The reinvention of oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens as an environmentalist represents a huge political about-face, writes Timothy Egan in the New York Times. Four years ago, Pickens bankrolled the Swift Boat campaign that derailed John Kerry's presidential bid. Now Pickens, "looking a bit like the John Huston character from Chinatown," is attacking the efficacy of new drilling just when John McCain is pressing for it.
A new McCain ad directly blames Barack Obama for the high price of gas, but Pickens is overwhelming the McCain attack with a $58 million campaign of his own, including a new spot in which he calls the Republicans' plan "totally misleading." It's a "political parable for the ages," writes Egan, and further proof that the debate is controlled by "who has the bigger microphone."