Thursday, October 28, 2010

Condoleezza Rice still has national potential

Condoleezza Rice was in Boston yesterday promoting her new family memoir, Extraordinary, Ordinary People. Often lampooned on Saturday Night Live, the former Secretary of State under George W. Bush is anything but a stick figure. She is charming, highly intelligent, thoughtful and articulate. And the lessons she has learned along the way help explain her positions on issues facing us still.

Rice grew up in Birmingham, Alabama before civil rights legislation started to peel away Jim Crow laws. Her parents taught her, “You may not be able to control your circumstances, but you can control your response to those circumstances.” While away from home, her parents would make her wait until she could use the bathroom at home so she wouldn’t have to use “Coloreds Only” facilities. They wouldn’t allow her to drink from a “Coloreds Only” water fountain. Each of their rules was to preserve their dignity and pride. When the public accommodations laws were passed under President Lyndon Johnson, the Rices were among the first to go to newly integrated restaurants. It would still be two years before her parents were allowed to vote. And attitudinal changes toward blacks took longer still.

Our own history, Rice says, reminds us it’s hard to replace habits of tyranny with habits of democracy. Looking at Iraq and Afghanistan, she reflects, “Who are we to scoff at people having difficulty with democracy?” But, she says, change will come. She recalls having met with a conservative cleric in Iraq, with whom she could not shake hands because she was an unrelated female. At the end of their meeting, he called in his modestly covered 13-year-old granddaughter to meet the Secretary of State, and the granddaughter told her, “I want to be foreign minister too.”

Rice embraces the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. When four little black girls, including one with whom Rice used to play dolls, were killed in the infamous 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, her father and others formed a community watch, sitting on their front porches with shotguns. “We had the right to defend ourselves when authorities wouldn’t protect us. If (notorious public safety commissioner) Bull Connor knew where the guns were, they wouldn’t have let us keep them.”

Rice’s awareness of foreign policy began during the Cuban missile crisis when, as a child, she learned that Birmingham was within range of the Soviet missiles implanted in Cuba. As an adult and a political scientist with expertise in the former Soviet Union, Rice changed from a Democrat to a Republican because of Ronald Reagan ‘s anti-Soviet positions.

On the domestic front, Rice supports affirmative action (knows she benefitted from it) to provide access but not guarantee success, which must be earned. She is appalled by today’s scapegoating of immigrants. “The United States that talks of taking away citizenship of children of illegal immigrants born here, I don’t know that country.”

Rice dislikes identity politics, assuming we know what people think because they’re blacks, or they’re women, or immigrants. “Yes, we’re part of groups, but we’re also individuals.” Group labels, she warns, create feelings of victimhood, of aggrievement, whose twin brother is entitlement. And once you’re there, you stop working, and you stop caring.”

As for our economic problems, Rice says it is the private sector that is creative and innovative, willing to take risks. “The U.S. government, not so much.” But, she says, she won’t “chirp” at those now on the inside. She knows how hard it is to govern, and has respect for the process.

Regrettably, the format of Rice’s appearance provided only for written questions from The Commonwealth Institute audience, so, despite moderator Jon Keller’s well crafted questions, she was insulated from questions inviting follow-ups such as, “In setting foreign policy, which were the issues on which you disagreed most with President Bush?”

An athlete, a concert pianist, a political scientist and diplomat, Condoleezza Rice is a mighty interesting person with a lot of potential for the national stage, should she ever want to subject herself to what that requires. She may be too much of a lady.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Choosing a governor: let's get on with it!

“Ground Hog Day” is how Boston University Assistant Professor John Carroll, speaking on Jim Braude’s debate analysis on NECN, described last night’s debate. Helicopter into the debate at any point and you know you’ve been here before. The only slightly new matter under discussion was today’s revelation of a memo written by Charlie Baker when he was Administration and Finance Secretary in the Paul Cellucci administration. The memo “to the file” confirms Baker knew how staggering were the costs of the Big Dig and its “draconian” implications for other infrastructure projects. The possible solutions were, he wrote, to be revealed after the gubernatorial election.

Treasurer Tim Cahill made the most out of the matter by stressing that the public wants straight talk from its chief executive; Baker cleverly countered that he hoped someone in the Patrick administration was writing him a memo about how to deal with the looming $2 billion state deficit. Patrick replied that Baker’s line would have more credibility if he had actually “written that memo to someone, instead of just stuffing it in a drawer.’’ Jeff Jacoby calls the memo Baker’s Achilles heel.

On all other issues, there was nothing new. So where are we now, with (thankfully) no more debates to go, one week prior to the election? As we have been all along, we have Deval Patrick who has preserved his likable image, showing himself to be compassionate, consistent, optimistic, knowledgeable about the nuts and bolts of day-to-day governing, patient about working our way out of our economic dilemma one day at a time, but somehow disinclined to land – or try to land – a knock-out punch. In fact, when invited, he refused to critique his opponents’ recommendations.

Baker did nothing to shake up the race. He came across as intelligent and unerringly on message about cutting government, cutting taxes, cutting government regulation. He was able to demonstrate some sharp elbows but was unable to paint his vision of the Commonwealth under Governor Baker. Except by exhorting “leadership,” he was unable to explain to moderator Charlie Gibson how he was going to get his proposals through a legislature that had already rejected half of them.

Like the other candidates, he’s opposed to the extremes of Question Three, but cutting taxes is still his mantra, and if he had his way he’d roll them back to 5 percent now, even in the face of the looming budget deficit, believing his regulatory reforms can make up the difference. (Patrick, too, says he’d like to go back to five percent, but not with the current deficit.) Baker perhaps scored some points by advocating a more muscular approach to illegal immigrants, a position more aligned with Massachusetts’ public support of the Arizona approach than the Governor’s.

Tim Cahill, despite his weak standing in the polls, showed himself to be clearcut, if occasionally simplistic, and rather likable in a way that makes his longshot staying in the race a plausible decision. Jill Stein can’t be labeled a flake, but her insistence that a major way out of the state’s deficit woes is by going to a single payer health care system underlines her irrelevance. It’s not going to happen. She dismissed any concern that she, like Ralph Nader in 2000, could ultimately be a spoiler in the race.

So here we are. Deval Patrick has maintained a slim lead in the polls throughout the campaign, but, depending on the survey, it’s close to the margin of error. And it’s less than that if more anti Patrick “undecideds” or Cahill supporters end up voting for Baker and if disaffected Democrats and Democrat-leaning Independents stay home.

Charlie Baker offers a contrast in stated philosophy and an opportunity for change. But what are his chances of success and with what consequences if he fails ? Is the “devil” we know, who has learned from his early mistakes, better than the “devil” we don’t, who has yet to make his rookie blunders?

We campaign in poetry and govern in prose, Mario Cuomo said, and voters must look beyond the over simplified rhetoric of the candidates and their political ads to understand the serious choice that must be made. Next Tuesday is not Groundhog Day, it’s Election Day. Which of the candidates do we really trust not only to make the difficult decisions ahead but then to persuade the legislature, conflicting interest groups and the public in effecting the policies necessary to make our lives and the lives of children better?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below

Monday, October 25, 2010

To 40B or not to 40B, that is Question 2

More than 30 years ago, housing activists in Newton, mindful that young adults who had grown up in town couldn’t afford to live there and that elderly homeowners couldn’t afford to find replacements for their homes, set about encouraging low and moderate-income housing. Today it’s called affordable housing, but the principle is the same.

The Newton Community Development Foundation (NCDF),  founded in 1968, came up with the idea of building handfuls of mixed-income housing on around 10 sites scattered across the city. The theory was that, if you were building in all neighborhoods, no single neighborhood could complain it was being disproportionately burdened. The proposal backfired. People who had never had a thing to do with each other, from the rich to blue collar, from the south side of the city to the north, formed an alliance, beat back the housing proposal, and fielded aldermanic candidates in the next election who opposed the NCDF proposal. Opposition to affordable housing is a powerful force.

Not long thereafter, Newton did manage to institute a 10 percent rule, which held that a developer who set aside ten percent of the units in a project for affordable housing would be able to move more easily through the zoning approval process. Since then, hundreds of affordable units have been built. Even so, Newton’s percentage of affordable units has only hit eight percent.

In 2009, the median home price in Newton was $710,000, up more than 57 percent since 1999. Under the ten percent rule, 1,300 affordable homes have been built. Of these, 675 are restricted for households earning approximately $65,000 or less for a family of four. Since 1997, 86 percent of affordable housing built in Newton could not have been built without the affordable housing law, all of this according to Rep. Kay Khan, writing in The Newton Tab.
Which brings me to 40B, the state law that allows developers in communities that haven’t achieved ten percent affordable housing access to a comprehensive permitting process. That process makes it possible to build more units than zoning restrictions dictate if building only the allowable number of units is deemed to be “uneconomic” and if community needs for low-middle income housing make the larger size development desirable. Statewide, 80 percent of affordable housing units built outside the largest cities have been due to the ten percent rule. Some 130 communities are at or near ten percent affordable units.

Question 2 on the ballot would repeal 40B on the theory that local communities can’t handle the large number of units the law has permitted. Highly respected journalist and social critic Dan Kennedy has joined his voice to the opponents’ based on what he has observed in Danvers.
A 2008 change in the regulatory process may already have dealt with some of the earlier problems with 40B, requiring state regulators to weigh density and other factors that determine how a proposal fits in with local patterns.

Additionally, communities may be exempted from 40B if they are developing a comprehensive housing plan and acting on it, moving it forward. Ten municipalities are under this exemption. So there are ways to deal with 40B if a community is serious about meeting their housing goals.

My take: don’t jettison the law that has been the principal reason affordable housing has been built (some 58,000 units, according to those opposing repeal). Find ways to fix it. Better still, find ways to bring lagging communities up to the ten percent threshold for affordable housing. Vote no on Question Two.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mary Z. Connaughton in highly competitive race for state auditor

She’s likable, informed and, as a Republican on a Democrat saturated Beacon Hill, has a claim to being an outsider, were it not for her tenure working for Joe Malone and Mitt Romney. Mary Zarilli Connaughton wants to be state auditor, and she’s going head-to-head with former legislator and Labor Secretary Suzanne Bump to win over the electorate. Bump has a much tougher race on her hands than she did in the September Democratic primary against Guy Glodis.

Connaughton likes to remind people that she’s the only Certified Public Accountant in the race, as she did on WBUR this morning. That's not required by law but, she says, is a plus at a time when trust in government is at an all-time low. Her CPA license, she says, holds her to a higher standard. That license depends on her meeting that standard.

Few people will speak ill of the outgoing incumbent, longtime auditor Joe DeNucci, and Connaughton is not one of those few critics. She does, however, say that auditor’s reports on state agencies have to go out in a more timely way and believes that efficiencies are possible, starting right within the auditor’s office. Like Bump, she also speaks of going beyond financial and even performance audits to urge systemic changes. Bump asserts her good relationships with the legislature are necessary to get such changes enacted. Connaughhton speaks of working with agencies in the field to make changes and, if that doesn’t happen, “the public needs to be mobilized.”

Her critics maintain that Connaughton was too prone to leak to the press when she was on the board of the MA Turnpike Authority. She says she never spoke inappropriately about what happened in executive session. Frankly, a willingness to go to the media can be an important tool in informing the public and providing transparency when one is part of a circle-the-wagons board. But a different level of professional discretion is required of a state auditor prior to the issuance of a report.

Connaughton says she doesn’t take special interest money and says she is working to clean up her contributors’ list of lawyers who may also work as lobbyists. Critics say her part-time work as a consultant and financial compliance officer for Mitt Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC represents special interest money. (BlueMass Group call’s the relationship “a sweetheart deal” and wonders where she gets the time, given that she has said she’s “working 18-7” to get elected.) Connaughton dismisses the criticism but, if it is indeed illegal for any individual or group to subsidize a candidate while running because it exceeds allowable campaign limits, this may be an issue that has legs.

Bump herself still has to deal with the revelation (symbolically embarrassing for a would-be auditor) that she and her husband were claiming two primary residences, in Boston and in Great Barrington, to get tax reductions in both communities. She has since repaid around $6000 to Boston, even though she claimed that both deductions were legal.

Bump and Connaughton have also had a go-around about Connaughton’s actions while working for state Treasurer Joe Malone. At the time, Connaughton replaced a single firm contracting with the Abandoned Property Division for a $1 million fee with four firms charging a combined $800 thousand. Bump says the experienced single-firm contractor netted $16 million more for the Commonwealth than its replacement. Connaughton calls the arrangement she dumped a “sweetheart deal” and points out that the money was to go first and foremost to the private holders of that abandoned property and only then to the general coffers. This exchange appears to highlight a fundamental philosophical difference between the two candidates, with one focused on turning money back to individuals and the other eager to use the abandoned funds for needed public purposes.

The bottom line is that neither of these is a perfect candidate, but we live in the real world. They are worthy opponents, and each has an edge, albeit for different reasons. For Independents and independent leaning Democrats who still believe in checks and balances and two-party government, Connaughton may be the easiest choice to show they can still pull the lever for a Republican.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Barney Frank faces a legitimate opponent for only the second time

Brookline businessman and Marine major Sean Bielat is the first credible candidate whom three-decade congressman Barney Frank has had to face since defeating Cong. Margaret Heckler in a 1982 redistricting fight. While Frank is likely to win the race for the 4th district seat in Congress, he is right to take Bielat seriously. Nothing can be taken for granted in a time when anti-incumbent fervor is sweeping the nation. Just how credible Bielat is in this crazy epoch was evident in the debate between the two on Jim Braude’s Broadside program on NECN on Monday evening.

In many respects, this is a classic Democrat versus Republican race. Barney Frank’s entire career has been in public service; Sean Bielat has run a business and favors private market solutions to the nation’s problems. Frank envisions a more activist government, supports additional stimulus as needed, supports the new health care law, wants to bring home our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. He's also working with Cong. Ron Paul  (R-TX) in a bipartisan effort to cut military spending and bring home tens of thousands of military personnel stationed in countries like Japan and Germany that are capable of defending themselves. Frank would let the Bush tax cuts phase out for upper income people, couples earning over $250,000 a year.

Issue by issue, Bieleat takes the other side. He opposes any new stimulus, the new health care law, and reduction in military forces abroad. He wants to preserve all the Bush era tax cuts and privatize Social Security. Not surprisingly, they disagree on the don’t ask/don’t tell policy regarding gays in the military.

That said, each is open to more nuanced ideas in selected areas. Frank would tweak some aspects of the health law and hasn't hesitated to criticize President Obama as issues warrant. Bielat concedes that some aspect of TARP legislation was necessary, though it should have been smaller and more transparent. Frank agrees on the need for more transparency.

But the differences on policy are significant and clear cut, as are the differences in depth of knowledge and understanding of important detail. Frank has a solid record of leadership, especially in financial services regulation. In his book On The Brink, former Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson calls Barney "a pragmatic, disciplined and completely honorable poitician." Bielat blames Frank for the economic meltdown, faults his earlier support of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, and says the election is a referendum on Barney. Frank himself concedes in the Globe that he was late in seeing the problems with Fannie and Freddie.

Barney Frank is well known as a  blisteringly intelligent and effective lawmaker, sometimes grumpy and sartorially challenged, who does not suffer fools lightly and has been known to growl at even his staunchest supporters.

 Bielat, who comes off as boyish,  lacks the depth and range that people of the 4th district have come to expect in their Representative. He has never held any public office. He was a registered Democrat until 2007, but he has not bothered to vote in many elections. His first TV ad features man-on-street interviews that, according to David Bernstein of the Phoenix, were shot outside the district.

Nonetheless, Bielat is capable of making a coherent if superficial case to those who want to throw out all incumbents, even if it weakens the clout of the district in Washington. He speaks to people’s anger and frustration. But are they mad enough to vote against their long term self-interest?If the Republicans take over the House, Frank's legislative skills, like those of Joe Moakley after 1994,  will be even more sorely needed.

Frank has been an incredibly hard worker, with a strong record of excellent constituent service. He has  attended to everything from the plight of New Bedford fishermen to the intricacies of the international financial system. (Even Charlie Baker called Frank his "new hero" for his role in fighting harmful fishing regulation.) According to the Newton TAB, he admits he doesn't enjoy the job to the extent he used to. But this is not the time for him to go.

Bielat's challenge has already succeeeded in limiting Frank's role in campaigning nationally to protect other Democrats. But Barney is one incumbent who should not be on the endangered species list. It's hard to imagine Congress without him.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below

Thursday, October 7, 2010

John Tierney faces new campaign challenge

Suddenly there’s breath on the mirror for Bill Hudak’s congressional campaign against John Tierney. How much is not yet clear. Tierney’s wife, Patrice, pled guilty yesterday to federal charges, four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns by her brother, Robert Eremian of St. John’s, Antigua. Eremanian had pled guilty in 2002 to federal tax evasion charges in connection with illegal gambling and was on probation. The next year, he sought and obtained approval from a judge and his probation officer to move to Antigua because he told them he was securing work in a legal industry. Supposedly he was to sell software to a legal online sports gambling business, and he would be sending money from “commissions” to the Bank of America account that Patrice Tierney would manage for his family.

In 2004, she agreed to handle her brother’s personal payments here, including his three teenage children’s living expenses, care of their aging mother , and her brother’s income taxes. She was not involved in her brother’s business and was not paid for any of her services. Her mistake according to the Globe, was taking her brother’s word that the money she was handling came from legal sales commissions rather than illicit gambling. That means that she had signed her brother’s tax returns claiming they were from one (legal) source of income rather than from the real, illegal source.

Nowhere do prosecutors say that either Patrice or John Tierney benefited from her role handling her brother’s affairs.

According to a statement from John Tierney, his wife was “ devastated to learn that her brother might have deceived her and so many others…., Patrice has acknowledged and agreed that she should have done more to personally investigate the true nature of Mr. Eremian’s business activities in the course of carrying out his requests to pay his bills.” Given Eremian’s track record, her failure to probe deeper into brother’s source of income, is stupefying. Federal prosecutors call it a “conscious course of deliberate ignorance.”

But if  Patrice Tierney can be guilty of “willful blindness,” what about judge and probation officer who, after Robert Eremian was convicted in 2002, believed that he was going to Antigua to work lawfully as a computer consultant to the gambling industry? Did their green light give her a reasonable basis to play bookkeeper? Illegal gambling seems to have been a family business for the two brothers, their father and Patrice Tierney’s son from a previous marriage, who lived elsewhere. Just last August, Brother Robert and another brother, Daniel, were indicted for racketeering, illegal gambling, and money laundering. According to prosecutors, Robert Eremian remains a fugitive.

“Conscious course of deliberate ignorance.” From the outside, one thinks there must have been red flags. But, if Patrice Tierney really was in denial, there are probably plenty of people from dysfunctional families, siblings coping with black sheep family members, who will be most sympathetic to the fix she finds herself in. However, her not suspecting something strains credulity.

The question for the sixth district electorate is how well Congressman Tierney can separate himself from his wife’s guilty plea. It should be noted that none of the charges out of the U.S. Attorney’s office implicates the Congressman. There are plenty of questions about “what did he know, and when did he know it.” He is on the phone speaking to reporters. The public would benefit from a press conference to field their questions.

Politically, the timing couldn’t be worse for John Tierney, who had been cruising to victory. His statement says he stands by Patrice “in this difficult time. As she moves on with her life, she continues to be the primary caregiver to her own mother; a loving wife, mother and grandmother to her family; and a friend to the hundreds who know her.”

He will be helped by his opponent’s terrible reputation and outlier positions. Bill Hudak’s “birther” charges that Obama was not born here, his hatefully putting a turban on an Obama picture and calling him Osama, have won him a reputation as a right-wing nut.

Blogger Garrett Quinn says Patrice Tierney’s transgression is worse than Hudak’s lawn signs. The blog asserts that “When you Google "Hudak", "birther" is one of the terms that comes up next to his name, which is bad but not as bad as "illegal gambling", "false tax returns", and "aiding and abetting". But those terms don’t come up with John Tierney’s name.He has been accused and convicted of nothing illegal.

Notably, the Salem News says Patrice's ex-husband, Alan Chew,  describes her as a "great lady" and her brother, as "not a very nice guy."

Right now, many comments in the blogosphere are particularly vicious. For Republicans, hungry for a once unwinnable seat, Patrice Tierney’s guilty plea is blood in the water. Look for lots of unrestricted, unidentified negative advertising money to follow the blood. This race will likely get ugly fast and voters will need to do serious fact checking

And it is noteworthy that, according to MassInc polling, 40 percent of the likely electorate here view the Tea Party favorably. The poll didn’t break down by congressional district. But it means that, while Tea Party choice Hudak may remain a fringe candidate, those who might vote for him are not necessarily fringe. This setback for Tierney cannot be easily dismissed.

I like John Tierney. My hope is that, if nothing else comes out, when voters go into the booth on November 2nd, they’ll remember his steadfast support of a middle class agenda, job creation, education, human services, getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and they’ll pull the lever for him, not necessarily with a sense of compassion for the family mess his wife is in, and not necessarily in appreciation of his contributions to the district and to Massachusetts, but with an unsentimental and and a clear recognition that he would be a much better congressman than his opponent.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thinking big about energy with T. Boone Pickens

T. Boone Pickens has made nearly $1.5 billion as an oil man, financier, corporate raider, takeover artist, and hedge fund chairman. He’s been working since he was 12 years old, when he started delivering newspapers, and, at age 82, is a larger-than-life character who has spent, he says, $70 million of his own money to advance a plan to eliminate American dependence on foreign oil.

Meeting with editorialists and editorial page editors recently in Dallas, Boone Pickens turned out to be visionary, highly intelligent, witty and, in fact, somewhat charismatic. He’s the kind of guy you’d like to kick back with after hours with a glass of something and discuss the issues of the day.

Most compelling, however, is his message.

First, the historical perspective. In 1970, Nixon pledged to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. At the time, the United States was dependent on foreign oil for 23 percent of our usage. At the end of the decade, that dependence was at 28 percent. Candidate Obama told us that, in ten years, we won’t be importing oil from the Middle East. “It’s been two years, and nothing,” said Pickens, who scoffed at Obama’s commitment to have a million plug-in hybrids in ten years. That’s one just million out of 250 million vehicles on the road….a drop in the bucket. He urges the President to start to think big.

Pickens has no problem with oil imports from Canada and Mexico. But, let’s say we use 21 million barrels a day, 13 million of which is imported. Of those, 5 million comes from OPEC nations. Inevitably some of that money makes its way to the Taliban.

We are, Pickens says, “the only country in the world without an energy plan. If you don’t have one, (de facto) that plan is foreign oil. One way to cut down, he says, is to use more natural gas. Our natural gas reserves of 4000 trillion hcf of natural gas equates to 700 billion barrels of oil. Here’s where the discussion becomes a little dicey. Boone Pickens owns a load of natural gas, so he is going to benefit mightily if we follow his prescription. (He also urges wind and solar as alternatives to oil, and he has huge investments in wind power.) The fascinating thing about him is that, even though we know this, he is still mighty persuasive. You end up thinking what the heck, if he makes a bundle off this shift in policy, but we really reduce our dependence on foreign oil, isn’t that a net plus? Ted Turner, in Time Magazine, called this a win-win proposition.
Furthermore, his private success should lead to public good if he follows through on his commitment to give away 90% of his wealth.

We can have immediate impact if we require the eight million 18-wheelers on the road to use natural gas, as do some 13 million cars and trucks worldwide and already some 134 thousand cars in the United States. He’s trying to push this in Congress.

His Pickens Plan includes a requirement that all future federal vehicles would use domestic fuel as a resource. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a bill that would provide a tax credit to new vehicles using natural gas. (A similar benefit is on the books for trash trucks in Southern California.)

Under Congressman Ed Markey’s leadership, the House passed a comprehensive energy bill last spring. It’s bogged down in the block-everything Senate. If we can’t get comprehensive legislation passed, maybe the answer is to institute change one piece at a time. Where’s Scott Brown on this? As Pickens’ father taught him, a fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan. Why not take the first step?

The St. Louis-Post Dispatch says that Pickens may be self-serving, but he’s right on energy policy.
Robyn Blumner writes in the Chicago Sun-Times that we do need a plan but, “ If Pickens and people like him had been more politically responsible in past years -- supporting candidates like Al Gore rather than Republican oil boosters -- we would have had one already.”
That might be correct historically. But it’s hard to argue with Pickens’ theme that “It’s time to end the insanity of using expensive, dirty fuel bought from the enemy.”

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below