Delegates at the Republican National Convention broke out into chants of "drill baby drill" several times this week -- most notably during the speech of Rudy Giuliani. More appropriate would have been a chant of "shill baby shill," seeing as John McCain, Sarah Palin, and other top Republicans seem like little more than paid mouthpieces for Big Oil these days.
Indeed, Rudy Giuliani doesn't just seem like a paid mouthpiece for Big Oil and other dirty interests because he is a paid mouthpiece. His lobbying firm, Bracewell and Giuliani, has been paid millions to stop numerous pieces of clean energy legislation (like a national Renewable Electricity Standard). The New York Times called his firm one of "the higher-profile defenders of the oil, gas and energy industries, to which it provides legal help and extensive lobbying services in Washington."
And speaking of lobbyists, the McCain campaign has 33 staffers or top fundraisers that have raised an astounding $9.65 million in lobbying fees from at least 30 oil and gas companies and trade associations. In turn, these same lobbying clients' executives and their PACs have given a whopping $225,651 to McCain’s campaigns.
But that's just the beginning of McCain and the Republican Party’s campaign cash haul from Big Oil. Together the two have taken nearly $6 million from Big Oil. This cash has helped to fuel negative, nasty, and deceptive television ads attacking Obama's energy plan.
All of this -- along with McCain's long record of voting against clean energy or refusing to even show up and vote at all -- led Tom Friedman to opine this week that McCain had finally completed his transformation into "just another representative of big oil."
But what about that maverick reformer from the Great White North, Sarah Palin you say? Friedman writes that her "much ballyhooed confrontations with the oil industry have all been about who should get more of the windfall profits, not how to end our addiction." And of course not only does she want to drill just nearly everywhere, she doesn’t even believe that global warming is man-made!
Looks likes Big Oil's down payment on John McCain has secured it another 4-year lease on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue if McCain and Palin come out on top. Fortunately, the American public has the right of first refusal on that particular transaction.