Romney noted in his speech last Saturday at which he announced Wisconsin Rep. Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate, that working to achieve “North American energy independence” was one of the top priorities of his campaign. Words, of course, are important; but if in fact the GOP presidential candidate is serious about accomplishing that goal, he should waste no time in scheduling a trip to Dallas and visit with Pickens.
Such a move would not only underscore the Republican Party’s commitment to developing a comprehensive national energy policy, but demonstrate it understands what it will take to do so. This would show also that the GOP standard bearers are not afraid to seek the assistance of those who truly understand what a winning energy strategy will entail.
Drawing a clear difference with the current administration on energy policy will not be difficult for the Romney-Ryan team.
During his first four years in office, President Obama has done nothing to move America closer to energy independence. In fact, the current administration’s drive toward the mirage of “green energy” -- as exemplified by the multi-hundred million dollar Solyndra scandal - - coupled with its heavy-handed regulatory edicts, has made us more rather than less dependent on foreign energy sources. Even Obama’s legislative failures – most notably the “cap and trade” proposal he championed prior to losing his Party’s majority in the House of Representatives two years ago -- would have worsened our energy- dependent position.
Stacked up against the Obama Administration’s failed energy policy – the U.S. now imports some 60% of the oil we use -- the Romney-Ryan team has an excellent opportunity to seize the initiative on this one aspect of federal policy that could not only assist in turning around the economy, but help secure economic stability for generations.
And there is no need for the Republicans to reinvent the wheel in this regard. Pickens has mapped it out for them. In the past four years, this legendary Texas entrepreneur has crisscrossed the country touting the need to develop alternate energy sources. The “Pickens Plan” provides a workable blueprint for unleashing the potential of resources sitting untapped inside the United States’ borders; at the same time offering diversity in sources of energy that could be utilized to keep the economy thriving.
As Pickens has noted, the U.S. currently relies heavily on oil produced by OPEC nations. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service in April, the United States spent “$327 billion on net oil imports in 2011.” Especially when considered in the context of the $1 trillion budget deficit the federal government will rack up this fiscal year, our reliance on foreign oil serves neither our national security nor our economic interests. It only empowers our allies-of-convenience and our potential adversaries in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Is the Pickens Plan perfect? No. Would its author insist on rigid adherence to every jot and tittle as the price for helping the GOP craft and articulate a workable and comprehensive energy independence platform to present to the voters over the course of the coming campaign? Of course not; Pickens is too good a businessman to make such a demand.
A sit-down with Pickens would be a session from which both Romney and Ryan would emerge with a deeper understanding of the true cost of continuing the energy-policy status quo. More important, they would be learning from a man who has been phenomenally successful since the 1950s in identifying and implementing real solutions to the energy needs of American businesses and consumers.
Go ahead. Call Pickens. It could be one of the most important calls of the entire campaign.