It’s official: T. Boone is overexposed. His monotonous TV ad runs on an endless loop, he has testified in front of Congress, he is now appearing on every cable show, and everybody quotes him even though he doesn’t actually agree with anybody but himself.

What specifically bugs me:

  1. His ads say we can’t drill our way out of this problem, but then he says we should drill everywhere — offshore, Alaska, your backyard.
  2. He keeps pushing his absurd idea of switching over to natural gas vehicles.
  3. His plan shares a great deal in common with Al Gore’s, but he still goes out of his way to diss it (inaccurately, see below): “Gore’s Global Warming Plan Ignores Crippling Stranglehold Foreign Oil Has on America’s Economic and National Security.”
  4. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I/D/R ?-Conn.) said the plan is a “classically American message of honesty, determination and can-do optimism.”
  5. Did I mention he keeps pushing his absurd idea of switching over to natural gas vehicles, even though Russia, Iran, and Persian Gulf states have most of world’s gas reserves?

The Gore critique seems to me particularly lame, as if he can’t stand to share the stage with anyone else. Why else release such a petty statement as this:

“Today, former Vice President Al Gore put forward a framework of a plan that is focused on global warming and climate issues. My plan is aimed squarely at breaking the stranglehold that foreign oil has on our country and the $700 billion annual impact it has on our economy. We import 70% of our oil and that number is growing larger every year. Vice President Gore’s plan does not address this enormous problem, it is clear that he and I have two different objectives and our plans should be viewed with that in mind.”

“I believe that elements of any realistic plan to reduce our deadly addiction to foreign oil should encompass the following:

– Will it slash oil imports by at least 30% in 10 years?
– Does it rely 100% on domestic energy resources?
– Does it rely on existing and proven technologies?
– Can it be on line within 10 years?
– Can it be done by private investment?”

Unveiled on July 8th, the Pickens Plan will reduce the amount of foreign oil imported by more than one third within the next decade, or $300 billion annually. It focuses on our abundant domestic renewable resources available and would harness extensive use of wind power, a resource the Department of Energy this year recognized can generate more than 20 percent of our electricity needs. This wind energy can replace the natural gas currently being used to operate power plants around the country, and the released natural gas can be redirected and used as a cleaner, more cost effective fuel in our transportation system. Pickens believes the infrastructure can be built by private enterprise within the next 10 years.

“It’s time for us to take responsibility for the problem we’ve created and act now. The Federal Government should provide the leadership to clear the way for action and private enterprise should build the infrastructure to get it done. Only in that way can we recapture our energy destiny.”

Actually, the Gore plan does move us quickly in the direction of energy independence — and it makes much more sense than the Pickens plan, because “electricity is the only alternative fuel that can lead to energy independence,” and we don’t have enough domestic natural gas to replace a substantial fraction of oil. Also, nobody is going to build out the natural gas fueling infrastructure, since natural gas is not the transportation fuel of the future. And nobody’s going to buy natural gas vehicles absent tens of thousands of fueling stations.

Electricity, on the other hand, is already available almost everywhere. And utilities have a great incentive to build out the rest of the electric vehicle fueling infrastructure. And governments have a huge incentive to promote the transition to a transportation fuel that is inexpensive and can be zero carbon.

But if Pickens is just going to be a pre-Madonna primadonna, the part of his plan that makes sense will, sadly, suffer the same fate as a part of his plan that does not.

This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.