times more declared campaign money than to Democratic nominee, Barack Obama. Big oil contributions to the Republican Party outweigh oil money to the Democrats by a similar ratio.

In June 2008, McCain suddenly decided that opening up national wildlife reserves was a good idea, even though he had opposed it earlier.  According to Yong, was this his reason?In the month that McCain made his Big Oil turnaround oil and gas industry executives donated USD 1.1m to his campaign – compared with just USD 116,000 in March, USD 283,000 in April and USD 208,000 in May.

Maybe it’s just me reading about fusty old oil barons and one of the most corrupt Presidents in American history, but could those contributions have had anything to do with McCain’s new attitude towards drilling?

Maybe Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate isn’t such a bolt out of the blue after all.  Republicans are touting her as a reformer who stands up to corruption, but she supports drilling first, alternative fuel resources a distant second.   The Houston Chronicle’s analysis of her acceptance speech reveals a dichotomy in her energy policy.  How can you be for more drilling, more gas and oil pipelines, and be against Big Oil?  How can you be an independent reformer and have a husband who works for BP?  These are the questions that should be dominating the airwaves and the blogosphere, not whether she’s a good mommy or not.


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