How did T. Boone Pickens, a conservative billionaire who made his fortune in the oil industry, manage to reinvent himself in the public eye as an environmentalist? Pickens, who admittedly jumped onto the wind power bandwagon purely for financial reasons rather than environmental ones, was set to build the world's largest wind farm before economic turmoil and a lack of transmission lines prompted him to postpone the project.
Now his name and photo are prominently displayed alongside an entreaty for the passage of a natural gas act in Congress in the Green section of liberal media powerhouse The Huffington Post. And it's hardly the first post that he's written there – he has contributed no fewer than 15 times since January, covering energy-related topics including, of course, The Pickens Plan.
Gawker points out the irony in this, considering that Pickens was a major funder of "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," which has become virtually synonymous with dirty, slanderous smear attacks after its campaigns against Democratic candidates including former presidential candidate John Kerry.
The New York Times sums up the fallacy of the Swift Boat attacks, saying "Extensive media accounts undermined the Swift Boat charges in 2004, pointing out that some of the Swift Boat critics had written statements during Vietnam lauding Mr. Kerry for extraordinary bravery in the incidents they later said he made up."
"And you know," Gawker says, "we could find some examples of Arianna Huffington and everyone else on that site decrying the Swift Boat attacks of 2004, or even just using 'Swift Boat' as a shorthand for incredibly underhanded smear campaigns that are hurting America."
As a matter of fact, a search of the term 'Swift Boat' at The Huffington Post returns 71 pages of results including an editorial that asks, "Will John Podesta and Carl Pope a) greenwash a Republican operative oil man who funded the swift boat vets and has plans to make billions selling natural gas and exploiting our water supply? or b) do the right thing?"
Considering that T. Boone Pickens is one of America's most successful oily salesmen, giving his reputation a green makeover is just another day at the office.