Today the feds unveiled a new conservation campaign, complete with energy hog cartoon mascot. Although the New York Times reported this as a shift in energy policy, it seems more like a … pause.

We came across this transcript of a telephone call between President Bush and Energy Secretary Sam Bodman (who told the Times that “new supplies were still essential but that they were a long-term solution“).

Bush: Sam, hey. It’s George.

Bodman: Hi George.

Bush: Great. Listen, I been thinking, we need some kinda mascot around this whole energy thing. Some kinda … bear or something. That mascot thing worked real well when I was at the Rangers. People love to hug. They’d love to hug a bear. They would.

Bodman: A mascot, sir?Bush: Yeah. I think the message of the last few weeks is clear. We need oil in this country. We need it pretty desperate-like. We need to be strategary about this, and keep supporting Dick and the boys at Shell, you know, all those guys. But what we need is a bear, so people realize oil is cuddly. You know? Nothing to be afraid of.

Bodman: Sir, I —

Bush: I mean, they already love the oil. You can’t exactly run a Hummer on corn, now, can you?

Bodman: Actually, sir —

Bush: Exactly. But what we need is a friendly face on the oil industry. I mean, I think Dick is friendly. He ain’t exactly a bogeyman. But he can’t swing it all by himself. Maybe a raccoon, or a badger. How ’bout a badger, Sam?

Bodman: Sir, I think the message we need to convey at this point is conservation.

Bush: Conversation! I agree! We could make it a talking badger. It could badger folks. Get it, Sam? That’s one my Mama taught me.

Bodman: Not conversation, sir. Conservation. People are worried about prices going up and supplies running out. This may not be the time for wanton drilling and exploration.

Bush: Well, now, I didn’t really say I was wantin’ drilling. On the other hand, you can’t exactly run a washing machine on the wind, now, can you?

Bodman: Sir.

Bush: Sam, you make a good point, but you know what I been thinking? What we really need to focus on at this point is conservation.

Bodman: I couldn’t agree more, sir.

Bush: We oughta tell people to use less. Then, after they done that for a few months, we’ll reward them with a big, fat gusher. That’s right, oil to the rescue. Maybe our mascot oughta be like Superman. We would call him, uh, Oilman. But we don’t want people huggin’ him. That seems kinda homoerratic.

Bodman: So, to recap, sir. We’ll tell people to use less. They’ll do so. Then we’ll suddenly discover a new source of oil that will make everything better?

Bush: I like it, Sam, I like it. It has a sort of party twist to it too. I mean, being a good conserver is hard work. It’s hard! People will be tired, they’ll be sacrificializing, they’ll have to scrimp and save for the holidays. Then some time round about February, we’ll drop gas prices to 75 cents a gallon. Par-tay!

Bodman: Sir, whatever you’re getting paid, it’s not enough.

Bush: Oh, I don’t think I get paid for this. At least, that’s what Dick told me. But anyway, let’s get on this mascot thing. How are we going to convince people to scrimp and save? How about a big bull, like the stock market? He could be cuddly-like.

Bodman: Sir, I fear there might be negative connotations drawn between the bull and the sincerity of your sudden interest in conservation. If you see what I’m getting at.

Bush: Gotcha, Sammy. Heh heh. We don’t want anyone thinking about the Bull Moose party and Teddy Roosevelt.

Bodman: Right, that too.

Bush: Then how about a piggy bank? Mr. Slots, his name could be. Hey everyone, meet Mr. Slots! He’ll help you save! He’s a pig! Live high on the hog! Oinkity oink! Don’t be a hog!

Bodman: Don’t be a hog? By George, I think you’ve got it.

Bush: Which is exactly what I called to tell you.