T. Boone Pickens Swings Back

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 26 2012 2:29 PM

T. Boone Pickens Swings Back

The year is 2004. T. Boone Pickens, the oil tycoon who parlayed his money into all manner of projects and was voted Most Likely to Be Mistaken for a "Dallas" character, gives $2 million to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. John Kerry loses the presidential election and stays angry.

It's 2010. Pickens, who has moved his money and effort into natural gas, is pitching his "Pickens Plan" to anyone able to listen and powerful enough to matter. He patches things up with Kerry. "Both see the best outcome for their causes to be a broad energy bill that includes almost everything," reports Daniel Steone. "Nuclear subsidies, carbon-sequestration research grants, wind and solar incentives, and natural-gas expansion efforts."

It's 2012. The energy bill never passed. It's unlikely to pass in 2013. Democrats have adopted most of Pickens's arguments for natural gas, especially as they become targeted by the coal industry.

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Pickens gives $1 million to American Crossroads, which is dedicated to beating Barack Obama.

Forget intrade. When it comes to bets on the people who can aid and abet your rent-seeking, I trust the billionaires.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.