BIG OIL’S NEW DARLING

John McCain built his maverick image in part by being a Republican senator who’s willing to go against Big Oil. As recently as June 13, he had this to say about the petro giants: “I am very angry, frankly, at the oil companies, not only because of the obscene profits they’ve made, but at their failure to invest in alternate energy to help us eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.”

John McCain built his maverick image in part by being a Republican senator who’s willing to go against Big Oil. As recently as June 13, he had this to say about the petro giants: “I am very angry, frankly, at the oil companies, not only because of the obscene profits they’ve made, but at their failure to invest in alternate energy to help us eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.”

Good stuff! McCain has long stood up to oil corporations on such big issues as their demand that we open all of America’s shorelines to their drilling rigs. But, suddenly, that John McCain has disappeared. On June 16 – only three days after his “angry” speech – he made another talk in which he reversed his position. “My friends, we have to drill offshore,” he now says. “We have to do it.”

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Really? Why? Because, he explains, “The oil executives” told him it would be a good thing.

Wait… I thought he was angry at those thieves. Not any more. You see, right after his June 16th flip-flop speech, he flew off to Texas for a round of fundraisers with – guess who? – oil executives! On June 17th, for example, he had a closed-door luncheon with energy honchos at the San Antonio Country Club – and walked out with a love offering of $1.3 million for his presidential campaign.

A McCain spokesman rushed out to assert that it is “completely absurd” for anyone to suggest that the senator’s switch on drilling had anything to do with oil money. Well, maybe he’s confused by the “position=money” relationship of politics, but the oil barons definitely are not. Prior to McCain’s miraculous conversion, they had not been big backers of the senator, but once they heard his new position, the money spigots opened.

As one advisor to oil companies said of McCain’s switch: “I think the industry was very appreciative.”

“Industry Gushed Money After Reversal on Drilling,” www.washingtonpost.com, July 27, 2008.

“The Corrupting Influence Of Oil Money,” www.thinkprogress.org, July 31, 2008.

“Big Oil’s bets,” www.oilwatchdog.org, July 29, 2008.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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